Please note this website no longer supports the web browser you use.
We recommend upgrading to the latest Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Safari.

“Moments Before “Hello!”” [2018]

OKA Tomomi, WATANABE Junji


The visitor to this exhibition gets involved in the piece by making a phone call to one of the different places shown on each of six monitors. These different environments illustrate the development and advance of the telephone as it penetrated communities from its former place under street lamps, into the hallways of people’s homes, and ultimately, into private rooms. The ringing of the telephone that we are used to hearing in everyday life causes a couple watching TV and drinking tea to get up from their chairs, wakes a sleeping woman, or attracts a black cat that reconnoiters the ringing phone that nobody picks up. The moment the person we call picks up the phone is when our “connection” with someone is established, and we feel as if transported to the place on the other end. At the same time, the telephone has invaded and transformed the living environments of families and other communities with almost violent force.

Over a century has passed since the start of the first telephone service in Japan in 1890. Along with the technical evolution from manual switchboards to dial landlines, and ultimately, to cell phones and smartphone, forms have changed as well, and regardless of the user’s location, it continues to function as a medium for acoustically sharing any given place in the world. Whenever we call someone, in our consciousness that person is at a place that we are electronically connected with, no matter whether he or she is out on the street, riding a train, or sitting at home. As a result, old-style communities that used to depend on physical positional relations are dismantled, and one could perhaps say that our “neighbors” today exist in a totally new dimensions.

Production: OKA Tomomi / WATANABE Junji (NTT Communication Science Laboratories, NTT Service Evolution Laboratories)
Equipment Support: NTT East Chiba Division
Production cooperation: FUKUDA Yoshimi (NTT Network Service Systems Laboratories)



List of Works