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The Vending Machine as Art

Art or entertainment? In fusing human and machine into a single multi-media environment, the Juggling Jukebox also fuses art and entertainment. Though conceived primarily as an entertaining experience, the Juggling Jukebox was designed with an artistic methodology. Layered meaning and design details aim for a resonance that ensures that even when viewed as pure entertainment, the Juggling Jukebox leaves participants not with an empty laugh, but with a full experience (including full laughter).

The jukebox expands the definition of multi-media. Whereas traditional multimedia could be seen as one medium (the computer), the Juggling Jukebox links disparate media such as sythesizer, human, coin changer and Plexiglas. It takes interactive electronic art out of the computer monitor and puts it in human terms.

Meaning can be explored in the tensions of the human/machine relationship. A paradox arises from harnessing human movement to electronic controls. Who is in control--the juggler, the computer, or the viewer who set it all in motion? The human interface is evocative of robotics--so much so that some parents have convinced their children that the juggler is not human but a robot. Are human beings becoming more like machines in learning to relate to a new technological society?

Other areas for exploration include technology as the mime's mask and distortion/loss in translation from one medium (movement) to another (music). The Juggling Jukebox by no means answers any of the potential questions it suggests. Like art, it sets up ambiguities that invite the audience to explore possibilities--and have fun in the process.

The high-tech Juggling Jukebox by Bret Battey and James Jay

Overview | Technical Details | Art Pretense | Songs | Gallery | Credits

"Juggling Jukebox" is a trademark of James Jay.

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