menu

Art Project Encourages New Yorkers To Use Payphones For Love

culture

‘Call Someone’ uses stencils and spray paint to invite pedestrians to take a pause from their daily lives and connect with someone they care about.

Vashti Hallissey
  • 26 june 2014

You’ve probably heard of Stevie Wonder’s song ‘I just called to say I love you’ but when was the last time you phoned someone just to let them know you care? These days we have such busy schedules and hectic lives that it can be easier to send a WhatsApp message or text a love heart emoji instead of calling our loved ones.

A recent installation in New York encouraged people to pause their everyday activities and do just that, using a device many had forgotten about – the payphone. There are 10,000 working payphones in New York City alone but now that most of us have mobiles, these once integral devices have become largely redundant. Matt Adams, a filmmaker and creative consultant, wanted the city residents to reconsider payphones and reconnect with the people they care about.

“When you’re talking on a cell phone and walking down the street, there are so many distractions, especially in New York City. When you are on a pay phone, the distractions are minimized because you have to stay in one place so it was really cool to watch New Yorkers completely in the present and fully engaged with whoever was on the other end of the phone,” Matt told PSFK.

With the help of his friend Katy, Matt decorated a payphone with a spray paint and stencil sign saying ‘Call Someone’. It’s part of a video and photo series that ‘aims to bring New Yorkers together by engagint them in positive activites in the most unexpected places’. They also taped quarters along the top so that the phone could be used for free and placed a hidden microphone above the receiver and hidden cameras nearby.

People started to use the payphone immediately. One woman called her boyfriend and let him know that pay phones now cost a dollar and that “this phone call is probably the most costly phone call he’s ever going to get.” A little girl used a payphone for the first time and a group left a message on a friend’s voicemail, all taking turns to tell her that they love her.

“There’s something so human about hearing another person’s voice and when using a pay phone, you don’t have the same options that you do with a cell phone. The only option is to talk or not to talk and since people were encouraged to call someone they love, so much emotion came out. It’s different to hear someone tell you that they love you rather than to just receive a text message that says it ya know?” Matt explained.

The project shows a softer side to New Yorkers than we usually see and also reveals that while text messages and emails are very convenient, an unexpected phone call is good way to put a smile on someone’s face.

Call Someone

culture
Trending

How Indiegogo Is Becoming An Adult Product Destination

Retail
Travel Today

What Happens When An Entire Airport Terminal Rebrands Itself?

JFK's Terminal 4 underwent a dramatic design facelift to guide and delight travelers

Home september 23, 2016

Watch This Fire Pit Dance Along To Your Favorite Song

Music City Fire is a system that is designed to flicker in time to ambient music

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Automotive september 23, 2016

Slick GPS Navigator Gives Directions To Moped Riders

This small, round device attaches to a sideview mirror to display maps for safer traveling

Home september 23, 2016

A Clock That Beautifully Manages Your Information Overload

The wall-mounted timekeeper is made to help people maintain focus and stay up to date with their appointments

Arts & Culture september 23, 2016

Performance Piece Blends Dancers Into Folds Of Light

The work provides commentary on the increasing connection between programmed and analog dimensions

Design & Architecture september 23, 2016

Design Firm Adapts Childhood Homes For Unemployed Young Adults

The studio has unveiled three prototypes of transformed living spaces for people forced to move back in with their families

Health september 23, 2016

These Chocolate Squares Claim To Reverse The Aging Process

A group of researchers from Cambridge University have developed a candy bar that promises to give you a youthful glow

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed september 21, 2016

Everything I Know About Leadership I Learned Teaching 7th Grade Math

Bree Groff, Managing Director at NOBL NYC, shares her secrets for knowing your employees and enabling a team

PSFK Labs september 22, 2016

The Future Of Work: Why Innovation Is Every Employee’s Job

PSFK Labs sits down with management at Johnson & Johnson to learn how the company comes up with their next ‘big idea’

Cities september 23, 2016

Food-Producing Architecture Competition Seeks To Better Feed Cities

A design challenge in Copenhagen highlights the need and beauty of urban farming

Health september 23, 2016

Wearable Monitors Sun Exposure To Prevent Sunburn

The clip monitors UV rays to make sure you're not receiving too much sunlight

Op-Ed september 23, 2016

Productivity Expert: The Magic Of The Five-Hour Workday

Stephan Aarstol, Founder of Tower Paddle Boards, explains why the modern notion of office hours needs to evolve

Culture september 23, 2016

This Exhibition’s Crowning Jewel Is An 18k Gold-Plated Toilet

The piece, titled 'America,' is meant to raise questions about the country's wealth inequality

Culture september 23, 2016

Match Up With Dates On Tinder Based On Your Music Preferences

A new partnership with Spotify lets people pair up based on shared tastes in artists

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

Entertainment september 23, 2016

Capture, Cut Up, And Configure Your World In 360 Degrees

To meet a booming 360 and VR video-capturing industry, a multimedia software company bolstered its media editing suite for 360-video creation

Advertising september 23, 2016

These Trucks Drove Around In Circles For 24 Hours To Keep Time

The giant ticking clock was created by 14 Scania vehicles in a deserted airfield

Advertising september 23, 2016

Buy Movie Tickets Directly From Your Facebook Profile

The new feature is part of a campaign from Fandango to further imbed social media into the ticket vendor's digital presence

No search results found.