Monster Flat Out

Carey Young, 2010. Professional call centre agent, script written by the artist, call centre software, direct dial telephone connection, telephone, chair, table.
Commissioned by the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

 

The term ‘Monster Flat Out’ – invented by the physicist Ernst Mach – refers to an entity that can be formulated but not observed. To experience the work, callers pick up a telephone receiver and are connected to a call centre agent who invites the caller to decide on the subject of the piece. Callers can choose a new subject (for which they must offer an explanation somehow relating to their interpretation or experience of the work), hear a list of past subjects, or revise the current subject to one of the previous ones. The work offers a kind of ‘drop box’ for callers to leave their impressions of the work and related ideas, while also offering a meditation on self-reflexivity in relation to contemporary telephone communications, and an extension of earlier telephone works by the artist which invited the viewer to create some of the work’s content.

The subjects of the work chosen by callers have so far included: Minimalism, Conceptual art, misdirection, inclusion, the artist as art, art as place, context, the Socratic method, transfers of power, reclaiming lost time, dissatisfaction with ‘today’, non-existence, nostalgia, globalisation and anarchism.