A rundown but functional old vending machine stands alone in the Viewpoint Gallery at Plymouth College of Art. Every now and again, without warning, it springs into life – spewing out free packets of crisps for gallery visitors.
The machine has been modified and no longer functions in the conventional way, finding itself in the control of outside forces…
Its new nervous system is a networked computer. Hidden out of view and running special software, it continually scans the news on the BBC News RSS feed – commanding the machine only to release snacks when words relating to the recession make the headlines.
Whilst seemingly an act of generosity – gifting free food at moments when further doom and gloom is reported – the Vending Machine also hints towards a time in the future when our access to food may literally be determined by wider political or environmental events. We may not be able to access what we want, when we want, at the touch of a button.