Welcome to the Museum
Professional call centre agent, script written by the artist, audio recordings, call centre software, direct dial telephone connection, telephone, chair, table. Commissioned by the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
This piece plays with the typical kind of call centre interface one would experience calling any large organisation, but instead offers access to a fictional - and somewhat strange - museum. The fictional organisation offers a labyrinthine sonic hypertext to be navigated by the caller. The caller is offered a range of telephone options, which offer departments and then sub-menus of recorded info, further menu options or the chance to speak with a real staff member.
Some of the departments include:
Death of Painting Revival Team
Office of Pardons
Mythic Repository of Spare Ideas
Chair of Disappointing Home Truths
Agency for Repetitive Thinking
Urban Regeneration and Soul Selling team
Specific activities that can be undertaken by the caller include:
Applying for an internship at the Museum
Leaving a voicemail for the Artist in Residence
Pledging a gift
Speaking with the Operator (a real person)
Also, the Operator is trained to be able direct the viewer to real locations or elements within the exhibition venue, such as (for example) the exit, the bathrooms or the visitors' book.
The piece refers to Marcel Broodthaers' work, particularly his 'Musee d'Art Moderne', but also references systems art and visionary architecture in general, as well as Kafka, whilst weaving these elements into a loosely sketched, but in parts highly-detailed cultural bureaucracy.