On the Endless Infrastructural Reach of a Phoneme

Let us begin by posing a question: what are the words, the scenes, the shapes that may elicit you to pick up the phone and call home?

A telephone might evoke a certain sense of familiarity. In fact, we are so familiar with telephones that they have become an intrinsic part of us, lightly touching skin through the fabrics of pockets, or suspended in bags, purses, fanny packs hanging from shoulders, backs, waists. Depending on how old you are and where you come from, you might also recall the clunky device of the landline as being one of the epicenters of home. Static, immobile. Connected to the wall, wired to the table. In a corner, above the fridge, on a desk. Surrounded by sparse annotations and scribbled pieces of paper smudged blue or black or red or green or pencil-grey with barely recognizable, abstract drawings, numbers, names, dates, family recipes, cheesy poems. Connected to the telephone, which is connected to the wall. This is the beauty of the telephone and its familiarity—it brings us home, but also, to some extent, used to (and perhaps continues to) shape it. Stories and histories become interlinked, woven in an affective network of voice patterns travelling in cables.

Read the full essay in the Transmediale Journal, Issue #3.