As the COVID-19 pandemic heated up in 2020, the world faced a period of prolonged isolation as we sheltered in place. Amidst the chaos, my friendNathanhad a wild idea that birthed the Telephone project. This massive global art synthesis project would connect artists and art lovers worldwide in the comfort of their living rooms. I was recruited to help bring the project to life by creating the brand, design system, and the digital experience. On top of the obvious challenges of the pandemic, I was also in grad school at the time and balancing a full-time job at Dropbox. While my ambition put strains on my schedule that year, I felt called to work on this remarkable project.
This project is best experienced through the live site.
We wanted to provide a way in which artists from all over the world were able to commune in a very intimate way (interpreting one another’s art work) without needing to be in physical proximity. Our primary goals were to serve the artist, to help people who were lonely, to publicize this work worldwide, and to help foster an international community. We also just wanted to make something really beautiful and meaningful, which provided an excellent creative outlet for me during a dark time.
The exhibition highlighted artworks by almost 1000 artists from 493 cities in 72 countries. The game took a year to play, received worldwide acclaim, and was completed on a budget of $150 despite seamlessly ingesting more than 10,000 artist files from the backend into the custom interface. The remote Telephone community “whispered” the message more than 7.6 million kilometers back and forth over the face of the Earth. The team has been invited to present the project's findings at ATOA in New York, Smith College, the Colloquium for the Nida Centre for Advanced Research on Translation in Rimini, Italy, and will be presenting the project in Lisbon, Portugal later this year.