Last year, pop sensation Taylor Swift created a media storm when she pulled all her albums off free music streaming service Spotify, proclaiming, “Art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for.” Which then begs the million-dollar question: is art still valuable, or is it a dying commodity in today’s capitalist economy? A budding artist in Singapore sets out to seek the answer.
[Illustration Credit: Todd Sullivan]
Words by Natalie Koh
At first glance, Hans Chew’s vending machine may not look out of the ordinary. Standing in the School of the Arts Singapore (SOTA), it blends right in to its surroundings – why would anyone bat an eyelid at a vending machine, especially in a school, where most of its students are probably fuelled on microwave foods and fizzy drinks anyway?
But take a step closer and you’ll find this is no ordinary machine. Because far from your usual soda-dispensing gadget, this particular vending machine houses some 360 ceramic wares hand-thrown by the 18-year-old SOTA student.
Inspired by peculiar vending machines he saw while on a trip to Japan, which peddle everything from your usual canned drinks and snacks to commodities such as lettuce, surgical …read more