The Changing Face of Telephony

“Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.”

The telephone has changed a lot since Alexander Graham Bell uttered those words to Thomas Watson in 1876 to make the first ever phone call.

From a single line connecting two rooms in a house, we now have a global network of landlines and mobile phones connecting billions of people worldwide. With digital calls routed via satellites and the internet, you can to enter a few digits and speak to someone on the other side of the world.

Telephone Art Installation

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  • 19th September 2014 – 3rd May 2015
  • Wooden K2 Telephone Kiosk, Burlington House entranceway.
  • Organised as part of London Design Festival 2014

The telephone has without doubt changed society and the way we communicate. The name comes from the Greek words tēle and phōnē, which translate as “far voice”. The telephone certainly lives up to the name, carrying voices across long distances and speeding up communication.

In the early twentieth century, a national network of telephone boxes enabled this new technology to spread throughout the land, revolutionising our ability to communicate with each other. With the rise of the mobile phone, telephone boxes which once played such a vital role in society are in serious decline, and they are no longer the common sight they once were.

Red Phone Box The red telephone box, designed in 1924 by renowned architect Giles Gilbert Scott, was once seen everywhere across the country. Now the only wooden prototype of this iconic design ever made, sited in the Burlington House entranceway is being celebrated by non-profit arts organisation Measure as part of London Design Festival 2014.

Under the name ‘Telephone’, Measure will present a programme of sonic compositions by UK-based artists to mark the 90th anniversary of the red phone box’s design. These compositions can only be listened to through the handset of the box installed at the Burlington.

Artists Holly Pester, Aura Satz, Dan Scott and Lawrence Abu Hamdan each present a piece (available consecutively throughout the festival) that probes the cultural role of the public telephone, its technological design and its relevance as a site for solitary conversation within a bustling central London setting.

Callagenix is pleased to be associated with the project by providing a bespoke cloud-hosted telephony solution to enable this, offering an 0300 number linked to recorded messages of each artist’s presentation. Caller Line Identification (CLI) will ensure the recordings are available exclusively from the red phone box in the Burlington, making it a unique experience for participants.

Telephone will feature an accompanying public programme of talks and performances. A project launch event will take place on Friday 19 September at the Victoria and Albert Museum as part of the London Design Festival (13 – 21 September 2014). The day will focus on the design history of the public kiosk and will include a talk by historian David Heathcote, viewings of Scott’s kiosk design drawings from RIBA Archives, a drop-in workshop with illustrator Sebastian Harding and a performance by the first commissioned artist, Holly Pester.

Visitor Information:

Opening times: Saturday – Thursday: 10am – 6pm, Friday: 10am – 10pm, admission free

Nearest London Underground Station: Green Park or Piccadilly

More information is available on Measure’s website here:

To get started, call us on +44 (0) 333 247 00 00 or click here