The Infinity Project
November 17, 2005 1:58 AM   Subscribe

The Infinity Project "I began to hide planets - first near my house, and then later I brought them with me to leave behind whenever I traveled. Once I learned to fly, I was able to drop planets in truly remote locations from a tiny window on the pilot's side of the plane." (via)
posted by dhruva (38 comments total)
Here's my take on this..

1. Artist creates works no one is interested in.
2. Artist can't sell work.
3. Artist convinces people that it is cool to leave his work stuck in holes and laying on the ground.
4. Profit!

Look at it like this... if you produce stuff no one really wants which eventually gets left all over the place (with a focus on places that their own intrinsic interest or beauty), aren't you just selling litter?
posted by HuronBob at 2:07 AM on November 17, 2005

I concur
posted by FidelDonson at 3:52 AM on November 17, 2005

Aw, it would've been cute to see this "The Infinity Project" on Metafilter. You know, T.I.P. Records, which is now T.I.P. World. The glass artifacts definitely have better visual taste, at least. Interesting link. I used to take strange rocks from one place and leave them somewhere where they totally don't belong thinking that it would boggle the mind of some distant-future post-human geologist. Kind of the same funny thinking.
posted by redteam at 4:07 AM on November 17, 2005

Double post, but from long, long ago.
posted by MrMoonPie at 4:38 AM on November 17, 2005

1. Artist creates works no one is interested in.

What makes you think no one is interested in it? His resume seems to convey quite the opposite view.

4. Profit!

But he's not charging for the pieces that he leaves around. On the contrary, he's giving away two pieces (one to hide, one to keep) to those planters whose projects he accepts.

So surely that should be:

4. Deficit!

(FWIW, I think the project is tosh, but I'd be more than happy to have one of his vases.)
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:47 AM on November 17, 2005

He's not littering; he's trying to create a market.
posted by alumshubby at 4:58 AM on November 17, 2005

I like it, the idea, and all. (I also like the moralizing in the first post of this. Plus ca change)
posted by OmieWise at 5:32 AM on November 17, 2005

Some of those "planets" look an awful lot like common or garden paperweights to me.
In 1976 no museum had acquired my work...
posted by Joeforking at 5:33 AM on November 17, 2005

for god's sake i didn't have the patience to wait for one of his planet jpegs to load.

i think it would be cool to make a planet, but it sounds more like this guy is making marbles.
posted by poppo at 6:21 AM on November 17, 2005

I like the idea/concept.
posted by shoepal at 6:28 AM on November 17, 2005

Someone explain to me what there is to "like" about this guy encouraging people to leave these things in places that are, in some cases, considered historic, spiritual, beautiful. Why should these objects be injected?

feels like glass graffiti to me.... but if I'm missing something, please explain it to me...
posted by HuronBob at 6:44 AM on November 17, 2005

The photos on the web really don't convey the incredible detail of Josh's work. I own several of the planets (bought, not found, unfortunately), and never tire of looking at them; they're quite beautiful.

I'm less thrilled with the infinity project... I imagine only a tiny fraction of the hidden planets will ever be found (and if they are, the finder may never know who made them). Seems a waste of good art :) but its his art, so he can do what he wants with it...
posted by kira at 6:56 AM on November 17, 2005

HuronBob: Glass is inert. Someone will eventually find it and be amused, chagrined, annoyed, mystified or outright confused. Or they'll be buried and discovered ages into the future - perhaps with great confusion, or never discovered at all.

There's a diverse range of interpretations one could map to something like this. The concept of art being impermanent, for starts, or that it doesn't have to be in a museum or gallery to be enjoyable or valid.

Personally, I'd be stoked to find one of these somewhere inexplicable. It'd be better than finding an empty Coors can along the side of a hiking trail, at the least.
posted by loquacious at 6:58 AM on November 17, 2005

Obviously, I need to use an elaborate ruse to gain possession of a significant number of these "planets." Then, I shall pass them down as family heirlooms for a few centuries, upon which when the "glass orb phenomena" comes to light, my dynasty will rule as possessors of the largest collection.

Here's a question, though, would there be any way to date these items? Ingredient mixture? Form of production?
posted by Atreides at 7:26 AM on November 17, 2005

Yeah, I'm going to agree with loquacious on this one, finding small, harmless, inexplicable things is always a good thing. As is slipping a rubber dinosaur or a "I can't believe I ate the whole thing" pin into someones bag when they are about to leave for a trip. It would be better if you tried as hard as you can to not tell anyone about it, but who among us is perfect?
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:29 AM on November 17, 2005

I used to find marbles in my backyard too.
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:31 AM on November 17, 2005

I've hidden one of these, though the camera went on a wild ride of it's own for over a year. I never did get around to submitting the pictures that survived, I'll have to dig through my DVDs.

If I remember right the bottom of the planet has both a year and the infinity symbol. Even if it's found it will be almost impossible to track it back to Josh Simpson since there's no advertising built onto it.

I have a few of them now, the original sister to the one I hid and others that I've purchased. My next spot bonus will go towards one of the really large ones.

My only reservations about the project are that some people might not use common sense hiding it. They might disturb an archaelogical or historical site for the project as an example. Of course people already do damage to sites with spray paint, chisels, hammers and shovels.

The project isn't the problem, people are.
posted by substrate at 8:06 AM on November 17, 2005

I have two of his planets, and they really are beautiful. I don't get the outrage at him, really -- he's not charging for the ones he gives away, and it's not like a little glass ball is harmful or anything...
posted by sarcasticah at 8:30 AM on November 17, 2005

"[Glass] is chemically stable and will remain unchanged for thousands of years. It cannot harm the environment and is of course politically correct."

