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A scale model of the Deep Storage Project on display in Hamburg, Germany.

Kristian von Hornsleth is a Danish artist whose last project was the Hornsleth Arms Investment Corporation, a company that invests in defense contractors and issues one-of-a-kind paintings as stock certificates. (The fund has $100,000 now, according to the artist, who is trying to sell the fund to an art museum.) Before that Hornsleth, convinced a village of Ugandans to legally change their last names to Hornsleth in exchange for livestock.

What could come next? How about the Deep Storage Project—-a giant, metal, star-shaped sculpture that will have at its center a cylinder filled with human blood and hair. The blood and hair is donated by Hornsleth fans from around the world. And the star, once it’s filled with humanity, will be dropped down into the deepest point on Earth: out near Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, into the Marianas Trench, where, according to Hornsleth, it will remain for 10 to 15 thousand years.

This project has received support on Guam—-from a handful of University of Guam professors, and even, apparently, from Guam’s member of Congress, Madeleine Z. Bordallo (though you try getting her office to answer your query about same). And the project has been lambasted by Angelo Villagomez, an environmental activist from the Northern Mariana Islands, who says that dropping this sculpture in the Marianas Trench is “akin to putting a 30 foot statue right on top of Old Faithful.”

To get to the heart of this blood sculpture at the bottom of the ocean, and to find out when Washingtonians will get a chance to donate their blood and hair, Washington City Paper caught up with Hornsleth by phone in London, where he is living while he works out the finances and assembles the  human tissues needed for the sculpture to be dropped in the trench by the end of this year.

Washington City Paper: In reading about you, it seems like you make statements sometimes like you’re more interested in publicity than you are in the content of the art. What is your intention here?

Kristian von Hornsleth: The intention is to respond to my own curiosity. By saying that I mean that anything I say may be a lie. It’s not an exact science, art.

WCP: What does that mean?

KVH: It means that, like, my daughter, when I want to teach her about fruit, I will give her a banana and say ‘Here, do you want an orange?’ And then she’ll say, No, it’s a banana. OK, awareness. People don’t look anymore at art. Maybe I’m very interested in sharing that feeling of being aware of how great the world is. Maybe I’m the medicine man in the village. I don’t know.

WCP: So you’re trying to provoke a reaction with this.

KVH: Yes, because I’m trying to provoke myself. The whole question of this project is to raise the question, not to answer the question, of why. Why would somebody spend so much money putting a big metal star into the trench. Why? And this question why will hopefully trigger 10 new questions, and that’s the idea. I enjoy wondering about what’s going to happen to us in 500 to 10 thousand years. Maybe if they come around, somebody finds it and there will be a new Arin.

WCP: That’s a terrifying thought. How big is the sculpture that you’re going to drop?

KVH: About 8 meters. About 25 feet.

Students donate blood to the Deep Storage Project in Denmark.

WCP: When do you expect it to be done?

KVH: I promised myself before 2010 is running out. I hope it’s going to be November. It’s going to be on my website when we do it. We’re going to invite people for a party on the boat. You’re welcome. The press is free.

WCP: Oh, please. What is this project going to look like?

KVH: It’s a metal structure. And in the middle there is a kind of a cylinder that is pressure resistant, and that’s where we’re putting all the samples.

WCP: And are you mixing them all together or are they going to be kept separate?

KVH: When they get in the actual cylinder they will all be mixed.

WCP: How many people have donated so far?

KVH: About 2,000. They are from Bangkok, Germany, Denmark, England. We want to do South America and the United States and some other places during the winter.

WCP: What about Guam?

KVH: We did Guam already. They don’t think it’s such a crazy thing. They are open to rituals like this.

The Deep Storage is a place where people can come in and give blood and hair and get a free art piece. So we just need a place in Washington where we can come and do it. We’re looking for a place to do it. And if you want a do it yourself kit, I’ll send you one.

Images courtesy of the Deep Sea Storage Project.

Kristian von Hornsleth is a Danish artist whose last project was the Hornsleth Arms Investment Corporation, a company that invests in defense contractors and issues one of a kind paintings as stock certificates. (The fund has $100,000 now, according to the artist, who is trying to sell the fund to an art museum.) Before that Hornsleth convinced a village of Ugandans to legally change their last names to Hornsleth in exchange for livestock.

What could come next? How about the Deep Storage Project – a giant metal star-shaped sculpture that will have at its center a cylinder filled with human blood and hair. The blood and hair is donated by Hornsleth fans from around the world. And the star, once it’s filled with humanity, will be dropped down into the deepest point on Earth: out near Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, it’ll be dropped into the Marianas Trench, where, according to Hornsleth, it will remain for ten to fifteen thousand years.

This project has received support on Guam – from a handful of University of Guam professors, and even, apparently, from Guam’s member of Congress, Madeleine Z. Bordallo (though you try getting her office to answer your query about same). It has been lambasted by Angelo Villagomez, an environmental activist from the Northern Mariana Islands, who says that dropping this sculpture in the Marianas Trench is “akin to putting a 30 foot statue right on top of Old Faithful.”

To get to the heart of this blood sculpture at the bottom of the ocean, the Washington CityPaper caught up with Hornsleth by phone in London, where he is living while he works out the finances and human tissues needed for the sculpture to be dropped in the trench by the end of this year.

WCP: In reading about you, it seems like you make statements sometimes like you’re more interested in publicity than you are in the content of the art. What is your intention here?

KH: The intention is to respond to my own curiosity. By saying that I mean that anything I say may be a lie. It’s not an exact science, art.

WCP: What does that mean?

KH: It means that, like, my daughter, when I want to teach her about fruit, I will give her a banana and say ‘Here, do you want an orange?’ And then she’ll say, no, it’s a banana. OK, awareness. People don’t look anymore at art. Maybe I’m very interested in sharing that feeling of being aware of how great the world is. Maybe I’m the medicine man in the village. I don’t know.

WCP: So you’re trying to provoke a reaction with this.

KH: Yes, because I’m trying to provoke myself. The whole question of this project is to raise the question, not to answer the question, of why. Why would somebody spend so much money putting a big metal star into the trench. Why? And this question why will hopefully trigger ten new questions, and that’s the idea. I enjoy wondering about what’s going to happen to us in five hundred to ten thousand years. Maybe if they come around, somebody finds it and there will be a new Arin.

WCP: That’s a terrifying thought. How big is the sculpture that you’re going to drop?

KH: About eight meters. About twenty five feet.

WCP: When do you expect it to be done?

KH: I promised myself before 2010 is running out. I hope it’s going to be November. It’s going to be on my website when we do it. We’re going to invite people for a party on the boat. You’re welcome. The press is free.

WCP: Oh, please. What is this project going to look like?

KH: It’s a metal structure. And in the middle there is a kind of a cylinder that is pressure resistant, and that’s where we’re putting all the samples.

WCP: And are you mixing them all together or are they going to be kept separate?

KH: When they get in the actual cylinder they will all be mixed.

WCP: How many people have donated so far?

KH: About 2000. They are from Bangkok, Germany, Denmark, England. We want to do South America and the United States and some other places during the winter.

WCP: What about Guam?

KH; We did Guam already. They don’t think it’s such a crazy thing. They are open to rituals like this.

The Deep Storage is a place where people can come in and give blood and hair and get a free art piece. So we just need a place in Washington where we can come and do it. We’re looking for a place to do it. And if you want a do it yourself kit, I’ll send you one.

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