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PRINT April 2001

1000 WORDS: KEITH TYSON

Back in the early ’60s, Piero Manzoni must have thought he was onto a neat trick with his Socle du Monde, which turned the whole planet into a work of art. But the Italian artist’s inverted pedestal was small beer compared to the cosmological cataclysms unleashed by Keith Tyson. Tyson’s “Magic Items”—spells cast on ordinary objects, sometimes recorded in books or posted as signs—have created parallel universes, scheduled the Apocalypse, reversed time, and transformed the consciousness of every single earthling. Or at least, there’s no way to prove they haven’t.

Working from a small studio in London’s Bermondsey area, the thirty-two-year-old Tyson is an improbable Master of the Universe. He’s best known for inventing “Artmachine,” 1991–2001, a semicomputerized algorithm able to scan the world’s information sources, and issue “iterations”—artmaking directives that Tyson then strove to fulfill.

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