cell phones

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Design

An Anti-Smartphone With a Rotary Designed and Built by Space Engineer Justine Haupt

February 15, 2020

Andrew LaSane

All images © Justine Haupt

Justine Haupt, a developer of astronomy instrumentation at Brookhaven National Laboratory, spent the last three years developing a device that strips away all of the non-phone functions of modern smartphones. The Portable Wireless Electronic Digital Rotary Telephone (aka Rotary Cellphone) does not have a touchscreen, menus, or other superfluous features. It fits in Haupt’s pocket, and it makes calls.

The first version of Haupt’s anti-smartphone was made using a cellphone radio development board. As the project progressed, she worked out a way to make it compact, to view missed calls on a small display, and to ensure that the device could be taken apart and fixed if necessary. While the Rotary Cellphone may seem like a fun novelty, Haupt (until now a devoted flip phone user) says that is not the point. Everything from the removable antenna to dedicated speed dial keys for her husband and other contacts is utilitarian and a direct contrast to the devices many of you are reading this article on right now.

“This is a statement against a world of touchscreens, hyperconnectivity, and complacency with big brother watchdogs,” Haupt writes on her website. In a post sharing the open source design, she adds that “in a finicky, annoying, touchscreen world of hyperconnected people using phones they have no control over or understanding of, I wanted something that would be entirely mine, personal, and absolutely tactile, while also giving me an excuse for not texting.” (via Kottke)

 

 



Art History

Text SFMOMA Your Favorite Emoji and Receive an Artwork From Their Vast Collection

July 11, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's newest tech tool allows any smartphone user to gain access to the artworks hidden behind their archive doors, a collection so large that it would stretch 121.3 miles if you placed each artwork end-to-end. With only 5% of this collection on view, the museum decided to create Send Me SFMOMA, a texting service that delivers an artwork to your phone based on a sent emoji or phrase. For example, the first emoji I decided to text was a goat, for which they return Takuma Nakahira's 2008 Untitled image of—you guessed it, a goat.

To participate, text the number 572-51 the words “send me” followed by either a keyword (such as a color, emotion, or type of art) or an emoji. A quick response will bring your phone an image of an artwork from SFMOMA’s vast collection, in addition to a caption containing the artist, artwork title, and year. Within the first four days of the program over 3,000 artworks were generated, a larger number than the amount of works currently on view.

The system isn’t perfect, more of my inquiries came back with an error message than an artwork, however the intrigue of seeing a piece that has been tucked away from the public is quite addicting. I especially loved seeing what some of my most used emojis resulted in, such as the single eye which brought Tomoko Sawada's Early Days (1996) to my inbox. (via Hyperallergic)

 

 



Art

The Attention-Sucking Power of Digital Technology Displayed Through Photography by Antoine Geiger

November 11, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

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All images provided by Antoine Geiger

Making eye contact, a once unavoidable feat when packed into a crowded train car or museum, is now a nearly impossible mission as those around you are almost guaranteed to be sucked into their phone’s screen while scrolling through Facebook or killing digital zombies. Our increasing dependence on the information devices constantly stuck to our hands was the inspiration for artist Antoine Geiger’s series SUR-FAKE, a group of digitally altered photographs depicting random people being sucked into the screens of their phones.

The images show children, businessmen, and tourists with their faces completely lost, the forms stretched like taffy into the portals we use for selfies, email communication, and mindless gaming. The blur imposed by Photoshop completely masks any emotion once seen on the subject’s face, rendering each a personality-less drone. With this altering of the body the artist explains that the project is “placing the screen as an object of ‘mass subculture,’ alienating the relation to our own body, and more generally to the physical world.” All images courtesy Antoine Geiger. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

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