Since 2016 I've been collecting what I term Phone Art: creative uses of usually automated phone systems. Sometimes straightforwardly art pieces, sometimes marketing, sometimes for very technical testing purposes but repurposed something poetic when used by a person outside the industry.
John Giorno's hotline that started it all. I've been doing a lot of research on this one, and much more is to come. Current number maintained, as far as I can tell, by The New Museum. Previous numbers:
The original? Maintained by The Architectural League in 1969 and then MoMA in 1970, I think.
Maintained by MoMA. Shut down sometime around 2015.
Maintained by The New Museum. Still active as of 2021, but in 2020 started charging 1¢/min on T-Mobile, with a preceding message that "The number you're dialing is outside of your plan, and will incur a one cent per-minute charge if you continue. You can hang up now to avoid the charge." before continuing to Dial-A-Poem.
Harvard Sentence Hotline
This is my personal Mendela Effect. I with absolute confidence swear there was a 99% Invisible episode on Harvard Sentences. They contain every—or at least attempt to contain many—phonemes of a given dialect. Like pangrams, but for the IPA instead of just the A.
I cannot find that 99PI episode—or a similar episode of a different podcast I'm likely to have confused it with—anywhere.
Street Art Addiction Helpline
Seen on flyers posted around NYC, circa 2019. ￼
LinkNYC Santa Hotline
Corona Game Day Hotline
Quarterly Woolly Mammoth Facts Hotline
A new woolly mammoth fact every quarter, run by Harry’s. Discovered on back of Face Lotion bottle.
Seems to be stuck on the same fact since roughly Q3 2018: "You can determinte the age of a wolly mammoth like that of a tree: by counting the rings on its tusks." ￼
Casper Sleep Hotline
Boston Color Commons
Text the name of any color to change the lights in Boston Commons (circa 2018)