Proposal Title: Bean Counter, 04/03/2008, Mixed media
Proposal Synopsis: A short video, with the aesthetics of circa-1980's IBM television commercial, describes the Bean Counter in a concise business tone appropriate to the project:
A robotic printing calculator keeps track of the death toll in Iraq in terms that it understands.
American soldiers are "valued" at their death's cost to their government, a $100,000 "death benefit"
Non-US forces and Iraqi civilian deaths each contribute $0.00 to the total
A cold and inhuman method for calculating moral responsibility through accounts payable.
The calculator checks Internet sources for reports of deaths in Iraq. When an incident is reported, it begins the printing process by clicking an alert. It then clicks each key in turn as it adds the values for each of the reported victims. It subtotals, feeds the paper and waits for another report to appear.
Hidden under the calculator is a printed circuit board containing a custom circuit that electronically mimics the pressing of keys. It receives its commands from a serial link to a server hidden inside the pedestal. This server also acts as a publicly accessible relational database, storing a history of all the death reports that it has retrieved since the start of the war.
Artist's Biography: I am an artist and a scientist. My current interests are centered on the social and cultural components of technology. This includes inquiries into how politics act as drivers of technology and ways in which technology is used as a tool for one population to establish and maintain control over another. I examine ways in which these constructs can be toppled or reversed for the purpose of social change through subversive art, activism and intervention. My art work serves as both a presentation of the results of my research and as documentation of my process of questioning.