Auction Machine is an interactive art piece that uses RFID technology to conduct auctions. Participants with RFID tags are recognized by the auction software when they come within the radio range of the base station, initiating the auction process. The system displays the names of current participants and the featured artwork on a screen, visible to all.
The pricing mechanism of the artwork is dynamic, varying with the number of participants. It increases gradually with fewer bidders and more rapidly as more people join. Participants stay in the auction as long as they find the price acceptable. They can exit by turning off their RFID tags, with the last person remaining being the automatic buyer at the final price.
The sale of the artwork is recorded and updated in the OPENSTUDIO online art economy, appearing as a standard online transaction. This setup bridges the virtual OPENSTUDIO system with the physical interactions of participants, creating new types of scenography and spatial continuity that fundamentally alter our perception and use of space.
Auction Machine is designed for easy setup on any computer with an internet connection, creating a versatile auction space. It was successfully used by around 20 participants during the Media Lab Sponsor Week in Fall 2005.