Phonin’ it in

Phoning it in is a temporary phonetic installation for “Killing Me Softly,” a group exhibition at Ribtor, the defunct commercial warehouse in Calgary/Mohkinstsis, locally infamous for carrying strange, rare, and outmoded esoterica. Closed since early 2020, the vacant space was co-opted for an art exhibition by pop-up organizers Kyle Marks.

Phonin’ it in utilizes existing phone lines, vintage telephones, and a custom telecommunications to create an automatic-dialing, internal telephone system inside the formerly utilitarian warehouse space.

By picking up one phone, you would cause another phone (or sometimes two) elsewhere in the building to ring. Sometimes the call would be answered by a friend or stranger, and a fragmented conversation would ensue.

Using fluorescent spiking tape to “mark the scene,” we appropriated the aesthetics of Ribtor, including objects in situ, discarded in the defunct commercial space, to set the stage for each installation.

Phoning it in pays homage to the mixed era of the space and nostalgic technologies, while playfully reminding viewers to consider changes in the way we connect with each other over distance.

Thank you the Dallas & Jeff from Kyle Marks. Phonin’ it in is a study for an upcoming public art installation in Edmonton, Alberta. Want to leave us a message? Learn more here.

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