A work in progress since 2008 has recently received viral attention for its central concept – cranking a handle continuously to dispense pennies at the rate at which the minimum wage is earned.
The machine operates from power generated by the user turning the crank. It can be reprogrammed to dispense pennies at different rates if the wage changes or if it is being used in a different country.
(Photo: Blake Fall-Conroy)
Currently the wage in New York is $8.75, where the creator, Blake Fall-Conroy, lives.
Artist Fall-Conroy also made a similar machine in 2013 with secondary school students from the Young People’s Programme at the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology in Liverpool.
The piece was subsequently displayed in their gallery in the show “Time & Motion: Redefining Working Life”.
He told i100.co.uk:
Years ago, when I worked at a filling station for minimum wage, I would often look over at the clock to count how many seconds it would take for me to earn one penny.
Later, I set out to build a machine that allowed anyone to viscerally experience this same feeling.
My hope is that the machine serves as a catalyst for debate about the pros and cons of minimum wage law.
The current minimum wage in the UK is £6.50 for those 21 and over (£6.70 from October onward) - or a penny roughly every five and a half seconds of turning the crank.