...until dude tosses one of his marbles out the plane window and brains someone.
posted by acid freaking on the kitty at 8:50 AM on November 17, 2005

finding small, harmless, inexplicable things

Is that brass padlock still attached to the railing on the east side of the Empire State Building observation deck?
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:18 AM on November 17, 2005

On a recent trip to the New York Finger Lakes, my fiancee and I visited the Corning Glass Museum ...and their gift shop has a ton of this guys work. Remarkably beautiful pieces, and apparently they sell a fair number of them.

Would rather find one than buy one anyway. Who doesn't love finding little treasures?
posted by JaredSeth at 9:23 AM on November 17, 2005

Seems kind of cool, to me. Though I do wish he'd just give me a couple of them instead of hiding them...

But then, I think geocaching is cool, though I'd never go out and do it.
posted by lodurr at 9:37 AM on November 17, 2005

Nifty idea. Pretty glass work as well.
posted by deborah at 10:18 AM on November 17, 2005

I should hit Corning one of these days. Thanks for the idea, Jared!
posted by Eideteker at 10:51 AM on November 17, 2005

um, he's lost his marbles?
posted by dontoine at 11:39 AM on November 17, 2005

its the same reason we all have blogs, we want to be important, important in a world so full of people that the only way to make a splash is to do something crazy, creative, violent, or world changing.
posted by stilgar at 11:46 AM on November 17, 2005

Supposedly there's one hidden in the Observatory were I worked this summer. That's going to drive me nuts, trying to figure out a clever place it could be (four years ago too, it might already have been found). It might be outside amongst all the rocks... it is a mountain top after all.

Dammit, and that's exactly were I was going to apply to hide one too.
posted by nelleish at 12:27 PM on November 17, 2005

I second what a.f.o.t.k. said.

This guy tosses marbles out of airplanes?!
posted by TBoneMcCool at 1:22 PM on November 17, 2005

Good try folks, but I'm not convinced. I understand the "cool" factor, but I don't think that it trumps the "i'm throwing stuff around in places that are otherwise beautiful, and am assuming that ya'll will agree with my sense of aesthetics"...

He has my permission to litter his own backyard.
posted by HuronBob at 2:58 PM on November 17, 2005

I'm sitting with HuronBob on this. This doesn't really strike me as art so much as lame marketing and littering.

And it reminds me of the bookstore reshelvers, self-important wankers wanking and saying "Look how cool we are for wanking. Now give us some money."
posted by fenriq at 3:06 PM on November 17, 2005

i like em, but dropping them from planes is a big mistake. i'd love to come across one of them someday.
posted by amberglow at 3:14 PM on November 17, 2005

Josh Simpson was a student of my father, so I know his work rather well. First, let me say: his shit is amazing. I can stare at it for hours.
I'm pretty sure he drops them out of planes in very, very depopulated areas. I think he's a damn hippy (he lived in a teepee for a while), but he's not homicidal.

Also, HuronBob: it's really not worth getting all worked up about. There are perhaps 200 of these things in the world. They aren't marked as such, so they aren't marketing. They are stunningly beautiful. And anyone, anyone, even you, would be thrilled to stumble across one some day. Think of how cool it would be to find one on the middle of nowhere!
posted by metaculpa at 4:02 PM on November 17, 2005

Metaculpa... I do not doubt for a moment the beauty of Mr. Simpson's work, I'm sure he's a talented artist. I would be more than pleased to be able to view his "planets" in a gallery or shop, (although, I would draw the line at staring at his "shit" for hours, as you suggest, but, whatever floats your boat! :-)

I haven't really stated my point... I am adverse to finding ANY man made article in a natural setting, we've damaged this world enough, damaging it by calling our litter art doesn't make it right.

I spend 20 hours a week in my kayak during the summer, usually on a part of the river designated as a natural river area. Finding anything along there that didn't grow there, walk there, swim there, or fly there is a disappointment. Finding the mona lisa there would be disturbing.

A couple of summers ago a few folks decided it would be "fun" to put painted animals along the river (up in trees, to amuse the kids that go by in boats). I admit the animals were very well done, some life-like, some amusing...but they didn't belong there! I did a midnight run in the fishing boat with a ladder and a crow bar. The animals then lived in my pole barn, until these folks called the newspaper and told the tragic story of the kidnapped zoo. I called the newspaper and let them know that the animals were not only put on private property, but that the property was part of a nature preserve.

The newspaper printed a retraction, I called the people and let them know where they could find the zoo, with the warning that if they reappeared they would be firewood.

Point... if you don't own the property, you have no right to alter it by, for example, leaving something on it. And no one has the right to determine what is art or aesthetically pleasing to others.

and.. I'm not "all worked up"... just opinionated and a bit rude, "all worked up" usually involves foul language, threats, and firearms!
posted by HuronBob at 4:39 PM on November 17, 2005

obligatory Infinite Cat Project reference ...
posted by mrgrimm at 4:44 PM on November 17, 2005

Reading this link, I can't help but think of

Step 1. Collect Underpants
Step 2. ????
Step 3. PROFIT!
posted by nonmerci at 8:53 PM on November 17, 2005

Very cool, I like the idea of adding a sense of wonder and amusement to the world. Due to their size, number, and sparseness of placement, their impact on the world in a negative sense is I think far outweighed by their ability to make some random person, or child, smile.

Thanks for sharing the link.
posted by [this is good] at 11:16 PM on November 17, 2005

HuronBob pushes over cairns, too. :)
posted by five fresh fish at 11:45 AM on November 18, 2005

HuronBob, has it occurred to you that you are expressing the same desire to control and define the world that you attribute to Josh Simpson and the fake animal people?

Put another way: How are your aggressive actions any more morally acceptable than those of Josh Simpson?
posted by lodurr at 8:27 AM on November 20, 2005

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