Earlier this week, Bushwick-based artist Nick Schmidt was about to make at least $165 from selling his Facebook login info on eBay. Looking to delete his Facebook anyway, Nick decided to instead auction it off and treat it as a social experiment, seeing what people would do when granted complete access to a stranger’s Facebook forever.
The auction was 34 bids in when eBay stepped in and shut the whole thing down Tuesday night mentioning it violated the site’s selling policies.
“I actually see [the shutdown] as a positive that’s shifted my motive for the piece,” Nick Schmidt told us. “It’s still about holding a mirror to the buyer, but also how I can’t sell myself but the social media sites can; and don’t bother for my permission because they’ve already taken it without asking.”
A small eBay hurdle ain’t stopping Nick though. This Friday at Shwick Market he will be selling his Facebook through a live auction complete with a fast-talking certified auctioneer (!!) and free beer (!!!!!) from 6-10 p.m. The bidding will start at 8 p.m. at the original starting bid for his Facebook password, just 99c.
Let’s be real for a second. For the possible price of just 99c, you can own an extra Facebook and get real creepy. You can add all your exes and hookups and spy on them, you can sign Nick up for Tinder and catfish everyone, you can maneuver getting $25 in free Everlane credit (this is sadly the first thing that came to my mind) and you can get real wacky and comment on all Nick’s friends photos and you know, poke his grandparents. You can also do lots and lots of other terrible, terrible things.
The Facebook auction actually won’t be the first time Nick’s used technology for an art-meets-social-experiment type of installation. Earlier this year, Nick offered strangers complete access to his iPhone for an interactive gallery work called Unlock and Explore. Throughout this installation, Nick lived a phoneless life while the public was encouraged to rummage through his texts and emails, take selfies and call his mom.
Nick’s iPhone free life was only temporary, but after Friday he says he’ll never make another Facebook account again. That lucky bastard will live in pure ignorance of never knowing things like when the girl from his sophomore high school math class has a baby, or what your conservative Republican cousins think of Hillary Clinton. The man will live in ignorant bliss, with so much extra time to browse Instagram.
Nick Schmidt Auction, Friday 6-10 p.m. at Shwick Market, 6 Charles Pl., Bushwick. Free admission. RSVP on Facebook here.