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.
A megaphonebooth is a public, coin-operated megaphone. Insert one euro, speak into the attached handset. Your voice is instantly amplified and projected into the local environment.
Megaphonebooth Kiasma-nurmi will be available for public use from May 2010
Photos of potential - some of them rejected by the city authorities - Megaphonebooth Helsinki locations are currently displayed at the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary art as part of the It’s a Set-Up exhibition.
Big thanks to photographer Laura Vuoma for shooting all the Megaphonebooth locations and to Pixelache for their valiant efforts in dealing with difficult Helsinki authorities.
“Hello hello Uudenmaankatu. I am a Swedish scientist and I’m testing this new Megaphonebooth…”
Unsworn Telecom headed east to pick up the mighty Megaphonebooth at the metal workshop.
Unsworn Telecom’s latest sublime telephone service is ready for deployment! After intense prototyping sessions in Helsinki and Lisboa we handed over the blueprints to our favourite steel-worker Jörgen Bladh at Kylprodukter i Kivik. A couple of weeks later this solid steel beauty emerged.
The Megaphonebooth is now headed for Finland. You will soon hear more from it…
As part of the UM Festival, Unsworn Telecom hosted a workshop where we scouted and tested locations for a future Megaphonebooth Lisboa.
While we have already found a great spot for Megaphone Helsinki and have begun implementing it, Megaphonebooth Lisboa is still in its early phase. Together with workshop participants from Portugal, Germany and Brazil we spent a full day in the streets of Lisboa testing where a Megaphonebooth would and wouldn’t work.
We’d like to thank enthusastic and peripatetic workshoppers Saulo, Paul, Torsten, Frederik and Rui and UM Festival and Faculdade de Belas-Artes da Universidade de Lisboa, for facilitating and hosting this adventure.