Can Somebody Get That

Can Somebody Get That

I examine the physical aspect of the landline telephone taking up a purposefully sectioned off area in the home as one of the first things I see that has significance as a disappearance. By placing three obsolete landline telephones upon the classic 'telephone table with stool' on a piece of second‐hand carpet, I construct a reference to this point. The telephones are sensor enabled to ring when a viewer approaches and will produce the familiar noise of the past, triggering an inbuilt response to pick up the phone. This element of the 'ring' is said to elicit a summons, which requires a response, stressed by the authoritative character of the ring.[1] It is also alighted to that an innate desire within humans to be gossipy 'becomes a desire for the phone to ring.'[2]

To try and articulate all of which the landline telephone's demise renders obsolete in our references to it, I have recorded the landline telephone conversations, using the recording device on my iPhone, from films pertaining primarily to characters whose narrative is dependent on the various qualities and functionality of the telephone. In Telephonic Film it is put forward that 'the phone is to the cinema ‐ what the letter is to the novel ‐ a vehicle for the incorporation of multiple positions.'[3] These recorded narratives have then been transcribed by myself, then reshuffled and respliced to form a new narrative, to then be played through the telephones within the installation, as a comment on the personal interpretations of the historian/archivist always being a variable to contend with. The element of appropriation I'm employing is also the discussions of media archaeologists as Prikka states 'remix and remediation have gained a strong foothold as a key aesthetic process'. [4]

In bringing together the other affective elements and rituals attributed to the landline telephones nearing obsolesce, I will show a video projection that highlights the fundamentals of these rituals, the vernacular of the landline as well as the repetitive physicality of dialling. By focusing on the act of dialling, I am 'addressing those layers of media where affect is not conflated with feelings or emotions but is kinaesthetic' [5] as Prikka describes in his analysis of media archaeology.


[1] M Sifianou,'On the Telephone Again! Differences in Telephone Behaviour: England versus Greece',
Language in Society, vol. 18, no. 4, December, 1989, p. 538.
[3] Schantz, N, Telephonic Film, Film Quarterly, Vol. 56, No. 4, summer, 2003, pp. 23‐35, p. 23.
[4] Parikka, J, 'What is Media Archaeology?' Polity Press, Cambridge, 2012., p. 144.
[5] Parikka, J, 'What is Media Archaeology?' Polity Press, Cambridge, 2012., p. 30.

Can Somebody Get That

Can Someone Get That? examines the physical aspect of the landline telephone taking up a purposefully sectioned off area in the home as one of the first things I see that has significance as a disappearance. By placing three obsolete landline telephones upon the classic 'telephone table with stool' on a piece of second‐hand carpet, constructs a reference to this point.


Rachel Hanlon on insta