Swiss Police Confiscate The Things Purchased Randomly By A Darknet Bot

Robots need ketamine too! And to supply their robot with drugs a group of Swiss techno-artists programmed an agent to randomly buy an item on a random darknet site with bitcoin, resulting in a cache of drugs and other contraband that, at first, was a fun art project and then caught the eye of the authorities.

Called the Random Darknet Shopper, the robot simply found a random item and bought it. Most of the items were simply fakes – fake jeans, fake Nikes – but at one point the robot bought ten ecstasy tablets from Germany.

Today, we received the 10 Ecstasy Pills which the Random Darknet Shopper bought last week. The pills were vacuum-sealed in aluminium foil and placed inside a dvd case, so they would look like a dvd in a x-ray scan.

The group placed each item in its own case, rendering it a work of art. That is, until the exhibit closed on January 11th when Swiss Police intervened.

On the morning of January 12, the day after the three-month exhibition was closed, the public prosecutor’s office of St. Gallen seized and sealed our work. It seems, the purpose of the confiscation is to impede an endangerment of third parties through the drugs exhibited by destroying them. This is what we know at present. We believe that the confiscation is an unjustified intervention into freedom of art. We’d also like to thank Kunst Halle St. Gallen for their ongoing support and the wonderful collaboration. Furthermore, we are convinced, that it is an objective of art to shed light on the fringes of society and to pose fundamental contemporary questions.

In short, it was totally cool of the Swiss Police to let the exhibit run its course but they didn’t want anyone to get high on the bot’s own supply. The robot itself raises some fascinating questions in regard to the agency of computer programs and who breaks the law when chance replaces the consumer impulse.