KAIROI hour-glass


{from Greek ‘the times’}

a time-sensitive vending machine


KAIROI is realised within the framework of Five Million Incidents 2019-2020 supported by Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan in collaboration with Raqs Media Collective.    |   Technical support: Banana House (New Delhi)

Boredom, anticipation, purposeless walking, contemplation, hibernation, all these acts are alien to the capitalist mind, and symbolize an error in the functioning of a ‘normal’ life. With disproportionate and biased expansion due to turbo capitalism’s accelerated living, leading to feelings of isolation, we witness a drastic temporal-spatial shrinkage, where time has been commodified as a thing to be saved – precious, limited – and its partakers are always in a hurry to accumulate more money by saving more time. Temporal shrinkage occurs concurrently with spatial shrinkage, as spaces are designed to make consumption more compact, quick and accessible, through supermarkets, malls, distant jobs, e-commerce etc., where the tangible currency made of paper is itself mutating into ‘cashless’ cash via online transactions, e-wallets and cryptocurrency, among others. The prospect of not knowing what will happen next year is a nightmare, or just sitting leisurely and not filling time with purpose, is considered a sheer wastage.

Here, a vending machine is simulated, as it is the closest embodiment of capitalism’s spatial and temporal shrinkage. KAIROI, a time-sensitive vending machine, highlights the importance of unoccupied time; it is created as an attempt to slow down our acceleration to the point of contemplation, in order to gain (monetarily) free consumable products. Instead of money, it takes time as an input; one has to stand in front of the machine with their finger on the simulated-biometric scanner, and ‘spend’ time to get a product. The products are mainly eatables that, rather than just being consumables, signify a moment in time, arousing feelings of nostalgia, homesickness and attachment.

What does replacing money with time mean in a capitalist economy? What is this abstract feeling of spending the non-material (time) to obtain a material product? How can the value of each product be decided and weighed with a different duration of time?

Two machines were installed at Max Mueller Bhavan- New Delhi and Kolkata (India) for 6 months where they accumulated 24 days, 7 hours and 1 minute of time from the users/ ‘consumers’. This duration is put for auction at https://kairoi.in/ that can be attained by bidding through non-monetary bids as acts/ happenings. People bid to occupy a selected duration with ideas, like ‘I will crazily dance behind closed doors’ / ‘read time backwards’ / ‘I will zentangle’, and whichever bid gets highest votes, wins that duration of time and the bidder performs the bid/ task.


<Installation view @ Max Mueller Bhavan/Goethe-Institut Kolkata>

<Installation view @ Max Mueller Bhavan/Goethe-Institut New Delhi>

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