Cover video by Alexandria Hall



Rachel Mannheimer: “the 'I' wasn’t solely my own”

I loved seeing how this process, unfolding over the summer, incorporated history as it happened, how the “collect call” came to reflect an urgent call to collectivity. I had been unsure about writing in my usual semi-autobiographical mode for this semi-collaborative project. But art is always semi-collaborative, a relationship between artist and reader/viewer/listener, a message received and interpreted. The “I” of a poem is always transformed in the transmission of it, and the Tele- process made that visible. The fact that, immediately, in Elisa Garcia de la Huerta’s gorgeous piece, that feeling of broke up was there expressed on another’s face-—already the “I” wasn’t solely my own. (And I loved Erin Marie Lynch’s statement about, in turn, meeting and adopting Elisa’s gaze… So forward we go!)

Elisa Garcia de la Huerta: “I was surprised with the results”

I loved the experience and I was surprised with the results. I love the versatility of mediums and how pertinent the format was for creating something collectively during the pandemic.

Erin Marie Lynch: “Collections, as in unpaid debt, and Call, as in vocation, as in My Call.”

I have never placed a collect call and am unsure how to go about doing so. Google tells me that “People also ask”: Are collect calls still a thing?

Are they? On the intersection by my apartment building stands the shell of a payphone—just the outer part. The phone itself has been long since removed.

In my mind, the phrase-—“collect call”-—splinters into its two separate words, two separate concepts. Collections, as in unpaid debt, and Call, as in vocation, as in My Call. Both of these, if I ignore them long enough, can cease to feel real.

On the other hand, I remember suddenly, collect calls are still placed every single day in America, most notably by its prison inmates.

As of 2017, my mobile phone provider (Verizon Wireless) no longer supports collect calls.

Josh Urban Davis: “humming through each call like voices in the background on the other line.”

One thing I've noticed flipping through the various pieces in succession is the presence of "background noise". Elements and concerns clearly prevalent in each of the artists lives faintly humming through each call like voices in the background on the other line. The transmission from artist to artist rings loud and clear as the message is passed along. Yet as the call continues, snatches of the surrounding world slip through the line. Something about a plague, and revolt pulse in the background noise. There's bodies on the end of each of these calls that share a world where bodies are in turmoil, now, more than ever.

Kate Doyle: “fathers and mothers surface, fade away, then surface again”

This collaborative process was fascinating to be part of, and I was particularly struck by reading Matthew Anderson’s artist statement about his film. Given the differences between our two mediums—-and having, by design, no access to each other’s thoughts on the process or intentions until the issue was complete—-it was remarkable to see that we were reckoning with so many of the the same questions and doubts, and thrilling to discover that these intangibles were transmitted through the process. Similarly, across several pieces in the issue, I was struck by the way fathers and mothers surface, fade away, then surface again—generational divides functioning as a place where we work out what we believe in and what we reject. It made me think of one of the questions posed to us at the start of this process, which I had jotted down early on: "What survives (and in what form)?”

Greer Pester: “the grandeur of multi-angled experiences”

I feel the grandeur of multi-angled experiences of a "Collect call" but also how the events of these specific times have affected this selection of artists from various contexts in similar and familiar, human, pensive, tactile, sensual, and heart-ache-full ways. I feel a diverse unitedness, multi-experiential, connected by intimate creative threads, flowing out as various calls; private and public, cherished reveals, and collective tingles.

Previous  |  Contents  |  Next