public phones – transformations
Every day I walk in front of one of the new public phone boxes (well, open booth). The place is here.
Something that comes to my mind:
Jan Chipcase observed public phones in different occasions (1, 2, 3, …), highlighting – for example – “The richness and cost to produce the advertising; the degree to which it can be (re)moved by potential customers and/or cleaners; the position of the advertising within the phone booth itself; […]”. As you can see, the phone booth doesn’t have a phone. It’s a work in progress, I reckon, but it’s been in this situation for months.
Is the value of this artifact is now more on the Adv billboard (on the back) than in the phone itself? Is the “advertising space” passing from being an emergent use to the main function?
When / if the phone will be installed, the booth is not a closed environment, but it’s open. Interesting, because initially “silence cabinets” were built to allow hearing faint voices from distant places and shouting across a country without disturbing neighbors (wikipedia: telephone booth).
Consequences on quality and types of conversation would be wonderful to study.
Finally, one main thought about the usefulness of a public phone in these days. What is the purpose of an open phone booth today? It’s really an open question, and I’d be happy if in the future I could understand a bit more about it, especially in such a crowded and vital area (Whitechapel Road in London).