"There is no telephone art"( Gregory Battock in New Artists Video, E.P. Dutton,1978)

"In 1973, Jim Pallas began working with the idea of "PhoneyVents". Originally PhoneyVents were audio works that were played to whomever Pallas chose to call, and they were, as he explained"...grounded in the premise that the ringing of a telephone bell elicits a state of focused attention in most Americans. The called person is ready for a communication whose content may be anything. The person has no reasonable expectations: the situation is out of their control." From this idea came another, the "Dialevent", which consists of a number one can call to get a PhoneyVent. This idea was more appealiing to Pallas in that the DialeyVents were less intrusive in nature and more convenient to the artists who composed them and to the recipients....."
Excerpt from an article by Tom Bloomer, The Detroit Artists Monthly, p. 17, January, 1979.

The question of "phone art" is an interesting one. Were there were no telephone activities before the late 1970's that one could call "phone art"? When was the telephone answering machine invented? When did it come into popular use?
People have always been imaginative with their answering machine greetings..
Poet John Giorno had a "Dial-a-Poet" service sometime during the 1970's.
The Detroit Institute of Arts commissioned Pallas to produce CAR-PHONE a series of Dialevents for "Automobile and
 Culture - Detroit Style", in 1985.
One of the earliest and best examples of phone art are the 1979 "Telephone Stories" of Marshall Kriegman (aka Klugman)

Disembodied Art

Here's a link to the current activities of a British art group called The Disembodied Art Gallery. You will find here a brief description of their past activities, their aims, and also details about their latest telephone project. 

More Links

Diatltones (A Telesymphony) by Golan Levin.   A performance at Ars Electronica 2001
 Conceptual Design/Info Art links is Stephen Wilson's comprehensive links to conceptual arts sites, including phone, telecomminication and other electronic art.
917: A code without an Area.  Ben Rubin's  New York cell phone project
The Payphone Project is a collection of numbers, stories and events involving public payphones.

If you have any ideas, information or stories about early phone art (or phone art of any time), please write me. 

Pallas home page 
Comments and Questions 
made possible by support from Detroit Art Works  

Janet Roos 2001