While their name ruffles feathers, the two Americans who go by AIDS-3D—Daniel Keller, 25, and Nik Kosmas, 26—chalk up the moniker to an interest in looking at international catastrophes from a fresh, albeit twisted, perspective. For the Art Nova section of Art Basel Miami Beach in December, the duo plans to present a Royal Pheasant hammock made by traditional South American craftsmen and filled with a batch of bamboo charcoal, which serves as a common, green air freshener. Keller cites the charcoal’s product description as being “a truly functional decorative accent!” Kosmas continues: “You’re not just buying this sculpture, you’re saving the environment.” In a single work, the two poke at the strange balancing act of so many promotions that try to marry an ethical position with an aesthetic one (usually under the banner of commercialism). “It’s about wanting to get yours,” Kosmas says. “Maybe it works and maybe it doesn’t.”

The artists moved to Berlin in 2006 after studying at the Art Institute of Chicago together, but even in Germany, they claim to maintain a very American mind-set in their approach to their work. AIDS-3D consistently explores a sense of techno-utopianism along with other popular notions of progress. Recent projects have included the series Ideal Work (Creative Solutions) (2010–2011), multicolored solar-panels styled after Mondrian canvases and OMG Obelisk (2007), a Styrofoam monument with that fluorescent acronym blazed across it as if beaming a teenage message through space. “It’s a new modernism where you can build perfect harmony, and your productivity is never destructive,” Kosmas says.

In DoActive, a recent commission by the Frieze Art Fair, they created three 15-second ads in which an actress asks viewers to text DoActive to a number in order to “make a difference.” Viewers then receive a congratulatory note for their charity—a penny for your thoughts, but nothing more.

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