{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)

KAIROI hour-glass

Boredom, anticipation, purposeless walking, contemplation, hibernation, lingering, all these acts are alien to the capitalist human, and symbolize a glitch or an error in the functioning of a ‘normal’ life. Turbo capitalism, which has led to economic acceleration and massive alienation within developed societies, has gained momentum in the past decades and is spreading its roots in developing nations. With this form of disproportionate and biased expansion leading to feelings of isolated existence, 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 easily accessible, through supermarkets, malls, distant jobs, e-commerce etc., delving into an extreme where the tangible currency made of paper and metal is itself mutating into ‘cashless’ cash via online transactions, e-wallets and net-banking, 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 as sheer wastage of time.

Here, a vending machine 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 ones finger on the simulated-biometric scanner, and ‘spend’ time to receive a product. The products are mainly eatables that, rather than just being consumables, signify a moment in time, arousing feelings such as nostalgia, homesickness and attachment. Products such as Parle-G biscuits, Harnik’s Phantom sweet cigarettes, Little Hearts, Frooti, Uncle Chips etc. are vended by the machine to stir the user’s emotions. Geographically, these products are specific to India, most of them are produced/ were originally produced by native companies functioning from as early as 1892. The work attempts to question the role of time in Capitalism- What the reversal means? 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?


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

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

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