If you could make only one last phone call, who would you call – and what would you say?
This is the central premise of School of Art and Design sessional lecturer Anna Madeleine’s latest project, One Last Call
The project – a participatory artwork – is a collaboration with science communicator and producer/curator Dr Renee Beale. It began with thoughts of mobile phones and saving rare earths in a changing climate.
Anna begins by explaining that there are 17 rare earth metals, and mobile phones contain many of them.
“Are there more sustainable ways of doing this?” Anna asks.
“Can we reconsider communication technologies by looking back at other, older ways to communicate?”
This thought process led to the idea of setting up an old-fashioned phone booth, which people could use in exchange for recycling a used mobile phone. They would record a message in the phone booth, and those messages would be uploaded to a website at the end of the day for other people to listen to.
The message, consequently, becomes the last call you can make with that mobile phone.
“It could be interpreted as one last call for environmental change,” Anna says.
“But I’m hoping for some personal messages as well. For example, the one last call you might make to a loved one or an ex.”
“We’re hoping to get some singers and poets and comedians,” Anna says.
“I’d like to pull out some quotes from the messages left and put them on Twitter, take photos of people using the booth – things like that. So it’s as much an online artwork as a physical one.”
As for the message Anna would leave with her last phone call, she says that she has two.
Her first would be a very personal one, relating to her late father who was a climate scientist.
“But I don’t know if I’m brave enough to do that.” Anna admits.
For her other message, she’d wait until everyone else had finished with the phone booth.
“I’d kind of do the last one and say thank you to everyone for using it.”