It's called "The Dead Man’s Switch."

Acid Trip

In an art stunt, a Russian artist is planning to lock away a treasure trove of art pieces that includes a Picasso and a Rembrandt into a large vault that's rigged to destroy its contents if Wikileaks founder Julian Assange dies in prison, The Guardian reports.

The artist is Andrei Molodkin, and he's reportedly put together $45 million worth of art work for this project, meant to highlight the plight of Assange, who's imprisoned in London and fighting extradition back to America due to his site Wikileaks publishing classified government information.

"When we have so much violence and war, like in Ukraine, Gaza, and everywhere, we need freedom of speech and freedom of expression for people to understand what’s happening," Molodkin told the Guardian, explaining his rationale behind the project. "One of the most important examples is Julian Assange. He’s in prison just for the [material he published]. He changed the history of journalism and information. He changed the world. Personally for me, it was a world before him and a world after."

Money Moves

Molodkin has given the project the clever name of "The Dead Man’s Switch." Along with 16 valuable art pieces in plywood crates, the large 29-ton vault contains a keg filled with acid and another keg that holds an "accelerator."

For the project, each day must start with confirmation of Assange being alive, which resets a timer to 24 hours. If he dies in prison, a switch would activate a chemical process that will destroy the art pieces within a couple of hours.

"I’m not trying to destroy art, and I don’t believe I will have to," Molodkin told the Guardian. "It’s not activism. I believe that Assange will be free and all the collectors and artists who have donated their work did so because they believe he will not die in prison."

Molodkin has the vault in his art studio in France, where it will be locked away on Friday and will eventually go to an unnamed museum. Monied collectors and fellow artists donated the pieces.

While interesting, the problem with the project is that it doesn't materially move the needle in getting Assange freed. The Wikileaks founder faces up to 175 years in prison if found guilty.

And if Assange does die in prison, we hope the people who donated to Molodkin still think it's a worthy cause.

More on data leaks: A Porn Company Bought, Promptly Incinerated a Website That Doxxed Performers

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