Do No Harm – The Dispensary offers more than 6,000 oversized capsules and tablets, arranged around and squirting out from a “responsive” vending machine.

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Mixed media artist Miss Bugs is to launch a major new installation at London’s Jealous Gallery, blending the worlds of contemporary art, big pharma and fast food.

18 months in the making, Do No Harm – The Dispensary features over 6,000 oversized capsules and tablets, displayed around – and spurting out of a “sensible” vending machine. Among the artwork are 800 brightly colored cast resin capsules, each containing a discarded junk food wrapper. Each capsule in the facility is unique, with over 100 variations from corporate giants like McDonalds and Coca-Cola, to childhood favorites Hubba Bubba and Monster Munch.

Also featured are 200 remixed “Fast Chalk” pills, cheekily mixing recognizable forms of Viagra and Oxycontin with familiar fast food slogans such as “Finger Lickin’ Good” and “America Runs on Dunkin”.

At the center of the exhibit will be the ‘sentient’ vending machine, Damien, a totemic sculpture on a mountain of oversized tablets, directing visitors to the space to buy, buy, buy with a looping track which connects the Oompa Loompa song with monotonous lists of pharmaceutical side effects.

Inspired by an all-nighter watching TV commercials in a motel room in the United States, Do No Harm – The Dispensary unpacks the themes of addiction, advertising and uncontrolled consumerism that have come to characterize the Do No Harm series. The installation also questions the role of art in this regard, drawing inspiration from modern and contemporary artists like Warhol and Hirst to explore the long-standing relationship between art and mainstream brands.

Miss Bugs says:

“Imagine a world where Willy Wonka won’t give you a golden ticket; he just wants to get you addicted. Judging by American television, this is the world we already live in; slice of pizza in one hand, remote in the other, eyeballs glued to a nonstop carousel of Coca-Cola, followed by Statins, then back to Burger King, then back to Valium. Back and forth – from junk food to medicine – on every channel. Consumer capitalism has won!

Another exhibit that uses pills is coincidentally this Damien Hirst exhibit from 2015
Schizophrenogenesis

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Marc Westall

Mark Westall is the founder and editor of FAD magazine, founder and co-editor of Art of Conversation and founder of the @worldoffad platform

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