Net Worth

Exploring a new value system for our information dependent society, 2004

Osman Khan (US)

07.08.15 – 01.11.15

Net Worth

The visitor arrives at a kiosk with a magnetic card reader that stands in front of a monolithlike structure. Visitors are encouraged to swipe their credit card or ATM card, and the name contained on the magnetic stripe of the card is parsed and Googled. The positioning or ranking of the name is projected onto the monolith, representing the number of hits returned by the search on the visitor’s name.

The name appears on the projection with the names of other visitors who have swiped, as well as some higher net worth individuals, like celebrities, politicians, artists, and other famous figures who were pre-fed into the system — not only as a litmus test for the visitors and a comparison of their ‘net worth’, but also as a reflection of our social condition. Who has more Google hits… visitors to SECRET, Paris Hilton or William Shakespeare?


Osman Khan is an artist interested in constructing artifacts and experiences for social criticism and aesthetic expression. His work plays and subverts the materiality behind themes of identity, homeland, and social and public spaces through participatory and performative installations and site-specific interventions. He is currently an Associate Professor at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan, and is a recipient of an Art Matters grant, Ars Electronica’s Prix Ars Award of Distinction and The Arctic Circle 2009 Residency.

Q and A

What is your favourite dark corner of the internet? and Great places to download obscure sounds/music, not so dark.

What are the geographic coordinates of your favourite secret place?

24.549518, 67.639144

Everyone has a secret. What's yours?

I have tied Icebergs together.

I have flown an airplane.

I have wrestled with a bear.