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Give me your gold Apple Watch, says artist protesting technology

Technically Incorrect: Because you are evil and she is an artist, Qinmin Liu wants you to buy a gold Apple Watch and give it to her, so that she can make art.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


liu.jpg
Liu in a work from 2013, in which she didn't wear a watch. Qinmin Liu/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

This article is written solely for wealthy readers.

If by the time you reach the end of it you have experienced even the remotest positive reaction, please send me a donation. The minimum is $500,000.

I am a struggling artist, you see, and I am getting my inspiration from the work of Qinmin Liu.

Liu is looking for 50 people to donate gold Apple Watches to her, so that she can make art out of them. Well, from them and human bodies, it seems.

Liu is originally from China and is based in San Francisco. I asked her why she'd waited for the Apple Watch to come along. Why hadn't she done something like this with, say, Maserati luxury cars ?

She replied: "Believe it or not, as an artist I couldn't care less about the technology and price. I care more about individuals' behaviors and want to explore the relationship between desire and action. In 2012, a Chinese teen sold his kidney to buy an iPhone and an iPad. What caused this to happen? What can we see from this news? Questions and concerns lead me to spark a dialogue with Apple Watch."

Some New York comedians have already shown this week that a dialogue with the Apple Watch might not go too smoothly.

Still, Liu explained: "I consider Apple a phenomenon, an undeniable phenomenon. So I feel like there should be someone who is willing to study this phenomenon."

She's never read a tech blog?

Liu's manager, Shenhaochen Zhu, told me that the artist is clear as to what the ultimate work will look like. However, my lungs being full of jaundiced air, I asked whether the artist might simply melt the watches down afterward and sell them.

Zhu told me: "We want to send the installation to a museum. If Qinmin Liu melts them down and sells them for money, it wouldn't be done secretly. It will be public, and it will be a part of her performance."

How sage. And, possibly, profitable.

Surely, though, this is all about publicity. Zhu agreed, in a managerial sort of way. He said: "It's an art piece that cannot be finished without publicity. And the publicity is generated naturally because people care about Apple products, and this project makes them think."

I'm not sure how fond people are of thinking these days, but it's one way of looking at it.

Liu herself told me: "I don't expect that people will support me. But I just hope when people see this project and the installation, they will rethink about the relationship between technology and human beings."

So far, Zhu claims that 27 people have signed up to donate. There's IndieGoldGold for you.

Sixteen are allegedly from the US, 8 from China, 1 each from India and South Korea. And, get this, 1 allegedly from North Korea. Come now, Kim Jong-Un. "The Interview" made you fall in love with art?

You, though, will wonder which of Apple's gold options these donors have allegedly chosen. All but one favored yellow gold. The outlier plumped for rose gold. (I wonder who that could have been.)

On her Google donation page, Liu doesn't exactly flatter potential donors. Instead, she writes: "If you own or plan to purchase a 18k gold apple watch, you are rich and evil. We are offering you one way out: donate to us. After all, why on earth do you need a watch? PS: If you know Bill Gates, tell him about us. He hates Apple watch more than anyone, since Microsoft can never make one."

I did wonder whether this might be a tax deduction for one or two of the allegedly evil, rich donors. Zhu concurred, but added: "We recommend donors consult with their accountants for details."

I wonder whether the artist and her manager will be laughing all the way to consult with their accountants, too.