On June 26 my walking wireless workers installation opened at the Intersections 3 exhibiton in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The project involved four white phone workers situated at four points in a circle facing outward ready to place calls. To activate the installation I called each of the phones from Berlin, highlighting the integration of the white phones within the global wireless infrastructure and economy. Then I called my translator, Zaya, who was located on site at the installation. He projected my voice on a speakerphone and translated my project introduction into Mongolian before a live audience. I paid each of the white phone operators for 2 hours worth of calls (12,000 tgs) and invited visitors of the installation to use the phones for free and help spread information about the arts and Intersections 3 into the wireless bandwidth. Visitors also had access to a handout about my research project and a web interface where they could view photographs of white phone workers that I shot while conducting research in Ulaanbaatar in 2004 and 2007. They also had the opportunity to ask the white phone operators questions about their work and lives.
Zaya and Ochir, curator of Intersections 3, indicated there was great interest in the installation, particularly among the Mongolians who see these white phone workers each day, but rarely stop to think about their work, lives, use of technology, and participation in the economy. Photos and more info will be posted soon, I hope!