Telephone is a collaborative, interactive art project that uses the structure of the American children's game "telephone," in which a message is whispered around a circle, as a platform to explore & celebrate the concept of communication. In my telephone game however, the messages are not whispers, but works of art, design, writing, music, movement, and video, passed artist-to-artist in emails sent around the world. 

- How does the game work?- 

Each Telephone "season," players are gathered from around the world by secret invitation and curated into "telephone lines." Each line is a grouping of artists matched by similar artistic inspiration, creative process, or compatible personalities and life experiences. Most begin as strangers, and are almost always working in different art mediums and based in different countries.

Telephone I, 2016

53 Players from 10 different countries

Telephone II, 2017-2018

60 Players from 14 different countries

- The Cafe Telephone Process -

Throughout the development of Telephone, the community is structured by weekly check-ins to the whole group which include emails, social media updates, creative thinking challenges, and "Studio Visit" interviews with artists in the game. The game is dependent on the energy and involvement of its players and develops uniquely each season, based on how people share, open up, and use Telephone to connect with each other. 

The community also uses Instagram as a platform, with players connecting and imagining Cafe Telephone through their individual posts and updates. 

Often the community takes form in real life, with players meeting in person, becoming friends and collaborators, and even opening their studios around the world to the global network built through the game!

At the end of the game, artists mail their pieces to wherever Cafe Telephone is being hosted (both the Telephone I and II shows were held in a private artist loft in downtown Manhattan), and the entire game is curated into a multimedia pop-up art event.

Above is a sample of the type of work that has been created in Telephones I and II. The players in Telephone are only given one week to respond to the art they have received before they pass the secret message along. As a result, the art produced is always playful, experimental, and process-based!

Wanna play? 

wanna play?

Telephone season is over for the year (2018), but thank you SO MUCH to all 60 of my Telephone II players and to the beautiful community that we built through the project! 

I will continue to add and update the blog below so that viewers can get a closer look at the connections formed and the work and correspondence produced in each Telephone line.

Telephone II began in October 2017 and ended with a show in March 2018.

Until next time,

Your loving hostess

Meiying Thai

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Connect to the game by commenting on posts, following the process through Instagram on #cafetelephone or emailing me below!

If you are an artist interested in playing a future game of Telephone, please email me with the subject "RING RING!" and tell me a little about yourself: Let me know where in the world you are from, why you want to play,  and attach a link to your website or portfolio so I can see what kind of work you make! 

Thanks! Message sent.

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