"Ka-Chunk" Dispenses Encapsulated Whimsy from Vending Machines

Posted by Michael Zimny on
An art vending machine created by artist Kristyn Weaver.

Vending machines fill the void left behind when the last forbidden wood was paved over for a long-term storage facility — they can dispense epiphany or regret. Everybody's experienced that moment of anticipation — as a curious kid at the arcade, or a middle-aged recluse copping a prophylactic at a truck stop restroom — when you stuck in a quarter, turned the crank and wondered what you’d get.

Now, Ipso Gallery is bringing that old vending machine magic to your neighborhood art space with Ka-Chunk, a show where you can acquire art the same way you buy stuff like Gobstoppers and Sticky Hands. The opening reception is Friday, November 10, 2017 at Fresh Produce.

Ka-Chunk provides viewers with a surreal, artistic vending experience that starts with a token and ends with the acquisition of an original work of art,” says Ipso gallery director, Liz Heeren. “The encounter with these artist-made machines will be as chancy and whimsical as a traditional vending machine, but ultimately lasting and permanent — as these artworks become cherished objects.”  

Ipso invited five local artists — Jeff Ballard, Steve Bormes, Amy Fill, Greg Peterson and Kristie Weaver — to imagine a unique vending experience into being. Then they invited a whole bunch more local artists to fill those five machines with vendable works of art. For a five dollar token you can kickstart your miniature art collection. 

You never know what you'll get at Ka-Chunk.You never know what you'll get at Ka-Chunk.

Even better: thanks to some nifty innovation, you can start it off with a surprise.  

“This was a particularly challenging exhibition,” says Jeff Ballard, who made one of the machines to be featured at Ka-Chunk. “You had to create a kind of art experience where the viewer interacts with the piece, because the vending machine is just as much a piece of art as what’s being vended."

“Initially, some things came to mind. You know, like the claw is kind of that standard vending machine that a lot of people have experienced. And then I was also thinking about the banjo players at Wall Drug — that experience was pretty interesting and unique to South Dakota. (Most of the time when I was at Wall Drug it was out of order, but it was always a fun commodity). So I tried to have something that embodied both of those experiences.”

Ballard put together a contraption that vends the art piece “out in front of the machine, then the [buyer] pulls a rip cord that makes a large foam fist push the piece across the floor. It’s made out of an old lawnmower and some other miscellaneous objects that I’ve had sitting around.”

“I’m really interested to see what these functional machines even look like,” says textile artist Amy Jarding, whose work will be featured in one machine. “I think that alone — interacting with this strange kind of Franken-machine, opens it to a lot of ages. So often you’re told not to touch when you’re in a gallery, and this is making you interact, so I think that’s a good experience for kids to have too.” 

Jarding had to make some fairly drastic scale adjustments to render her work vendable. “When I do weavings, they’re typically like four foot by four foot. Shrinking that down to an an inch and a half by two inches — so just like within your palm — you have to have a lot more intention, you can’t just let your mind wander.”

Now that the participating artists have overcome the conceptual and mechanical hurdles, the hope is that Ka-Chunk will present Sioux Falls with a new kind of art experience. “It takes a lot of intimidation out of purchasing art and interacting with it,” says Jarding. “I like that it brings this nostalgia of when you’re little and going to the quarter machine and turning it and seeing what comes out.”

subscribe to sdpb email updates food blog link image learning blog link image living blog link news and information blog link science and technology blog link sports blog link image

Related content from SDPB Radio - Art

Paul Horsted’s Epic National Parks Project

In The Moment ... November 22, 2017 Show 226 Hour 1 Paul Horsted has been making photographs for more than 35 years....

Cheech Marin On Art, Comedy, And American Identity

In The Moment ... November 13, 2017 Show 218 Hour 1 Cheech Marin is known as an actor, director, author, and...

In The Moment ... Artists Respond To The Reformation

In The Moment ... October 31, 2017 Show 210 Hour 1 What does it mean to drastically change in order to improve...

In The Moment ... The Art Of J. Steven Manolis

In The Moment ... October 5, 2017 Show 192 Hour 2 The "Painting Vermillion Red" art exhibit features the work of USD...

Books

Paul Horsted’s Epic National Parks Project

In The Moment ... November 22, 2017 Show 226 Hour 1 Paul Horsted has been making photographs for more than 35 years....

Love, Language, And Belonging With Lauren Collins

In The Moment ... November 16, 2017 Show 222 Hour 1 What does it mean to love someone in a language that’s not your...

In The Moment ...Poetry With Sun Yung Shin

신 선 영 Sun Yung Shin is the editor of the best-selling anthology "A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota" and...

In The Moment ... Author Larry Campbell Rolls Through Vermillion

In The Moment ... October 17, 2017 Show 200 Hour 1 He followed the Missouri River for more than 2,000 miles. He...

Music

The Stockholm Pianos

In The Moment ... November 20, 2017 Show 224 Hour 2 It's a South Dakota town where pianos outnumber people, and it's...

South Dakota Symphony Orchestra: Delta David Gier And Christopher Hill

In The Moment ... November 17, 2017 Show 223 Hour 1 The South Dakota Symphony Orchestra plays this weekend in the...

Moment In Sound With Wanbli Ceya

In The Moment ... November 17, 2017 Show 223 Hour 1 For this week's Moment in Sound, we welcome Wanbli Ceya. He's an...

Brendan Gayken And The Band Lemmons

In The Moment ... November 9, 2017 Show 217 Hour 2 Musician Brendan Gayken joins SDPB's Steve Zwemke to talk about...

Theater

In The Moment ... Alex Meyer's Scenic Design

In The Moment ... May 10, 2017 Show 090 Hour 2 Alex Meyer. He's a junior art and theater major at Augustana College...

In The Moment ... Remembering Vietnam On Horseback

In The Moment ... May 9, 2017 Show 089 Hour 2 Colt Romberger’s father served in Vietnam, and it changed his life...

Dakota Midday: S.F. Washington's "Wizard Of Oz"

South Dakota high schools produce a variety of plays each year. This week the Washington High School drama...

Dakota Midday: Lisa McNulty On Female Artists

The Off-Broadway Women's Project Theater is the oldest and largest theater company that promotes women artists in...