CALL A MOM PHONE BANK

Performative Installation presented at 062 Gallery, 2018. Documentation Máire Witt O'Neill.

Performers: Taykhoom Biviji, Óscar I. González Díaz, Mev Luna, Zach Nicol, Yazmin Ramos, Misael Soto, Adia Sykes, Maryam Taghavi, Marcela Torres, Nabil Vega.

Unlimited talk and text as low as $30[1]. Witty commercials in which the person making the phone call to a customer service line is the one answering the call[2]. American deportees answering questions, responding to complaints, and re-directing calls from across the border[3].

This is the state of communications, with much of the emotional labor behind a phone call displaced in text messages, emoticons, and undetectable accents serving an American public whose customer satisfaction survey answers do not account for the geographical dislocation of those they evaluate and the cost of that service.

With this reality in mind, CALL A MOM PHONE BANK invites the audience to make a difficult phone call. Taking place within a semi-private space with the guidance of the performer, the installation will serve as a new environment to approach a lingering or unaddressed topic. It is up to the discretion of the participant to define difficult for themselves.

 

CALL A MOM PHONE BANK welcomes all calls in all languages to those living or deceased.  Appointments can be made via our online scheduler, walk ins welcome during the opening and select windows of time. Please be advised that the call center is BYOD (bring your own device).

[1] metroPCS ®

[2] "Live Customer Service" Discover it card commercial, 5,448,812 views, YouTube.com

[3] Blitzer, Jonathan. “The Deportees Taking Our Calls.” The New Yorker, 27 Jan. 2017, www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/23/the-deportees-taking-our-calls. Accessed 1 April 2018.

Call A Mom Phone Bank

April 20 – May 6, 2018

062 Gallery, Curated by Su Yeon Lim

Chicago, IL

 

 

A call is a transfer of information, a line in space, but it is also a demand to be recognized, acknowledged, and answered. The premise behind Mev Luna’s CALL A MOM PHONE BANK is that we all have a call to make, and that it should be a restorative experience given the time and attention it deserves. Until the 1950s long distance calls were made through an operator and international calls had to be scheduled in advance. Though tedious, this time-consuming process both underlined the luxury of a connection that we now take for granted and made it impossible to ignore the anonymous labor supporting the network. CALL A MOM PHONE BANK restores the ritual that used to surround a phone call, allowing you to relish in the opportunity to be intimate with someone at a distance, while also making a new connection with a real person—the volunteer phone bank ‘employee’ who will accompany you through the process.

 

Although our transportable devices are sometimes an unbearably convenient constant, Luna grounds the phone call in a place and time (walks-ins are permitted but appointments preferred) thereby giving you the space to prepare yourself emotionally and bureaucratically (paperwork must be signed) for a conversation you may have avoided, or a connection you may have missed. Only you can make the call, but by choosing to do so here you are participating in a collaborative practice with Luna, the PHONE BANK volunteers, and the other callers who are also seeking an opening, closure, or re-connection. The call itself is one-on-one, but you are not alone. And if the call fails—literally or figuratively—you will still have established a connection with the individual sitting next to you and the larger community of callers who will also put their hearts on the line during the course of the exhibition. The person I want to call can’t answer, but perhaps I’ll try anyway, and forge new connections in the process.

 

– Daisy Charles