Phone Art

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.

(641) 793-8122


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:

(212) 628-0400

The original? Maintained by The Architectural League in 1969 and then MoMA in 1970, I think.

(347) 763-8011

Maintained by MoMA. Shut down sometime around 2015.

(641) 793-8122

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.

(858) 651-5050

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.

(917) 530-3805

Street Art Addiction Helpline

Seen on flyers posted around NYC, circa 2019. 

(270) 301-5797

(319) 527-2680

LinkNYC Santa Hotline

(844) 9-CORONA

Corona Game Day Hotline

(929) 266-8875

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." 

(888) 890-2040

Casper Sleep Hotline

(617) 208-4455

Boston Color Commons

Text the name of any color to change the lights in Boston Commons (circa 2018)