The Payphone Memorial

The Payphone Memorial: Comments+Feedback.

Nine - soon to be dismantled - pay phones in Kyoto, Berlin and Linz have been converted into transitorial memorial sites for people to have their souvenir photo taken. That is commonly refered to as Collective Landmarking.

Certainly most precious are the interactions during the actual one-hour events where so many were prompted to (re)consider the value of the public phone as a life line. The online dispersion of video material and information included an international audience not only into a relational debate on openly available public communication. The actions demonstrated that something mundane has the potential to become an intersection of spontaneous engagement:

“This theme is especially important to me as I am one of the small group of human beings in the rich industrialised countries who survive without a mobile phone. We are a highly endangered species but most of us believe that our decision not to have a mobile phone contributes to our pursuit of the art of living and our desire for a world of more personal, face-to-face human connection. Sometimes, however, we get frustrated when we wish to make phone calls at train stations and can't find a phone. This is the price of our individuality!”
commentsRoman krznaric, Oxford

“Great, great job! You know how to move people! I definitely want a pic of me at a public green phone...”
commentsAlesandro Mavilio, Kyoto

“Just watched your clip - it was great. I think you're finally getting it with taking pics of people, I loved the pics, everyone looked great, and I could see you were totally engaged with them. The only thing I thought was a bit strange was that no one was really using the phone. You only had them posing for your installation.”
commentsMaya Hara, Kyoto

“This is a GREAT project! I love the videos, they are so friendly and playful and very mediative... really makes you think about what everyday-objects we are losing thanks to new technology and you can tell in some of the faces of the people you interact with that they are also thinking about that.”
commentsThomas Sturm, San Francisco

“Once more a totally ingenious project from Kyoto. Great idea, affectionate people, hilarious pictures. Do I see this soon coming to Switzerland?”
commentsRita Lisa Steiner-Pflanzer, Schwyz

“Yes, it was great fun. I don't think you realize just how wonderful it is for first-year students to encounter someone like you with so many ideas and so much energy. It will be great nutrition for them! Thank you so much for doing this. I will really miss you!”
commentsJohn Einarsen (host of Payphone Memorial at Seika University), Kyoto

“This is the way art should be, bringing people together and creating joy - well done for doing what you're doing - it's really intelligent and creates value through art. The phone boxes are big and I love the green. How do you get the people to participate?”
commentsSoheila, London

“Particularly interesting I find the scene of a woman using a mobile phone and riding a bicycle in the center of the frame, while you are setting up this memorial event... I think this situation exactly shows what you are concerned about and that pay phones are decreacing... But people were smilling in the clips... and this must have been a good memory for all involved. Through this event, it got to my attention that pay phones still have an important role for so many people.”
commentsTomomi Akasaka, Kyoto

“I love it!!! Such wonderful slices of time: Your project gives us the opportunity to stop and view those little slices of time that go on and on in life just under our busy radar. Thanks for doing it!”
commentsSheila Schuhmacher, Phoenix

“It's sad that those green pay phones are dying - we would have been lost in Japan without them! We watched your Pay Phone Memorials and I had a huge grin on my face the whole time (that near bike accident was great! So typical, and of course nobody hit anyone)... I realized that everyone in your photos has huge grins too! You are bringing joy to the people, and your video skills are amazing (how the heck do you DO that?!) - we are totally impressed and inspired. Congrats on topping your last triumph!”
commentsKristen Doherty and Chris Daniels, Ashville

“What fun to see you in action, and in a suit. When is the Pay Phone Memorial coming to San Francisco? I don't know when was the last time I saw one -- they may be an extinct species here. The Pay Phone Memorial made me smile.”
commentsAdele Framer, San Francisco

“You were relaxed and well balanced artist before starting the action on the street. I enjoyed organizing the action with you and learned your ways of meeting people who passed by. ”
commentsAyumi Matsuzaka, Berlin

“Great! I'm glad to see urban reality has been getting another pounding from you! It's interesting to see how the role-playing/staged scenes thing manifested itself. I like the way you used adjusting your arm-band to lure people in!”
commentsNikki Pugh, Birmingham

“Someday we'll wonder.. boy those phones were humongous! What was inside of you that took up so much space?!?”