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Books in Capsules

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Books in Capsules

I've long liked the idea of books in vending machine capsules. I've been hoping to incorporate this into my next show, which will be in the fall. Acquiring an actual vending machine is probably more investment than I care to put in (although, to be honest, I was surprised to discover one can be had for not much more than, say, framing a largish piece of 2D art).

However, I also thought it would be appropriate to have the "vending machine" be a handmade piece of the art. I have built a box that would be the perfect size, although, through trial and error, the dispensing mechanism has become increasingly simple until, in the latest incarnation, it is not more than a sloped drop down to a hole with a swinging door on it. The problem is, the @#$%! capsules tend to get stuck on the way down. I'm imagining the visiting public having to shake the box and shove their fingers up into the chute to unjam the capsules. Not quite the right idea. Alas.

By last night I was ripping out most of the innards of the thing and growing panicky over the time I've let go by on this. (Due to the usual health considerations, I've already lost much precious preparation time.) Sigh... I'll also need to complete about 50 tiny books to go into the capsules, in addition to the rest of the show. I have some one-of-a-kinds so far, and have some multiples in the making. They are actually kind of fun to do. Several have included found word texts. We'll see....

By the way, miniature books in toy-style vending machines are not a new idea. After I started on this, I discovered they have them in Japan, where miniature books are popular. And there are places in the US with a similar idea.

(Thanks to artist Scott Blake for sending the last link. He, incidentally, helped bring an Art-o-mat vending machine to Omaha, Nebraska.)

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20 Comments:

Anonymous Elephant's Child said...

Anything which encourages the acquisition of, reading of, sheer enjoyment in books is a wonderful idea. And a book vending machine is a HUGE improvement on the more usual soft drinks/chocolates/chip machines.
Less happy to hear that your body has been doing you wrong. Look after yourself.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011  
Anonymous Paper Chipmunk said...

Thanks-it always makes me smile to see a comment from you. I love the playful element of dispensing art as if it were candy or a toy. I like showing that artists shouldn't always be taken so seriously. And, yes, the world would be much improved if the soda and candy in machines were to be replaced with artworks and artbooks instead.

As for the body doing me wrong, it's nothing too much out of the usual. The fatigue has been pretty crushing, my marbles feel a bit looser and more willing to roll away... that sort of thing...

I hope the repercussions from all that garden work haven't been taking too big a toll.... Look after yourself as well.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011  
Anonymous Anna Mavromatis said...

what a brilliant idea, what a great concept!
I love miniatures and the ones I see in your pictures are super lovely! And coming out of the vending machine...: yumminess without the calories!!!
Best of luck preparing for the show; I am on a similar roll, mine is in June.
xoxoxox

Wednesday, April 06, 2011  
Anonymous Elephant's Child said...

I love your description of the rolling marbles. Too true unfortunately. We need to find a better word than fatigue though. And yes the repercussions from the gardening binge will be with me for a bit. Probably worth it.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011  
Anonymous Paper Chipmunk said...

Thanks Anna! Much appreciated. Good luck for June! Much sooner than mine. I wish I was closer and could see it in person.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011  
Anonymous Paper Chipmunk said...

I agree that "fatigue" is an insufficient term. I had to laugh about the marbles myself... answering your first comment brought me back to my post. I did a double take to see I'd written "shute" instead of "chute." In my old linguistics student days, my idea of pleasure reading included dictionaries....I also used to have a near-photographic visual memory, which is now completely gone. I never realized how much I depended on it, especially when doing art, until it went away.

So sorry to hear the gardening repercussions are ongoing... and ongoing... :-( I look forward to the pictures when it's all in flower. Those bulbs! But what a frustration not to be able to do any kind of productive project without paying for it for weeks.

Speaking of blooms, I just noticed that the huge mother-in-law's tongue next to the computer is sending up *2* big flower stalks, which will smell incredible upon opening. Yeay.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011  
Anonymous Elephant's Child said...

Our mother in law's tongue rarely flowers. Shute was fine - the meaning was clear and in the concept of a mine shute it was probably accurate even. And surely there is a song about 'you don't know what you've got till its gone'. Humph. On the other hand I can now re read books and rediscover things. Sigh.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011  
Anonymous Paper Chipmunk said...

