Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller - The Telephone Call
  Year :   2001
  Location :   USA
  Worktype :   Audio and Video Walk
  Materials:   Digital Camcorder, Stereo Headphones, collaged sound
  Info :   010101, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

  Work Details  
  This is the only time Iíve produced a second piece for a museum. The first one, the audio walk from 1997, used the structure of the building as a memory map. This one, a video walk, created a narrative that involved interactions with people in the space, but still used the architecture as a baseline. The basis of the narrative was about how our minds invent scenarios from chance meetings between people. The piece was largely about self-induced anxieties and how the fears we have change our perception of our world. hear woman in front of you talking about her fear of frogs. I canít go into Chinatown even in case I see a store selling frog legs ... Janet Batrachophobia ... Frogs in my soup. Frogs in my bed, crawling up my legs. Frogs falling from the sky ... What am I afraid of ? the audio shifts to scary music as I say these things image shifts to an apartment, walking down a hallway. look through doorway and see a woman in a black slip on the bed. sound of cell phone rings beside you. sound of getting telephone out of bag. visuals go back to that of museum in front of you Janet Hello, Bernard What are you thinking about ? Janet Who is this ? Bernard What do you mean ? Iím sitting right beside you. Janet We have to go now. Point the camera where Iím pointing it. Synchronize your movements with mine. Stand up. Walk to the right. Follow this woman. Go behind the stairs. Now walk past her. Janet Cardiff ís video walk, The Telephone Call, opened at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on March 1, 2001, as part of 010101, Art in Technological Times, an exhibition about the intersection of art and new technologies. The piece leads visitors through the museum on a meandering tour up the central staircase, taking them briefly into a nearby gallery, and then into a service stair normally off limits to visitors. Cardiff ís voice muses on the people she is seeing and the overheard conversations and encounters around her. Layers of real and recorded sound overlap, creating a rich and ambiguous sense of space. A man calls. In the bleak service stairwell, the tour pauses and the camera goes black. Ominous footsteps approach from behind in the stairwell. Alone and convinced theyíre in the wrong place, visitors wait, hearts racing. As one visitor put it, ďI thought someone was going to kill me on the stairs. Brilliant.Ē The walk concludes with a stroll over the fifth floor bridge high above the museumís atrium, closing with a view out to the west hills of San Francisco. Accessed 04.11.2008 from http://www.cardiffmiller.com/artworks/walks/telephonecall.html