Vending machine business, 自動販売機 (jidouhanbaiki), photo essay by Edward Way
But where are these machines placed? Seemingly dropped out of nowhere, they are reshaping urban space by filling in the borders between domestic and public experience. They serve as reminders of how people organize the space around them, according to their needs and fears, raising questions on privacy, domesticity and security. They reflect Japanese society’s pride of security, respect and hierarchy whereas they may seem out of context.
The place of these machines, and what surrounds them let us see how Japanese society consider their relationship to the outside and the inside but also how they view their future, built out of the existing. It lets us know how intertwined these perspectives are. In a culture marked with contradictions, the jidouhanbaiki are halfway between traditionalism and the ephemeral, collective consciousness and individualism, humanized service and modern automation, surveillance and fear.
But what are we afraid of? darkness? frustration? emptiness? solitude? deprivation?
What do we need? drinks? people? machines? services? tranquility? protection? (Edward Way)