You know not to talk to strangers you encounter on the street but what about to strange machines? Disguised as an old payphone from the 19th century, the Public Utteraton Machine is asking New Yorkers who are curious enough to approach it for their opinions on public art. The experimental art project by artist and researcher Rebecca Hackemann was on display in front of MoMA PS1 in Long Island City until May 2, and has since been relocated to the Pvt. Sonsire Triangle in Williamsburg.
The goal of the Utteraton Machine, which is powered by a solar power panel installed atop it, is to collect opinions from passersby about public art in NYC. Consisting of a speaker, an ear piece, and a viewfinder, the apparatus, which was fabricated by J.Stemmler and Northpenn Machine Works and programmed by B.Bahlmann, features a soothing British male voice that delivers a series of questions. Hackemann plans to compile responses to the queries, which range from “Would you like to see more or less public art in your neighborhood?” to “Should public art provoke discussion, or look pretty?”, as data for her research.
The Public Utteraton Machine will be on display at Pvt. Sonsire Triangle in Williamsburg, Brooklyn until May 17. After its initial rounds in Queens and Brooklyn, Hackemann hopes to install the Utteraton Machine in other NY boroughs as well as in other cities.