etoy: Voting on Timothy Leary mortal remains case


After an essential meeting with advisor Alan Gershenfeld (former senior vice president of Activision studios, CEO and co-founder of netomat) etoy.CORPORATION decided to call on its shareholders for an online voting in the controversial Timothy Leary mortal remains case.

As a co-owner of etoy (the creator of MISSION ETERNITY) you are asked for your opinion on the historical decision about including American counter culture icon, Timothy Leary ( into MISSION ETERNITY and to vote for or against Leary's eternal existence in etoy's social memory system.

The comments to this blog post serve as a discussion forum.

All voting codes to participate will be sent to the personal email address of each shareholder today. The voting process remains open until Sunday April 22, 2007.

About the debate:

etoy.AGENTS evaluated Leary as a potential TEST PILOT to explore and fine-tune the MORTAL REMAINS HANDLING within the MISSION ETERNITY CULT: international ash transportation laws, radiocarbon dating, research in family communications and other emotional aspects, mixing ash with special concrete to mold MISSION ETERNITY TERMINUS - a memory hybrid made from human carbon, concrete and electronic components.

While regular MISSION ETERNITY PILOTS must be alive and active during the production of their ARCANUM CAPSULE (their digital file that travels space and time forever) etoy was looking for a pioneer of the information age who is already dead but can still provide the following:

  • A) a rich archive of digital files including interviews, photos, video and sound recordings, body scans, medical records etc.
  • B) accessible mortal remains in the form of ash
  • C) enough committed friends and family members willing to help with the "postmortem encapsulation"
  • D) an interesting position during the digital revolution / within information society

The goal is to recruit a total of two such TEST PILOTS to optimize MORTAL REMAINS operations today - without the need to wait for the physical death and cremation of another PILOT. As soon as the first regular PILOT dies, the system must be running and stable (free of major bugs creating fights with authorities, friends, investors, and family).

On april 17, 2007 mortal remains couriers MARLAND and HAEFLIGER successfully transfered the first 16 grams of Timothy Francis Leary's ashes to Zurich / Switzerland. After 2 years of negotiations with the Leary family and the Leary estate, after 200 emails, phone calls and massive lobbying in California, etoy got the material (the rest of what was left after a part of his mortal remains was shot into orbit on a Pegasus rocket on February 9, 1997). Trace the ash transfer history on etoy's blog:

While most etoy.AGENTS are excited about the new TEST PILOT several people including members of the etoy.MANAGEMENT expressed concerns about the involvement of Mr. Leary. Some advisors think Leary could take over the story and create a misleading or negative context. Others say Leary should be left dead or that he could compromise the value of etoy on the international art market.

etoy, the world's first shareholder company that involves its investors in the production of art, decided to ask its owners:

It is YOU and US, etoy.SHAREHOLDERS and etoy.AGENTS, who have to make this decision and not the art market. The dealers can react to what etoy does but not control its production!

Thank you for your opinion. With your vote today you are manipulating art history!

etoy still needs ALPHA ANGELS! 63 slots for high risk testers are still open. These brave users master the first level of initiation into MISSION ETERNITY and the ALPHA ANGEL PATCH (a badge indicating their pioneering role in MISSION ETERNITY). Download the software and join the mission here
Comments (20)  Permalink


Richard Larson @ 19.04.2007 21:48 CET
I think that Timothy Leary would have been delighted to be included.
I vote YES.
Andrew Fenner @ 19.04.2007 22:54 CET
You should put Jerry Rubin in there too.
Patrick Gruban @ 20.04.2007 05:55 CET
I think Timothy Leary is perfect for a Beta-Test.
denny @ 20.04.2007 07:00 CET
I'd vote in favor of inclusion, if I could remember my username and password.
HAEFLIGER @ 20.04.2007 10:16 CET
Controversial, forward-thinking, twisted, experimental, metaphysical, funny, eternal - Leary is one of etoy's spiritual grandpas!
christoph @ 20.04.2007 11:40 CET
i try to stay alive.. so i vote for leary!
Douglas Rushkoff @ 20.04.2007 18:38 CET
I vote my shares in the yes-ward direction.
etoy.ZAI @ 21.04.2007 12:16 CET
YES (of course!!): I'm totally for leary's encapsulation. his last words were "WHY NOT?"

for me there are strong (personal) reasons:

1. because i worked hard to get his mortal remains after i read his texts; especially "DESIGN FOR DYING"... highly questionable! but that's what leary is all about: why not and what else. the world needs more of this two requests.

