"Now Vending": Mancini's IRL Take on Society's Need for Validation

Now Vending, an Eric Mancini play on Now Trending, is set up inside The Bearded Monk and is Denton’s one stop shop for picking up all the social approval the heart desires

“The likes are currently $5 spray painted on 5x5” canvas panel," Mancini said. "The machine only accepts $1 bills or coins. I may lower the price later down the road. But really the entire machine is a piece of art."

Now the much-craved (don't deny it) validation sought on social media can be received as an actual physical token.

“I want it to be like a, how many can you collect? thing," Mancini said. "I even want to do something where if someone gets 5 I’ll give them one that has a 5 or if they get 10 a 10. And so on. Make those even more collectible.”

As a society that heavily relies on the opinions of others to make a decision, going as far as reading reviews for where to eat, where to stay on vacation, or even whether to order that winter coat, the ability to create something physical out of this digital acceptance is pretty brilliant.

“I’ve had the idea for like 2 years and even did a painting of the idea," Mancini said. "I finally decided to bring it to life. It’s poking fun at society finding validation in how many likes a post gets. I’m even guilty of it. But at least now you can get a like that lasts longer.”

The creative ways Dentonites will display these “in real life” tokens of social validation are exciting to theorize. Will photos of the likes simply be taken, or will they be arranged like trophies on a mantlepiece? Could they be added as a new patch on a jacket, or will the love be passed around by handing them off to someone else?

“Really the possibilities are endless as long as the items fit in the machine," Mancini said. "But mostly stuff I can offer at affordable prices of $1 to $5. I'm not sure how long I will just have just Likes in the machine. After I’ve made my point I will eventually put cooler things for people to collect out of the machine, like mini paintings and small prints and stickers, instant film photos.”

The vending machine won’t always hold these items, so grab one while they’re still in stock!

Mancini's debut of the piece can be found on his Facebook page.

Header image layout designed by Christopher Rodgers