The Phone BoxNIMARKOH, Virginia
London and Liverpool: Virginia Nimarkoh. 1993.
Limited edition. One of three hundred editions presented in a cardboard box (163x130mm) with original artwork by the artists Tracey Emin, Stephen Forde, David Fryer, Sher Rajah, Damien Robinson and Kate Smith. The six works are protected by plastic wrappers. The book (pp. 32) with its card wrappers showing a purple tinted 1990s BT phone in its perspex box with a card on the window advertising "Wanton Young Wenches" contains work (written and photographic) by the artists.
"The Phone Box project took place for three weeks during November of 1992. Public telephone boxes, located within red light areas of London and Liverpool, were used as sites for artworks by Tracey Emin. Stephen Forde, David Fryer, Sher Rajah, Damien Robinson and Kate Smith. The aim of The Phone Box project has been to examine the term 'territory'. Not only in its purely geographical sense but also in relation to personal territory. Essentially, the distinction between public and private space relating to our sense of self, our fantasies and external social boundaries. The telephone box provides the individual with a point of contact, which reaffirms a sense of security. Engrossed in conversation, we become immersed in the illusion of total privacy. Glass walls, intended to keep the world outside, nevertheless highlight our presence. Inhabiting both public and private space simultaneously, the telephone box provides fertile ground for artists to examine the relationship between privacy, personal and public space, and invisibility”.
This work summons up, in all their glorious majesty, memories of squalid old phone boxes which promised Wicked Blondes but offered only the stench of piss. With the advent of mobile phones and the internet these decorated temples of desperation have disappeared. Sleaze has evaporated into the private sphere. “The Phone Box” couldn’t be made now.