Snackable artwork creates positive thinking

Art and About Sydney Intangible GoodsBars of purpose and bags of spontaneity are just some of the items on offer this month from a vending machine in the Sydney CBD. Operating in Martin Place, Pitt Street Mall and Circular Quay until Sunday 8 April, the Intangible Goods vending machine invites people to select from a series of products, each designed for a specific emotional need.

Each product is priced at $2 each, with contents varying from origami stars and maps, to pencils and written prompts, all designed by the artists and a team of mental health professionals. The temporary artwork for the City of Sydney’s Art & About Sydney program aims to remove the stigma of mental health, with proceeds going to Australian organisations working in the area.

Artists Elizabeth Commandeur and Mark Starmach created the machine and the products stocked inside it in collaboration with mental health professionals, Barbara LeBas, Dr Tim Sharp, and Charlotte Stapf.

“We live in a society where, for most of us, our physical needs are largely met, but often our emotional and psychological lives go unfed,” said Mr Starmach. “This is seen in the increase in diagnoses of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, and in the more commonplace experiences of stress and loneliness.”

“In this fun, interactive artwork, we hope people find an unexpected way to talk about the things we all need more of in our minds, and increase their awareness of an important cause,” added Ms Commandeur.

Proceeds will go to organisations researching mental illness or offering support to those experiencing mental health issues, including the Schizophrenia Research Institute at NeuRA, NSW Mental Health Association (WayAhead), and beyondblue.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said raising awareness around mental health is vital for creating strong and supportive communities. “Art has the capacity to impact our community and break down stigma and isolation. This poignant – and fun – artwork in Martin Place will help to raise awareness about things we can all do to look after our mental health and that of those around us,” said the Lord Mayor.

“Through our charity partners, event sponsorships, grants, and art and community programs, we aim to support a wide range of projects that will promote social and emotional wellbeing in our community. I hope this project encourages more people to think about mental health and to step up and help those in need.”

Intangible Goods will operate all day, every day at the following locations: Martin Place – until 29 March; Customs House Square – 30 March to 3 April; and Pitt Street Mall – 4 April to 8 April 2018. For more information on Intangible Goods and Art & About Sydney, visit: for details.

Image: The Intangible Goods vending machine located in Martin Place, Sydney (supplied)