Sunday, December 13, 2009
Minimum Wage Machine
BLAKE FALL CONROY’S “MINIMUM WAGE MACHINE” is a penny-dispensing Rube Goldberg machine that “allows anybody to work for minimum wage.” The machine has custom electronics, a change sorter, wood, plexiglass, a motor, misc. hardware, lot’s of pennies, and measures approx. 15 x 19 x 72 inches. The minimum wage machine allows anybody to work for minimum wage.
Here’s the concept, and the way it works: turning the crank will yield one penny every 5.04 seconds, for $7.15 an hour (NY State minimum wage). That means, if you can physically turn the crank for an 8-hour day, you can earn $57.20. If you stop turning the crank, you stop receiving money. The machine’s mechanism and electronics are powered by the hand crank, and pennies are stored in a plexiglass box. Makes working for minimum wage feel pretty depressing. But the artist has an idea and is quoted as saying:
“In the future, I see possibility in a lot of these machines hooked into a grid, with people performing basic human labor for money. Perhaps a new form of renewable energy generation? A new kind of supercomputer with thousands of people performing basic calculations at minimum wage “stations” across the world? Who knows?