Danish artist Kristian von Hornsleth is going to send human blood and hair sealed in a spooky-looking capsule to the bottom of the Marianas Trench.
Something about this strikes us as a phenomenally bad idea. It could be that the artist's name "Hornsleth" sounds a little too close to "Innsmouth". It could be the strange, spiky, angled sculpture loaded up with human body parts. It could be that those body parts are headed for the deepest part of the ocean.
Either way, it's hard to know any of those things have occurred to Danish artist Kristian von Hornsleth, who has spent years building the Deep Storage Project. He says that his plan is that the eight-metre-cubed sculpture will give eternal life to the more than 5000 volunteers who surrendered a drop of their blood and a hair from their head.
"I'm asking a simple age-old question," he told the Telegraph last month. "Who wants to live forever? Because in simple terms, the project offers exactly that opportunity. Each donor, or investor, is rewarded with a certificate, stating they believed this might be a chance at immortality, a second chance at life. And that's the statement I'm making. I want to brand eternity as an art piece."
It may be simple, it may be age-old — but there's still something inexplicably sinister about it.
It could be that von Hornsleth is the kind of artist who likes to include traps for the viewer in his work. In 2008, he created the Hornsleth Arms Investment Corp; by buying a painting, you were buying arms in an officially registered arms dealer, and would receive updates about the company — including pictures of children affected by war.
In 2006, he visited a Ugandan village and offered livestock to any villager who legally changed their name to "Hornsleth". "We want to help you. But we want to own you," ran the slogan. Two hundred and seventy villagers changed their names.
In 2009, he created the Langeland School Massacre Project, a photographic recreation of a school shooting.
One, therefore, does have to wonder what could lie beyond the seemingly altruistic motive of sinking human DNA into the Marianas Trench, never to be seen again — possibly even for the electropolished stainless steel sculpture to be destroyed by the intense pressure of the ocean.
And yet, being dropped at the end of this year, this will be just the first of many such sculptures von Hornsleth has planned.
"Science is progressing faster than the greatest philosophers dare to predict, so who's to say that there won't be a point in the future when these samples can be utilised to bring people and endangered species back to life? It could be 500 to 100,000 years from now. Who knows? But this is a chance to be there when it happens," says the project website. "How will we have evolved? How will humans be different? The Deep Storage Project is fighting back against the natural decay and erosion destroying all that we know and understand. People are embracing the ideals of The Deep Storage Project, and in doing so, they are becoming a voice to be heard in the future."
Thanks for the tip, Christian.