Remember life before cell phones?

Montclair Art Museum
Apr 11, 2013 2:42PM

A collaboration between Bloomfield College and the Montclair Art Museum will revitalize the phone booth as a unique space to promote conversation.

The Bloomfield Avenue Hotline is the winner of the first annual Bloomfield Avenue Prize, a joint initiative of the Montclair Art Museum and Bloomfield College. Named after the street that connects the two institutions, the Prize was awarded through a juried open call competition for public art projects that bridge the two campuses physically, symbolically, or both. The selection committee was composed of Laura Nova, associate professor of creative art and technology at Bloomfield College; Alexandra Schwartz, curator of contemporary art at the Montclair Art Museum; and faculty and staff from BC and MAM. Thirty-five proposals were submitted; artists Karina Aguilera Skvirsky and Liselot van der Heijden were selected to erect their joint project involving live classic yellow phone booths at each location.

One booth was installed at the College in the College Library and one at the Museum in Lehman Court, the Museum’s main entrance hall. The user can pick up the phone to hear pre-recorded messages based on conversations the artists have had with members from each community. Interviewees were asked a variety of questions, ranging from "In one word, how would you describe your community?" to "What is the best thing you can buy in this area for under $5?" The messages become a portrait of the other location, creating an exchange of perspectives: MAM visitors can hear thoughts from Bloomfield residents, while BC visitors can hear from their neighbors in Montclair. Visitors will have the opportunity to contribute to the project by leaving an anonymous voicemail.

Image: Artists Liselot van der Heijden (left) and Karina Aguilera Skvirsky in front of the booth at the Montclair Art Museum.
Montclair Art Museum