"Mr. Pallas, What is going on here?"

An inspector for Michigan Bell Telephone Company in the course of investigating why his trunk lines were overwhelmed with traffic.

When the PhoneyVents became so popular that the task of delivering them was burdensome, the notion of putting the material on a machine and letting anyone who wanted it call and get it themselves became attractive.
This changed the nature of the events. The element of suprise and intrusion was lost. But it afforded the opportunity to invite other artists to create material for this exciting new medium!
For the DialeVents, I solicited tapes from artists around the country who I knew who were open to new ideas and willing to experiment. I challenged them to make art for the telephone. Their audio creations must be under three minutes duration and attributed to them. Whatever they gave me would be put on the commercial single line messaging machine bought with financial support from Gil and Lila Silverman. The event changed every two weeks and a schedule of upcoming artists and titles was printed in the Diane Spodarek's Detroit Artists Monthly, a widely read local publication at the time. A complete list of artists and their works is  here.
10,000 calls in a two week period was common. It was popular enough that, on one occasion the volume of calls shut down three exchanges on the east side of Detroit. The telephone company had mixed feelings: there was a large volume of long distance calls! In the year that it ran, over 130,000 calls came in.
This was in 1978, well before the phone company invented "900" numbers so there was no way to charge callers. Consequently none of us made any money. Not that anyone was supposed to make money: We did it to ask the question " Can the telephone be a medium for art?". 

Listening to the selections below in 1998 thru computer speakers or headphones is not the same as dialing the number and hearing it in one ear through the phone's handset in 1978.
So use your imagination.

(the RealAudio (5.0) links deliver fast, reasonable quality sound if you have the Player which can be downloaded FREE from  here.

Selected Original DialeVents from 1978 to 1979.

May 21, 1978. Jim Pallas. Spring sounds of mating frogs and red wing blackbirds recorded in a Michigan swamp.
"Embedded Michigan Noise." 1 minute.

July 2, 1978. Diane Spodarek. Noted performance artist, Dangerous Diane, produced this evocative essay regarding a late night interview with a visiting artist, possibly Vito Acconci.
"Potentially Dangerous."  3:15 minutes.

July 16, 1978.  Lynn Farnsworth - describes a spiral in Detroit streets.
"Street Directions"  3 min

July 30, 1978. Larry Pike. A symmetrical composition composed of  variations of the words "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party" produced by Jim Minx on his Votrax Human Voice Synthesizer.
"Seven in the Mirror." 2:10 minutes.

August 13, 1978. Bill Graham. A stand-still journey through the time-shaped terrain of Michigan.
"Michigan Displacements." 1:01 minutes.

September 14, 1978. Jay Yager. An existential meditation on the prerecorded phone message as art.
"Detroit Connection". 3:23 minutes.
"Office Fetish", Arman, 
Collection of Detroit Institute of Arts. 

March 18, 1979. Ken Friedman. This Fluxus artist managed to make one machine do the work of many by stringing several short messages on one tape but rigging it so that successive callers each got only one in sequence. Many of the messages are reworked "events" composed years earlier.
"Scrub Piece" ,16 sec.
"Zen Vaudeville" , 11 sec.
"Christmas Tree Event" , 33 sec.
"Performance Over" ,  6 sec.
"Mandatory Happening" ,  36 sec.
"Applaud a Stranger" ,  15 sec.

April 15, 1979. Dana Atchley. This "on-the-road" media artist renders a collection of citizens' band radio nicknames into a cross section of the American landscape.
"Blacktop Handles"  1:58 minutes.

Copyrights to all of the works linked above belong to the artists who created them. All rights reserved. 1998.
Pallas home page 
Comments and Questions