I'd never had one flower either until about 7 or 8 years ago. This particular one is about 20 years old and lives right under a skylight. Its leaves are quite long. I also have some others that live in a covered porch/sunroom and they flower too, although, strangely, not on a schedule like this one, and almost never at the same time. This one blooms every April. The only time it flowered out of schedule was--I'm not exaggerating--the night Obama won the election. I hadn't even realized it had sent up the stalk, but that night, right after the results were announced, the blossoms opened and the room was flooded with that scent. I might have the only politically-minded mother-in-law's tongue around. Then it went back to flowering in April.

...And just think of all the movies and old TV shows you can now watch over and over again, each time just like the first...

Thursday, April 07, 2011  
Anonymous Bontree said...

Could you wax or put teflon on the shute to make it so slippery the capsules can't stick?

Thursday, April 07, 2011  
Anonymous Elephant's Child said...

Love the politicised m-i-lws tongue. And the thought that I can hide my own Easter eggs.

Thursday, April 07, 2011  
Anonymous Paper Chipmunk said...

Oh...I writhe with laughter! I think the Easter eggs...will be a line even I will remember!

Thursday, April 07, 2011  
Anonymous Paper Chipmunk said...

Bon! So nice to hear from you. Thanks for the input. I did actually think of laminating the "floor" with something more slick. Since I haven't yet put up a picture of it, I should say that it is papier maché over book board, layered with Nepalese Lokta paper and matte medium. But it turned out the texture isn't really a problem. If I stick a few capsules in to try it out, they slide right down. But when I put all of the capsules in, they tend to jam up and block each other from moving. My problem had been testing the design without enough capsules in it. A learning experience, alas. I tore out the bottom and am going to try it with a larger opening for them to drop into, along with a steeper angle to guide them there. If I was clever I'd come up with a real mechanical means of letting one cap fall into the door compartment at a time, with a cute little knob in front to work it that would mimic a real vending machine (my original fantasy). But these days I'm ahead if I can remember how to turn on my shower knob... so if I can just come up with some kind of conceptual dispenser that more or less works, I'll be satisfied. We'll see...

Thursday, April 07, 2011  
Anonymous Elephant's Child said...

I seem to be hogging the comments. Sorry. I have been thinking about doing a post on lost marbles and the pluses - would you mind?

Thursday, April 07, 2011  
Anonymous Paper Chipmunk said...

I love your comments! Please don't apologize. It's also helping me figure out this new comment system, which I deeply appreciate (the switch gives me much better moderation abilities which, alas, is something I need).

Please, talk about marbles! It's helpful when you talk about these kinds of things.

Thursday, April 07, 2011  
Anonymous Anna Mavromatis said...

I wish we lived closer too...
xox

Sunday, April 10, 2011  
Anonymous Paper Chipmunk said...

Aww...you're so kind. Maybe someday we will get to meet--wouldn't that be wonderful. In the meantime, I will look forward to the pictures of your show! Much good creative energy and productive days to you! xxo in return...

Sunday, April 10, 2011  
Anonymous Elissa said...

I have been dreaming of having my books in an Art-o-Mat for a while now. I'm jealous!

Sunday, May 08, 2011  
Anonymous Paper Chipmunk said...

Greetings Elissa. This isn't so much Art-o-mat as... heaven knows! But an online friend who does sell work in Art-o-mat machines really likes them and recommends doing it. Have you ever thought of submitting to them? http://www.artomat.org/guidelines.html It sounds complicated to me, but he makes it sound doable.... if one is up to production work of 50 at a time. The artist gets half of a $5 sales price, so I assume the materials and structure would have to be pretty simple. Personally, I don't have enough energy for it at the moment, but it could be fun if it's something you'd like to do. My friend says he actually makes a little bit of money with it.

Sunday, May 08, 2011  
OpenID adelaidefromadelaide said...

gosh, they are really lovely...a neighbour of ours staged an Easter egg hunt which was all about these dreadful plastic eggs all with just one or two chocolates inside. They've been kicking around the house ever since, because I can't bear to throw them into landfill, and I've been trying to think what can be done with them. Unfortunately they aren't opaque (and I'm not sure I'd be able to make the mini books anyway). But at least there's hope they can still be transformed into something of beauty.

Saturday, May 28, 2011  
Blogger Paper Chipmunk said...

Hi Adelaide from Adelaide--thanks much for the kind comment. I hope you do come up with something for your plastic eggs that pleases you.

I must say, your blog looks most interesting. As does your novel! I've been enjoying my browse over there. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, May 30, 2011  

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