Bruce Sterling on Tue, 7 Nov 2006 14:07:07 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> The subdimensions: a great spot for a creative-class atelier

For Immediate Release


Conceptual Artist Discovers Undeveloped Acreage
Through Latest Particle Physics...  Plans to Sell
Prime Bay Area Properties for Under Ten Dollars...
Exclusive Public Offering at San Francisco's Modernism
Gallery Scheduled for November 16th....

NOVEMBER 5, 2006 -  Reconciling quantum mechanics and
general relativity, string theory is seen by the most
sophisticated physicists as an emerging theory of
everything. Now the most advanced land speculators are
looking at the same mathematics -- and calculating the
greatest real estate opportunity since Columbus
arrived in America.

While Columbus was a shrewd businessman, the latest
terra incognita has been discovered by a conceptual
artist with considerably less financial acumen. "I
wasn't really looking to make money," confides
Jonathon Keats, whose previous art projects have
included such commercially dubious ventures as an
attempt to genetically engineer God at UC Berkeley.
"I've always lived month to month, as a renter. I
never considered owning land, let alone becoming a
developer, until I had a good close look at the nature
of spacetime earlier this year."

According to string theory, spacetime is more
extensive than people ordinarily experience. Beyond
the customary three dimensions of space and one
dimension of time, there are six or seven additional
dimensions, accommodating the complex vibrations of
miniscule strings. "The strings' vibrations give rise
to matter, but that's beside the point," says Mr.
Keats. "The important thing is that real estate in
cities from San Francisco to New York is selling at a
premium, unaffordable to many, and here are half a
dozen or more extra dimensions of space, just going to

Mr. Keats, working in consultation with leading
researchers including Shaw Prize-winning cosmologist
Saul Perlmutter, realized that rights to develop in
these extra dimensions could be bought very
inexpensively. "The legal framework was already in
place," he says. "People like Donald Trump buy and
sell air rights over city buildings all the time. If
the third dimension is negotiable, the higher
dimensions must be as well." Accordingly, the
artist/developer bought extra-dimensional rights to
his first property, a flat in San Francisco's
exclusive North Beach district, on August 19th. While
the lower-dimensional space is valued at approximately
$1,027,000, Mr. Keats purchased rights to the extra
dimensions, with a legally-binding contract, for a
mere $5.00. He has since bought higher-dimensional
rights to five other properties in San Francisco and
Marin County for between $1.80 and $15.00.

"Nobody really wanted the rights," Mr. Keats recalls,
"and I guess that I can understand why." The extra
dimensions, like the strings vibrating in them, are
very small, many orders of magnitude smaller than an
atom. "They're a bit inaccessible by conventional
means, but they're everywhere, so you could build in
them quite expansively with fine enough plaster or
maybe bricks." Mr. Keats admits that such materials
are currently beyond the reach even of the latest
nanotechnology, but he isn't worried. "Actually, the
way to look at the real estate in these extra
dimensions is as vacation properties."

To make up for the inconveniences associated with the
scale of the higher dimensions, Mr. Keats proposes
that there are more of them than there are lower
dimensions. "You can really spread out," he says,
demonstrating the design potential with
four-dimensional architecture that he has drafted for
these extra-dimensional spaces. Complete blueprints
will be on view at Modernism Gallery, where Mr. Keats
will offer a portfolio of properties, subdivided into
uniform lots, beginning on Thursday, November 16th at
5:30 pm. What will happen after that, the artist won't
predict. "This is a highly speculative market," he
says. "But somebody had to put string theory into
          *          *
Jonathon Keats is a conceptual artist, novelist, and
critic. For his most recent project, at the Judah L.
Magnes Museum in Berkeley, he exhibited
extraterrestrial abstract artwork. He has also
attempted to genetically engineer God in a petri dish,
in collaboration with scientists at the University of
California, and petitioned Berkeley to pass a
fundamental law of logic - A=A - a work commissioned
by the city's annual Arts Festival. He has been
awarded Yaddo, MacDowell, Ucross, and MacNamara
fellowships, and his projects have been documented by
KQED-TV and the BBC World Service, as well as
periodicals ranging from The San Francisco Chronicle
to The Boston Globe to New Scientist. He is
represented by Modernism Gallery in San Francisco. For
more information, please contact Mr. Keats at
415/673-9052 or, or see

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