Artist implants microchip into his body to create a radical new artwork

For his new work, artist Lans King has surgically implanted an NFC microchip into his body. The chip is the key element of his conceptual artwork entitled “This is my body (of work)”. It contains a private cryptographic blockchain code which represents the work itself. It is perhaps the first artwork ever to be fully integrated within the body of an artist.

The code is the blockchain address given to this work on the Codex Protocol, a platform which tracks the origin and provenance of artworks. Blockchain technology is expected to revolutionise everything from finance to art. Recent blockchain artworks have sold for as much as $1,000,000. Jess Houlgrave, Co-founder of Codex Protocol said “This work is perhaps the most radical blockchain-related artwork we’ve seen so far. Lans has created the perfect storm as far as experimenting with the interaction between humans and technology and combining it with an exploration of how society values creativity.”

The encoded chip was implanted by Jowan Österlund, CEO of BioHax. The company has already implanted them into a number of people for use as keys and even bank cards. The work is conceptual (represented by a code on a chip) yet physically connected to the artist.

A conceptual artwork is one in which the idea or concept presented by the artist is considered more important than the finished product, if any such exists. Much like the artist Marcel Duchamp created the idea of readymade by signing a urinal and re-contextualising it as art, this work is a kind of “digital readymade”. In this case, the readymade is the chip; it is the artefact of the conceptual artwork. “The artwork is inside me; it’s a total fusion…”, explains Lans King.

This artefact can even be acquired by a collector. The artist has already received interest from potential buyers. Later, the chip will be removed from Lans King’s body; it will be transferred to the collector at that point. The blockchain code will establish the provenance for future authentication. The code is also embedded in all of Lans King’s artworks.

This work poses a number of questions: First, what is the connection between the artist (the body), the artwork, and his complete body of work? Furthermore, how do we determine the value (and ownership) of an artwork which does not have a physical form? Can a work which exist in a virtual space be considered as real? What are the implications of inserting digital devices into our bodies? How will this effect humanity itself?

According to Lans King, “We have become used to and even dependent on the technology that we carry in our pockets. The really big question is do we really want to go even further by integrating technology into our own bodies?” 

This work is part of his ongoing art practice which examines our lives between real and virtual, analog and digital, material and conceptual. His paintings combine algorithms, code and digital printing with manual painting techniques. Code has always been a part of Lans King’s work as a way of making us aware of the extent to which our society is driven by numbers and data.

Lans’ paintings and sculptures are often hybrid with videos as a way of dealing with the subject of reality and hyperreality. Often he uses “reality tv” style videos that feature the prodigious artist Anaïs de Lÿs. Recently describes as “art world muse, artist and darling of the global art world elite”, she is often represented in Lans King’s work as the icon for our time.


About Lans King

Lans King is a British-American contemporary artist. His work is about hyperreality - our growing inability to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality, especially in our technologically advanced societies. This work is realised as painting, sculpture and video. Lans King lives and works between London, Paris, and New York.


About Codex
Codex is establishing the world’s best record of provenance for the $2 trillion arts & collectibles (“A&C”) ecosystem.  The Codex platform provides an immutable blockchain registry for art, fine wine, collectible cars, antiques, decorative arts, coins, watches, jewelry, and more. Powered by the CodexCoin native token, the Codex Protocol is open source, allowing third-party players in the A&C ecosystem to build applications and utilize the title system. Codex has launched two initial decentralized apps (beta), Biddable, providing access to unique assets for crypto-holders, and Codex Viewer, to create and manage blockchain identities for your unique assets. The Codex Protocol and CodexCoin will be adopted as the only cryptocurrency by The Codex Consortium, a group of major stakeholders in the A&C space who facilitate over $6 Billion in sales to millions of bidders across tens of thousands of auctions from 5,000 auction houses in over 50 countries.



COMMUNIQUE october 2018

In his works The New Real, Lans King introduces the “(hyper)reality (art) star”

For his new series of works “The New Real”, Lans King hybrids his painted canvases with videos. The videos are shown on screens that range from old TVs to bespoke flat screens monitors to the latest smartphone. The paring of the paintings with the screen(s) form an unusual diptychs/triptychs. In some cases the videos are projected directly onto the canvases or can be viewed in augmented reality. The painting often use images from the videos as source materials, resulting in a dialogue or clash between the two.

The paintings are combined with a variety of videos: The first type are “reality tv” style videos, excerpts from recordings of his daily life as an artist. Some of these videos feature his collaborations with the prodigious artist Anaïs de Lÿs. A second type can be described as a kind of “making-of” sequence for the painting itself in which we see the artist actually making the work. In others, he detours the advertising format to create a 30 second spot for the painting. Finally, some videos are just TV noise, test patterns, or “technical difficulties” place holders. By juxtaposing his paintings with videos, the artist is challenging our point of focus between the two.

The reality TV style videos are particularly relevant at the moment. This type of content is now easily and widely distributed to all type of screens. Reality TV has become an influential force in contemporary culture to the point producing of “iconic” figures. It has affected everything from fashion to sexuality to our politics. As stated by Lans King, “All of this content is amplified by the backlit screens which render a kind of “glossy” reality distortion that we call the hyperreal.”

Lans King references the ideas of the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard who suggested that the real no longer exists. Instead we have layers of representation of representations that ultimately become simulations. With the omnipresence of electronic media, which now includes video games, virtual reality and photoshopped social media images, how do we maintain a sense of the real?

This new work is part of Lans King’s ongoing art practice which examines humanity as we live between the real and the virtual, the analog and digital. His previous “synthetic” paintings combined algorithms and digital printing with manual painting and drawing techniques. These new painting-video hybrids take his work to another dimension by connecting the painted image with the moving image.


Born in St. Vincent, British Antilles. Lans King was raised and educated in New York. He studied cognitive science at University of Rochester, New York. He later worked in digital media and communications whilst developing his art practice. His work is about hyperreality - our growing inability to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality, especially in our technologically advanced societies. These works are realised as paintings, videos and sculpture. He lives and works between London, Paris, and New York.

Contact and request for interviews:
James Currin, Publicist

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