Initially grounded in the real-world problem of increasingly rapid mobile phone obsolescence, my research subsequently adopted hacking, performance and critical design and culminated in two interactive projects: stereoPHONEic and textDIAL. They demonstrate ways to repurpose so-called obsolete rotary dial telephones, combining them with other available technologies, and even human beings at times, to make them function just like smartphones.
stereoPHONEic is a portable music player. The shoulder-mounted handset conveniently positions stereo speakers behind each ear. The dial provides track selection, volume control, pause/resume and stop functions.
textDIAL is a prototype for sending and receiving text messages using the limited affordances of rotary dial phones. To send a message, lift the handset, listen to the instructions, compose your message using the four rotary phone dials and dial SEND when ready. To receive a message when the phone rings, lift the handset and listen to your incoming message read from an overseas call centre.
More than a piece of hardware you can hold in your hand, the project viewed the mobile phone as a network of infrastructure and service providers, as seen in this early concept sketch.
Additionally, the mobile phone is a set of behaviours. I field tested stereoPHONEic and textDIAL by hitting the streets with them, performing everyday smartphone activities in everyday places. The results can be seen in the video below.