2. my first leary "contact" was a postmortem one via joi ito ( / one of the most influential people in worked with in my life). he talked a lot about leary when i first met him (1996, just after leary died). later, when i told my parents about ito, i realized that they get excited about ito because leary was his god father (i did not know leary before) hmmm ??? wait. no. i also heard about this freak when i escorted my friend coco, a transsexual performance artist and model (, to visit a strange but super interesting guy (who lived on a swiss alp where he run a multimedia studio) to get LSD for one of coco's friends who died of AIDS in a hospital at this time. coco promised her peer to organize the illegal substance to increase the experience of crossing the deadline. so we left the city of bern in the very early morning and arrived somewhere (i don't remember where i was...this was all too surreal. but it happened. i didn't take LSD at all). it was 7AM and the old LSD supplier and his wife still slept. coco woke him up. he gave us what we wanted after coco explained the situation. then the couple served breakfast* and started to tell us why they have LSD, where it comes from etc. leary introduced them into the hole thing. they experimented with the drug in the 70s... with the LSD we returned into civilization. of course the dying friend was not really able and willing to put LSD on top of the medical cocktail he already got. but the deal between coco and him seamed to have a lot of symbolic value to all involved people. it was more like a ritual to hand him the last trip... (just in case there is need for this chemical ticket to another universe). it was very touching and the first time i saw a dying human being. coco also died a few years later. she was the first very close person i lost. death is everywhere in this story .

interesting loop!? i'm still confused but also excited. many mysterious connections between my parents and ito, coco, switzerland and albert hoffmann, death and lsd: and the middleman is leary. very twisted. (where are and

3. i'm swiss. barlow ( told me that leary (who was in exile in switzerland after he escaped from jail in the usa) was totally bored in switzerland. barlow had to admit that etoy.AGENTS are the first not-boring swiss guys he met when he visited us in our etoy.TANK in manhattan (postmasters gallery show 2000). he said our parents must have been crazy hippies. we looked at this rock n roll dinosaur in his cowboy boots who insulted my country... and he looked at us ...and we all started to laugh.

4. last year, on the search for leary's mortal remains, i met r.u. sirious ( for the first time. a wonderful man! he wrote design for dying with timothy leary. sirius and the american writer douglas rushkoff ( connected me to other leary friends and finally to denis berry, executor of leary's estate, who handed over the ashes to etoy.AGENT MARLAND.

and here we are. on an endless trip / in an eternal loop. i still don't know that' going on.... but i love all this open minded and smart people i meet on this journey.

even if a lot of people warn us to include leary into MISSION ETERNITY i think he perfectly fits into this system. especially because leary talked a lot about digital existence and emigration to cyberspace. it would be unfair not to take him with us (or better: to send him ahead as the first mortal remains test pilot). his digital remains currently are lying dormant. even there were huge efforts to transfer Dr. Leary into a digital creature. the things i see when i surf the net are not very advanced... comparing to the plans leary had. etoy can change this!

if art critics have a problem with leary they are obviously too narrow minded for the etoy.UNIVERSE

but we (etoy.AGENTS) really want to know what the critics say. at the moment it looks like no one has strong arguments. or they are afraid to expose their concerns in public. to me it seams to be one of this typical art world problems: everything has to be hyper cool and conceptually ultra clean. everything is judged into hot or not. a small weak point can fuck up your career. leary is highly questionable... sometimes too cheap. the aesthetics that surrounded him were a nightmare. hehe.... too much psychodelic patterns for contemporary design aware brains like us.

it's the risk taking that puts fine art further. timothy leary was a pioneer of the information age. he challenged his own thinking and the rules that define our life and death. that's why i think he deserves to be the first mortal remains pilot on the mission. he also has more experience with this scary stuff than the rest of us. let's encapsulate him and send the ARCANUM CAPSULE into the future.

thank you for flying etoy.
zai again @ 21.04.2007 14:17 CET
we need a smart quote form style police!

come on! where are the pessimistic europeans, the concerned art critics who think sending leary on an eternal trip is too cheap. nobody cool enough to take the risk of confrontation?

too bad we dont have a real gallerist. im sure she/he would have good reasons not to proceed.
JAMES A SUTCLIFFE @ 21.04.2007 19:35 CET
On behalf of the immortal soul of the being once known as Timothy Leary, I protest the inclusion of his mortal remains in a mission that is just one step away from the real thing. What he is saying is that this whole mission impossible thing is really cool as an idea, the effort to transcend the limitations of reaslity That is not a typo but a new coinage of the content 'reality as transmogrified by the interference of reason' (reason is not really very reasonable.) Tim is saying that he wasn't really such a nice guy and just let him die; the ideas are more important than the man. "...the personality is just a vehicle for the creativity which pushes the edge of current concepts into our constant becoming
...(a concept is like a condom-when you're done with it you need to take it off and move on.)
JAMES A SUTCLIFFE @ 21.04.2007 23:08 CET
Terence McKenna would be more appropriate. They both agree that, based on the law of the exercise of free will, etoy will choose Leary and it will backfire and the plan will muck up but just remember that it is only the intention that is valuable; the mechanics of public networking will be well served. The publicity will be good for the real deal which is so much simpler. They both also want you to know that death is not so fucking scary especially if you have enough brain power to process the meaning
of quantum mechanics in the practical world of intentional energy. Both wish you good luck and have fun with free will.
denny @ 21.04.2007 23:46 CET
hmmm... I know that I don't know, and part of what I don't know is that if Leary was part of your life (in whatever manner), and you are part of ME- there is no way to argue against a future witha past where t-dawg was one of the first TeST PILOTS.

