I have been working on a project called Talk To Me which refurbishes old NYC payphones to become serendipitous points of communication between strangers. Dispersed throughout the 5 boroughs, TTM phones will sit idle until a passerby decides to activate the network by picking up one of the receivers. Once that happens, the other phones in the network begin to ring with the hopes that another passing stranger will answer the call. It is a simple concept meant to bring strangers into communication and link disparate communities throughout the 5 boroughs.
Since the Covid-19 Pandemic hit, the project has been put on indefinite hold as I wait to see how our public presence and willingness to interact with one another changes over time. I hope that eventually the project will make sense again and that I will be able to implement it some time next year.
In the meantime, Download Quarantine Chat [HERE] and talk to a stranger once a day while you are in self isolation. It isn’t completely serendipitous since you have to sign up to participate, but its an interesting opportunity to explore the power of stranger interaction and what it means to reach out to your neighbors, or be there when your neighbors reach out to you.