Collaborating with the Enemy


  • Shane Mecklenburger


Cost of Opportunity is a project that creates a series of diamonds as artworks. The Gunpowder Diamond will be produced entirely from carbon found in .223 Caliber assault rile ammunition.The gunpowder is safely neutralized in a laboratory and the carbon it contains is isolated. Future proposed art-diamonds include the Road-kill Diamond from Nine-Banded Armadillos killed on Texas thoroughfares and the Superman Diamond from a 1983 cellulose acetate film print of Superman III (wherein Superman crushes a lump of coal into a diamond). A monetary value for each diamond is to be determined at a live auction, generating funds for future diamonds in an ongoing series of stones made from various culturally charged materials. The project explores personal and cultural valuation, materiality, and the way market pressures have altered the definition and function of art. Multiple attempts to secure research funding reveal the limits of interdisciplinarity and institutional aesthetics, inspiring the artist, Shane Mecklenburger, to steal the diamond once exhibited, a plan he has yet to reveal to his collaborator.