One Way Conversation

One Way Conversation (Me, me, me. Now what about me.),
Rotary Phone, Arduino Board, Audio Files, 2019

Project Statement

One Way Conversation (Me, me, me. Now what about me.) consists of an old rotary telephone that sits on a small white table with a white chair.  Upon closer inspection, it is revealed that Carravaggio’s painting of Narcissus is embedded into the dial label.  The phone is programmed to ring 10 times every half hour.  If the viewer picks up the phone, a random audio file is played in which the speaker has a one-sided conversation with the listener.  During the conversation, the listener is never given the opportunity to respond and then the speaker abruptly ends the conversation.  If the phone is simply picked up while not ringing, an audio file is played randomly.  The audio files are of various people being asked to speak about a subject close to them in a narcissistic way.  Interspersed with these recordings are audio files of famous people that have given interviews which reflect their own narcissism.  For example, one of the audio files is of Donald Trump calling a reporter as ‘John Miller’ to speak about the incredible qualities of Donald Trump.  I chose to include an old rotary phone as a metaphorical way to indicate that although the focus of narcissism in contemprary times may be best observed through social media, that these issues existed well before.