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A new way of interdisciplinary art in the digital age.

Telephone – an online exhibition organized by the Satellite Collective, New York – works just like the children’s game called also Ear-To-Ear, Operator, Grapevine or Phonebook or in German Stille Post.

You maybe remember: One person comes up with a message and whispers it to another person. That person whispers to the next person. As the whispered message travels through it the sequence of players, the message changes, it evolves, it surprises.

treeviewMap-8-29320d727e0449f0da748e29b1a08e23Mapping system of the participating artists

Starting from that central message – Oh god thy sea is so great and my boat is so small – each artist communicated to the next through a variety of media, from drawing to dance, resulting in over 50 threads in an art version of the game Telephone. So the message could become poetry, then a painting, then music, then film, and so on. Each artist was only aware of the work of art that directly preceded her or his own. Each artist received a work and was told to translate the message into the language of his or her own art form.

The other twist was that when an artist sent back their interpretive work, the Satellite Collective then “whispered” it to two or three other artists. Instead of progressing in a single, straight line, the game of Telephone branched out exponentially like a family tree. This interactive, online exhibition presents 315 original and interconnected works in 18 different art forms, created specifically for this experiment by artists from 159 cities in 42 countries. And it all originated with a single message.

Watch a curated tour by Daniel Padnos

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Watch the full tour at Telephone.

A full year after Jana Weaver received the sailor’s prayer, nine works of art were inspired, one after the other, traversing the United States, the Western Hemisphere and the Atlantic ocean.

The online platform for Telephone was launched on April 20. Viewers can browse by medium or location in addition to clicking through the different paths.


Thomas Büsch

Filmmaker, Founding Member and Secretary General of diyalog, promotion of cultural exchange with Turkey. Since 2012 he is also project manager of InEnArt.

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