The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Antique LIC Payphone Will Record Your Thoughts on Public Art

 A rendering of
A rendering of "The Public Utteraton Machine" by Rebecca Hackemann.
View Full Caption
NYC Parks Dept.

COURT SQUARE — A vintage phone booth is popping up in Long Island City to collect opinions about art from passersby, and ultimately publish them on the web, the artist said.  

"The Public Utteraton Machine" is designed to look like a 19th century public telephone, but instead of making calls, users will answer questions like "Should public art provoke discussion or look pretty?" and "Who do you think pays for the public artwork?"

The responses will be saved anonymously and later published on a website dedicated to the project, said Rebecca Hackemann, the artist.

"There's not much discussion about the details of public art, and what it means and why it's there," she said. "There isn't much of a feedback loop for the public to say, 'we want this or we don't want this.'"

The solar-powered phone device includes a speaker, ear piece, and a built-in screen that will ask a series of yes or no questions, in addtition to queries over the phone.

The installation will be on display in the Greenstreet at Jackson Avenue and 46th Avenue, in front of MoMA PS1 until May 2. Then, it will be moved to the Private Sonsire Triangle in Williamsburg until May 17, according to the Parks Department's "Art in the Parks" program.

The city is planning to erect another sculpture nearby, called "The Sunbather," which residents have criticized for its bright pink color and led a local elected official to call for more community input on public artworks.

More recently, controversy arose over a plan to install a 500-foot-long metal canopy over Madison Square Park that residents worried would block sunlight.

"The Public Utteraton Machine" is sponsored by New York Foundation for the Arts, and Hackemann is also raising funds to station the piece in other neighborhoods around the city.

"New York is such an art town," she said. "[But] we don't hear much about public art unless it's offensive."