Instead of crappy crisps, this vending machine dispenses something much better for your health — “snacks” based on your emotional needs.
An installation artwork in Sydney’s CBD by artists Elizabeth Commandeur and Mark Starmach, Intangible Goods is a special vending machine that’s filled with conveniently packaged consumables for the mind.
Yep, no classic chips or chocolate bars — you can find them in that other vending machine over there — instead you can pick some mind food. Each little packet is A$2 and has been designed by artists alongside mental health professionals to contain products for specific emotional needs.
There are little bars and packets themed around connection, spontaneity, friendship, bravery, reassurance, imagination, structure, and purpose among other important things we really need sometimes (but don’t treat ourselves to). And while a “friendship” bar won’t magically give you a friend, perhaps you’ll find some tips to make a new one yourself.
What you will find inside are things like maps, notes, pencils, and writing prompts to help you level up on that emotional health of yours — you might even find a little origami star in there.
We live in a society where, for most of us, our physical needs are largely met, but often our emotional and psychological lives go unfed,” said Starmach in a press statement.
“In this fun, interactive artwork, we hope people find an unexpected way to talk about the things we all need more of in our minds, and increase their awareness of an important cause,” added Commandeur.
By designing the packs with mental health professionals Barbara LeBas, Dr. Tim Sharp, and Charlotte Stapf, the artists are aiming to remove the stigma attached to mental health, and all proceeds will go to Australian organizations in the field.
The vending machine will hop around Sydney’s CBD, operating in Martin Place, Pitt Street Mall, and Circular Quay until April 8. The work was commissioned by the City of Sydney as part of its Art and About public art program.
“Art has the capacity to impact our community and break down stigma and isolation,” said Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore in a press statement. “I hope this project encourages more people to think about mental health and to step up and help those in need.”
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