Perhaps any opposition to the idea is simply an attempt at [e|a]ffecting the value of etoy.SHARES?

"hey, let's wait for kurzweil" doesn't seem to fix. er. fit.

Honestly I don't know, but it sure sounded nifty. I could argue against it if we need more duality. or is that polarity? Eh. I'm flex able.

* * *

Remembering stuff ROCKS-- quick shout out to h-man: thanks for my memory, I was able to vote!
Joi Ito @ 22.04.2007 12:44 CET
I spent many years working and hanging out with Tim. He adopted me as a God Son and we spent a lot of time together working on things including a book called "The New Breed" that we never completed. One of the themes of the book was RPM or "realities per minute". We talked about "tune in, turn on, take over" instead of "drop out". If etoy had existed at the time, he would have been ALL OVER etoy with his enthusiasm and his support.

Tim continues to live on through many of his friends and collaborators, all of us representing different facets of his life. In fact, even when he was alive, we often represented him. He would often make me actually BE HIM during online interviews so I could practice. ;-)

I think this event will bring together various people who carry Tim's spirit, his archives, and his mortal remains and "bring him back" to a higher state of being. It's interesting that it was cyrogenics, which Tim talked about a lot, but etoy that brings him back.

There are a huge number of people who Tim touched through his life and I think that this is a great opportunity to reconnect a lot of the pieces that have drifted apart.

Personally, I think that anyone who thinks that etoy and Tim Leary aren't a good fit either don't know Tim or has a different understanding of etoy than I do. I think this is perfect.
moixa @ 22.04.2007 20:08 CET
A clear YES.
Alan Gershenfeld @ 22.04.2007 21:50 CET
I think the question remains - does featuring the Timothy Leary brand as the poster child/elder test pilot (or any pop culture icon for that matter) overwhelm the inherent uniqueness of the Mission Eternity vision/ brand? Does 1 + 1 equal 1.73 or 2.29? No choice is neutral, but some choices are less neutral. (full disclosure: I am quite bad at math - and I also attended Timothy's parties in LA. In fact, the two might be related).
samuel @ 22.04.2007 21:55 CET
i don't see why this shouldn't be a bad thing. i would vote yes if my share indeed allows me to vote :)
Alan Gershenfeld @ 22.04.2007 23:37 CET
I think the question remains - does featuring the Timothy Leary brand as the poster child-elder test pilot (or any pop culture icon for that matter) overwhelm the inherent uniqueness of the Mission Eternity vision brand? Does 1 + 1 equal 1 or 3? (Full disclosure: I am quite bad at math). No choice is neutral, but some choices are less neutral than others. Is this an attempt to quickly goose the shareprice through a brand license because of unsustainable quarterly pressures or an organic, thoughtful approach to building sustainable, long term value?
Douglas Rushkoff @ 23.04.2007 00:54 CET
There's good points on both sides, I suppose. I generally charge into things headfirst, based more on passion than concern. But I understand how the Leary association could turn people off, cheapen the project, or cast etoy as publicity seekers.

Still, all of this is what Leary was about: human potential, evolution, space travel, and publicity stunts as a kind of art. He was a person and a media entity, he was mixed up with pretty much all the pop artists of the 70's and 80's, and went through similar wars as etoy.

I think claiming him as a posthumous ally is not bad but good for all concerned. If you were an American group, it might be different. But as Europeans I think you are safe from the kinds of charges some people fear you might be subjected to.

But I am not in the "serious" art world, so I don't know how they react to things....
Eric Erickson @ 23.04.2007 06:30 CET
"turn on, tune in, drop out"

He was already there - let him go back. Fly free Tim!
Horse Badorties @ 28.04.2007 03:12 CET
The whole thing reminds me of that episode of "Max Headroom" where this fake church claims to be preserving people's memories in computer storage banks. Despite being fake it was a cool idea.

Why do Timothy Leary? Why not!
And while you're at it, dig up some of Richard Nixon and slap him in a capsule too.

Don't shy away from controversy. It's how you "wake up" the uninformed and ignorant masses...
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