Markets in everything

by on November 29, 2013 at 1:35 pm in Food and Drink, Law | Permalink

Reverse shoplifting edition, the link is from Japan by the way.   As it is explained to me in an email:

Value_Added #240950
(Del Monte whole kernel corn no salt added)

2012-
Canned corn and receipts
Dimensions variable
The artist takes one canned good to multiple supermarkets and re-buys it. This single can of corn has been re-bought from 105 supermarkets for a total of $113.07. ( as of June1, 2013 )
This procedure is possible because the stores have no way to identify individual items: the barcode printed on my can’s label, #240950, refers to its contents, and not to that particular can.
I suppose in expected value terms this is more rational and more profitable than non-reverse shoplifting, also known as shoplifting.  For the pointer I thank Pamela Regis.

john personna November 29, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Maybe I am too much of a STEM, but I think “art” has reached its endgame.

Rahul November 29, 2013 at 1:55 pm

+1 This is just plain stupid. And even more ridiculous to make it sound like some shortcoming of the bar-coding software.

OTOH, I wonder if he kept doing it at the same store, at some point would the software signal a fault by running into non-existant inventory?

Peter November 29, 2013 at 3:04 pm

It would take a while until there’d be a fault signal. Supermarket inventory control software isn’t terribly precise.

zbicyclist November 29, 2013 at 11:03 pm

There would never be a fault signal. There’s no point to programming POS systems to generate one.

What “art” is being produced here? Is the artist recording this for some video project? Would this can be worth money to someone? Why?

The artist’s “Smiley Art project” http://www.nobutakaaozaki.com/smiley_bag.html is gimmicky, but at least one can see how it would be art (or at least make some kids happy) and produce a bit of a revenue stream. Rice sculptures http://www.nobutakaaozaki.com/rice_sculptures.html seems like a fun project. The can of corn project just seems pointless.

Rahul November 30, 2013 at 8:00 am

Inventory systems sure do generate a signal well before this point for restocking purposes.

Careless November 29, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Before I was born

Brian Donohue November 29, 2013 at 4:40 pm
TMC November 29, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Endgame is right, but it’s been more than 10 years since I went to a Peter Max exhibit, seeing small works sellinf for more that $50k, thinking my 3 yr old has already produced better.

DK November 29, 2013 at 2:28 pm

That’s definitely not “from Japan”. And, since there is nothing aesthetic about it, it’s not art.

Mario November 29, 2013 at 2:41 pm

If someone out there is desperate to be an “artist,” I’ll happily sell you something you already own. In fact, I don’t even have a store, so just think how avant garde that would be.

Ray Lopez November 29, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Oh no! I know this sounds dumb, but I ate that can of corn! Like the Dutch tulip mania story about the sailor who ate the tulip bulb thinking it’s an onion…! When I take a nasty massive dump in the morning, fouling the entire bathroom, I’ll be thinking: “What an artist dies in me!” !!

James Oswald November 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm

I feel sorry for the inventory takers. I’m sure it costs well more than a can of corn to figure what happened.

Timothy November 29, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Just looks like 10 fewer cans of corn stolen that month.

Mort Dubois November 30, 2013 at 2:08 pm

“Value Added” is a misnomer – it’s really just cost added. Not that I’d expect an artist to understand the difference.

uair01 November 30, 2013 at 4:01 pm

This one particular artwork may not be that good or interesting, but the artists overall portfolio is quite good.
I especially like: http://www.nobutakaaozaki.com/duchamp.html
This is very funny!

Douglas Knight November 30, 2013 at 4:45 pm

In the past “reverse shoplifting” was more interesting.

Sims December 3, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Who is entitled to the money the artist is paying? The stores? Who ever claims it first? If a clerk notices the behavior and pockets the cash, are they entitled to it? And if the store were to claim the clerk was stealing money from the till, could the artist come forward and say it’s not the store’s money to begin with?

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