Shot Calling: Telemarketing
- Words: Colin Strandberg
"I read the phonebook like a novel when I was a kid," says Alexi Morrissey, a conceptual artist based in Pittsburgh. While Morrissey, a former graffiti artist from Boston, was searching for a hotel-style wake-up call service, he discovered robotic dialing–suddenly, all his attention was turned back to the phone. Wake Up Call,, an online project created by Morrissey and Damien Miller, allows users to choose from over 70 audio artworks, and have that work delivered to any phone number. The recordings range from straight-up music (including acoustic bluegrass jams from Nashville's David Long and electronic music from Creation is Crucifixion's Nathan Martin) to poetry, sound art, and anti-Bush cheerleading. Even its crank-call side is artistic: In homage to John Giorno's Dial-a-Poem, the project's calls appear to come from Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art.
Wake Up Call is not just an art delivery system or a utilitarian service, but a repurposing of technology; it takes a modern inconvenience and turns it into something desirable. "People don't like the fact that their telephone allows others to take advantage of them," says Morrissey. "But people like cellos and poetry. This is the robotic call that you want to get."
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