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Wieden+Kennedy handed over their gallery to WK.12 for the month of July 2012 and our group decided to turn the space into a marketplace of vending machines selling affordable art by local artists. We were interested in commenting on the accessibility of arts in Portland; we'd recently volunteered at an elementary school and were surprised to see firsthand the lack of arts education here in town. For a city that prides itself on creativity, our city is doing surprisingly little to create the artists of the future. We donated all the funds raised through the show - over $8,000 - to organizations supporting K-12 arts education in Portland.
I was tasked, along with two other 12'ers, to build some experimental vending machines to further engage visitors to the show. After some brainstorming and a lot of late night construction we built two experiential vending machines:
The Draw Bot
Visitors to Draw Bot were prompted to deposit $5, scribble anything they wanted drawn on a slip of paper and then insert that slip into the machine. Moments later, a drawing of their request would 'print' out the front of the machine.
We wanted to find a way to include more than just visual art in our show so we started discussing ways we could could vend live performances. We came up with the idea of the Perform-O-Mat. Visitors inserted five dollars, chose between ‘Music,’ ‘Dance,’ or ‘Drama,’ and then entered the 8’ by 10’ vending machine. Once inside, they were transported to a classical theater complete with red velvet curtains, a Grecian-inspired proscenium, fold-down theater seats and a surround sound speaker system. Audience members were treated to private performances by a fourteen year-old opera prodigy, a baroque string trio, ballerinas from the Oregon Ballet Theater and Portuguese folk singers. Though the performances only lasted 2 - 5 minutes, audience members left moved, and occasionally in tears, after witnessing what some called 'the most intimate theatrical experience of their lives'.