Next time you gorge on a packet of chocolate cookies or potato chips from the vending machine, perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to consider if what you really need is processed empty calories or a sense of purpose, as well as a new perspective. Artists Elizabeth Commandeur and Mark Starmach’s brainchild, “Intangible Goods”, may just help you there.
Intangible Goods is a vending machine filled with “conveniently-packaged consumables for the mind”, and is currently a part of a lineup of installation artworks for Art & About Sydney, held in Sydney, Australia’s central business district.
Instead of protein bars and energy drinks, however, bars and packets of “reassurance,” “friendship,” “belonging” and “purpose” are available for consumption. Perhaps you need a dose of reassurance before heading to your next meeting? A sense of belongingness when going to a family reunion for the first time in years, or even a taste of friendship?
The packets themselves don’t contain food, but instead consists of sundries like pencils, written notes and prompts, maps, even origami works — all for the purpose of leveling up one’s emotional and mental health.
“Intangible Goods” was “developed in collaboration with mental health professionals and presented by Art & About Sydney; each good is designed to momentarily satisfy a need higher up on Maslow’s hierarchy than, say, chocolate and crinkle-cut chips.”
It’s an art project that seems ostensibly quirky, but actually goes deeper into the surface to bring mental health advocacy to the fore. As the “Intangible Goods” installation runs from March 26 to April 8 in Sydney, all of its profits will be donated to beyondblue, the Mental Health Association NSW (WayAhead), as well as the Schizophrenia Research Institute at NeuRA. JB