Solid State Tomb

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Project Location

New York New York United States of America
Artists Involved

Project Description


Solid State Tomb is a physical work rethinking the purpose and potential of the tombstone,,, as both a monument and marker of history.  Human burial has been ubiquitous to society since its inception, as have the memorials and markers we create in memory of the dead. Egyptian tombs bared hieroglyphics, revealing an abundance of genealogical, religious and societal information to archaeologists. These tombs are some of the most valued and telling preservations of human history. Today, we burry our dead leaving markers baring only minimal information; a name, date, and at times, statement, quote, etc. Compared to the Egyptian tombs, modern methods of burial fall short in preserving history and valuing human life.
My grandfather, Bernard Verin, born October 16, 1921, recently passed away on February 26th 2011. He was a WWII veteran, a self taught French chef, a fantastic businessman, a friend to many, the son of a russian revolutionary, an immigrant, a father of four, a grandfather of ten and a true hero of mine. His wishes were to be buried at Arlington cemetery, which he will, but I want to find a way to memorialize his life in a way that embodies who he was in a personal sense. 
Solid State Tomb will be a traditional style granite tombstone with a solid state drive inside containing photographs, audio, video, and other ephemera which will represent the life and memories of my grandfather, Bernard Verin. The digital content within this drive will be able to be downloaded via USB and stored remotely on a server with the ability to be accessed via a QR code engraved on the stone’s face.
Inspiration for public access of data has been drawn from Aram Bartholl’s Dead Drops (, pictured bellow. Like Dead Drops, Solid State Tomb will have the ability for users to download data via USB, in addition, it will have a QR code engraved in the face which will allow users with smart phones to access the content online; on location as well as remotely.

• Weather Proof - Must withstand the elements for outdoor placement.
• Universal Access - Ability to download content via USB, QR Code as well as remotely on the internet.
• Culturally Familiar - As a cultural signifier, the Solid State Tomb must resemble tombstones/markers which we are familiar with. It will not look like something from outer space, rather it will be made of stone that will house its electronics unobtrusively.

Solid State Tomb could embody many forms in the future, including networked mausoleums; the purpose of this commission is to create the first Solid State Tomb, memorializing my Grandfather. I would want this monument to exist somewhere in public space outdoors. This initial prototype would be a working model to expand in the future. Thank you for taking the time to read my proposal and thank you Rhizome for providing such a wonderful forum and network of support for technology driven/aware art.

Project Timeline and Budget

This project will take 3 months to complete.
There are two parts to this project, the stone fabrication and the gathering/presentation/editing of content.
A family friend conducted a 2 hour interview with my grandfather, this in addition to many photographs and video will be collected and compiled into a single file. 
Based on the stone fabricators I have spoken to, a black granite stone 24x18x6 will cost about $1200 to fabricate. This includes all etching on the front for the QR code as well as carving a cavity on the inside for the electronics.
Within the stone will be a Iomega 64 GB SuperSpeed USB 3.0/USB2.0 External SSD Flash Drive 35141, which will store all the data. This drive costs $180
The stone will feature a Jenson JENAUS USB Interface and Aux audio jack on its face. This jack is weather proof and its audio connectivity will also allow for the potential ability for the stone to transmit audio instructions and information such as interviews and stories. $17
In addition to the content being internally stored, it will also exsist on the internet and accessed via QR code on the face of the stone. Hosting this content will cost $20 for the first year.
Artist stipend over the 3 months of production - $600
The total cost to create Solid State Tomb is $2017
About the Artist(s) Involved

I'm an artist living in My physical work strives to slow down and freeze a moment of the internet; with projects such as Facebook Art, Stock and Waiting,, while my online work such as DUMP.FM strives to add to the virtual whirlwind of data. I am the founder of Internet Archaeology, an online archive and gallery for graphic artifacts from an earlier Internet. Recently, my Stock work was on display at the New Museum for Rhizome’s 15th Anniversary Benefit party. I spoke on Rhizome’s Emerging Trends in Internet Art panel at SXSW, which was an honor. I recently painted a 35ft wide Facebook Painting, which was on display at Eyebeam. I am passionate about internet culture and creativity.
For a complete index of past projects check out
Artist(s) Work Samples

Comments (7)

  • Sarah_Weis | Sun, May 1st, 2011 4:22 p.m.
    wow. i will be surprised if this doesn't win.

  • Chris Coy | Sun, May 1st, 2011 9:10 p.m.

  • Forrest Oliphant | Sun, May 8th, 2011 4:52 p.m.
    From the title of this proposal, I thought that the art piece would be a commentary on the failure rate of SSDs or the short lifespan of digital storage in general.

  • devin.kenny | Wed, May 25th, 2011 2 p.m.
    This is quite a thought-provoking proposal.
Comment on this Proposal