The current global situation has changed almost everything that was "normal" about our lives. Everyday things, like being able to go outside and sit in a bar, or visit a library or museum are now out of our reach.
Our current lives feel like a Black Mirror episode. We are living in a present that might've been considered speculative a few months ago. It's frightening, but also fascinating.
We are all confined in our homes separate from each other. Families and lovers apart, but also strangers are even more alienated. I personally miss being able to talk to random people I meet in the New York City streets.
Idit Barak and I decided to work on this final project together. We looked at the current situation, and we decided that we want to propose an Absurd way of communicating with people. We looked into the different ways of synchronous and asynchronous communication out there, and got inspired from things like "batsignals", war flags and messenger birds.
At first, we were trying to design something that people could either put outside of their window or on the doorknob of their front door to signal others that they are doing ok. After digging a bit more, we came to the conclusion that those methods wouldn't have much impact on people's feelings of isolation, and that facilitating a 2-way dialog between people at home and pedestrians could be more interesting and helpful.
Our concept is the following:
Of course, the absurdity lies in the fact that a new and temporary infrastructure must be built. We imagine a zine article with assembly instructions for your very own pipe telephone kit.
The kit you buy contains the following items:
- Speaker cone -> This piece you carry with you when you leave the house. You plug it into the different tubes you see hanging from the windows.
- Pipes -> pipes that go from your window down to the ground level. Different PVC joins and tubes.
- Home cone -> Cone that is attached to your end (as a home owner). This is where you speak through.
- Privacy gate -> a closing mechanism for privacy. Since the pipes are always hanging, you should be able to mute the street when you want.
- Ringer bell -> bell attached to string that also hangs from your window. People pull it to get your attention and for you to start talking through your home cone.