Dear reader, if you are in your twenties or even younger, this post is especially for you. So just lean back for a while and imagine the following scenario:
It’s a nice late summer afternoon, you’re a kid and you would like to see a friend to hang out with. Well, if he is living nearby, it’s easy. You jump into your favorite clothes and go over to meet him. Ring at his door, throw a little stone to his window or even morse him your secret code. If he is living on the other side of the city, well you would set a date and place to meet and … write him A POSTCARD. Patiently you were waiting for his answer, hoping he would confirm, ’cause if not that would take ANOTHER WEEK of correspondence.
Well, young folks, that was my life when I was a kid in the GDR in the 1980s (when friendships lasted longer, haha!) because I didn’t have a phone at home. And so did a lot of my friends. And if it wasn’t for reasons of emergency, I can tell you, NO ONE cared.
But in case my friend had a phone, of course it was much easier. I would go to a telephone box somewhere in my neighborhood with lots of coins in my pocket, secretly hoping that there was no line and people would keep it short and chew some minty-fresh gum while talking. It wasn’t comfortable at all, especially when it was cold and rainy.
So my time traveling experience last weekend kinda was a perfect one. It was also cold and rainy when I visited the art project Yellow Box curated by Kunsträume Leipzig e. V., an installation right in the middle of the city using 10 yellow telephone boxes. And if you walked by, you could listen to spoken word recordings (realized by Manuel G. Richter/Leaf Audio) of people talking about how the meaning and importance of having a phone influenced their lives (from not having a phone at all to private talking to monitoring and the very common annoying talks on a cell phone in public where you get to listen to things you actually don’t wanna know at all). After all it was an exhibition all about spreading information in our society today.
Though this project ended last weekend, I think it’s important to sometimes think about if it is really necessary to be available anywhere at any time.
In fact, I love getting hand-written postcards in my snail mail box. ;-)