In June, Megaphonebooth Kiasma-nurmi, a coin-operated megaphone station, is available for public use in the Kiasma lawn in central Helsinki. For one euro per minute anyone can speak into the handset and have their voice instantly amplified and projected into the local environment.
Megaphonebooth Kiasma-nurmi is the latest product of Unsworn Telecom – a series of poetic telecommunications services by Malmö-based interaction design and innovation studio Unsworn Industries.
“The Megaphonebooth presents unexpected opportunities but also raises questions about responsibility, control, and democracy”, says Erik Sandelin of Unsworn Industries. “It offers a platform from which people can speak their mind, loud and uncensored. Yet, when compared to the loudness, plentitude and persistence of other messages in our everyday, urban lives, the mighty megaphone seems peculiarly powerless. The Megaphonebooth is a functional yet slightly tragic tool that brings focus to an unbalance while feebly attempting to correct it.”
Photos of the Megaphonebooth in potential but rejected locations were exhibited at Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in Helsinki, earlier this spring.
“We tried to get permission to install the Megaphonebooth in many locations in Helsinki but our proposals were turned down one after the other. Although the sound is not any louder than that of an unplugged, shouting man, the city authorities were afraid of possible ‘sound pollution’”, explains Unsworn Industries’ Magnus Torstensson. “This decibel discussion merely scratches the surface of larger issues of public action spaces and personal responsibility: What happens when you insert your €1 coin? What rights do you acquire? What responsiblity is transferred from you to the machine (and its creators)? What additional freedoms do you expect to enjoy?”
Drop by the Kiasma lawn Tuesday 15 June at 18:00 for a Megaphonebooth picnic! Erik and Magnus from Unsworn Industries will be around. Pixelache will provide some picnic basics, but bring your own drinks, thoughts, and coins!
Megaphonebooth Kiasma-nurmi is conceived and designed by Unsworn Industries. It is produced in collaboration with Pixelache and is supported by Nordic Culture Point. The work is a part of Kiasma’s collections exhibition It’s a Set-up. For more information please contact Unsworn Industries.