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April 3, 2009

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CELL EVERYTHING was 50 large-print phone numbers
hung on Vermillion's gallery walls from 7-10 pm today only.
The idea was for visitors to call chance numbers via their own
cell phones. The numbers belonged to 50 different friends of
curator Greg Lundgren, who had invited them to perform live
or provide recordings when called. I was happy to be invited
and decided to take calls live in the gallery itself--but to do so
I needed to borrow a cell phone. (Thanks, Igor!) My schtick
was nothing more than a party trick: Phone rings (on loudest
and most obnoxious ring tone I could find), I answer and ask,
Have you ever talked to yourself on a cell phone before? Would
you like to try now?
I'd find the caller in the gallery and hand
them my phone. (The effect is pretty interesting and I suggest
you try it yourself. For me, the echo and delay underscore
the dehumanizing detachment the technology engenders--
which is just one of the reasons I don't have one and had
to borrow the little brainsucker for the show.) But the real
surprise came when they'd hang up and we'd put away our
phones and launch into a bona fide face-to-face conversation.
I met at least a dozen nice people and we'd have a great
time talking until... Excuse me, I have to take this call.