See, we were going to talk about this Wired article about conceptual artist Jonathon Keats getting some chunks of lunar and martian rock, smashing them up with a hammer and growing cactus and potatoes in them, because it contains all of the following language:
Like all astronauts, these potatoes and cacti are test pilots. And if you think of the greatest test pilots in history, from Chuck Yeager to Neil Armstrong, you find that they’re highly intelligent and also extremely dumb: Intelligent enough to navigate the unknown, and dumb enough to let themselves be launched in the first place. Plants also have these essential traits: The smarts to adapt to novel conditions and the stupidity not to run away…
Few people, in my experience, have ever revered a potato, let alone envied one. We tend to eat them, and of course the Irish cursed them during the Great Famine. But now here’s the chance for children to look up to potatoes as heroic, just as John Glenn and Buzz Aldrin were once role models…
Of course by colonialist standards, potatoes will have territorial claim to Mars since they’ve beat Homo sapiens, and what’s most hospitable to them may be to inhabit it without us around.
So, yeah, we were going to do a whole post just on that. But then we went to Jonathon Keats’ Wikipedia page, and got lost for fifteen minutes. And so, without further ado, we present a list of Things That Jonathon Keats Has Done.
- Sat and thought for 24 hours, and then sold his thoughts as art for a minute’s worth of his client’s annual income.
- Tried to get “A=A” to be a statutory law in Berkeley, CA, requiring all entities found not being identical to themselves to be fined up to 1/10 of a cent.
- Copyrighted his mind, as a neural network sculpture that he’d created by thinking; on the idea that if he licensed the rights to it then that would ensure his temporary immortality for 70 years after his death. In order to get money to advertise the rights to use his posthumous mind, he sold futures on his brain.
- Attempted to genetically engineer God, and find the place of the aforementioned organism on the taxonomic tree.
- Gave fifty cypress trees easels and crayons so that they could make art.
- Choreographed a honeybee ballet by strategically planting flowers.
- Decided that he himself was a life long thought experiment carried on by the act of living, and so set up a control: a “high-density carbon graphite block” of precisely the same weight as his body, which was placed inside a bell-jar in San Francisco’s Exploratorium.
- Sold seventy-two lots of land that exist only in the string-theoretical space coexisting with the San Francisco bay area.
- Created “My Cage (Silence for Cellphone)” a ring-tone based on John Cage’s 4:33, a musical piece composed of the artist sitting silently for four minutes and thirty-three seconds.
- Played footage of pollination to ninety rhododendrons in the first porn theater for plants. The second played for zinnias.
- Sold the experience of spending money.
- Invented some new miracles and made them available for licensing to gods.
- Wrote “The Longest Story Ever Told” which will appear one word at a time, once every century for the next 1,000 years
- Developed a travel documentary about Italian skies for plants, because they are immobile.
We salute you, Jonathon Keats, for every thing you do is both crazier and saner than the last.
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