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Vending machines are almost omnipresent in the so-called 'Developed World' with all levels of technology manifesting themselves in these machines. When it comes to 'low-tech, high-concept Art-o-mats'—refurbished old, mechanical cigarette machines selling small pieces of artwork for $5 – its almost unnerving. Art-o-mat is the brainchild of Clark Whittington of Winston-Salem, N.C., who has sold about 100 of the retro machines, now scattered around the country in museums, galleries, hotels, restaurants and shops. Colorfully customized by Mr. Whittington, the machines sell about 30,000 pieces a year and the 300 artists who supply the inventory receive $2.50 for each piece sold. Scott Blake, an Omaha-based artist known for giant portraits constructed from bar codes, says the vending machine gives artists wider exposure as well as additional revenue. "It's easier to sell a million one-dollar things than one, $1 million thing," says Mr. Blake. "I'm working my way up to $1 million, one dollar at a time." Its about time Art Museums got on board this one. This looks like a real 'cultural experience' ... Click here to read more
10 Most Bizarre Vending Machines in Japan ... With one vending machine for every 23 people, Japan has one of the highest vending machine densities in the world. You can hardly walk 100 meters without finding a vending machine in Japan. Japan has a dense population, limited space, and a decreasing number of working age people. Vending machines have proven to be a convenient solution to the problem. Almost any good you can purchase in a store, you can find in one of Japan’s 6 million vending machines ... We might imagine these machines collectively as street museums purveying the culture of now.