“In the Zero Sum Art Project, I explored the basic alchemy of artwork, that strange situation where base raw materials gain value through their transformation, in an enormous leap of faith, into art. Towards that end, the project was a self-contained studio in which all costs and profits were made visible to the viewer. Central to the project was an entirely absurd business plan that did not allow the studio to make a profit, and killed the studio if it stayed in the red. The seemingly poor business practice of putting every last cent of profit back into the studio, leaving the balance as close to zero as possible, always left the project teetering on the brink of disaster.
The money spent on materials and fees and any other specifically art related expenses was directly tied to the money brought in by the sale of the artwork, and this relationship was accessible to the viewer at all times. Ebay played a major role in this process, allowing the viewer to directly determine the value of the artwork through the bidding process. The starting bids for all auctions was based on the fees associated with the auction and the cost of materials in the artwork for sale (for purposes of this project, all of the artist’s “time” is “free”). Any money in excess of this amount that was raised from a successful auction had to be applied to the creation of future artwork.” (From Marc Snyder)