PDA

View Full Version : phone booth in the woods



Pickleodeon
10-17-2010, 15:55
Has anyone else heard about this? There's a phone booth in the middle of the woods.

I stole this post from a gun forum that my boyfriend reads and he told me to check it out. Here's the thread if you'd like to see what the gun community thinks about it. I'm interested to hear what this hiking community thinks about...

http://sigforum.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/320601935/m/2310031722/p/1

Some hikers on a local hiking forum have recently discovered a phone booth located in the middle of the wilderness. There is a message located in the "phone book" from the people who placed the phone booth there. I find it intriguing and I'm wondering what you think about it. After the pictures is the full text of the message found in the phone book.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4132/5018531433_c6490e5b74_b.jpg

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4083/5018530913_9c39488a0e_b.jpg

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4088/5018530661_0e04a80da6_b.jpg

We chose a semi-remote and beautiful Cascade peak, previously unnamed, on top of which we installed a ĺ length, pedestal profile, US West blue telephone booth. The summit is precipitous, above a tarn and alpine cirque, affording views of Rainier and the mountain village below. Yet it is lower than it's grander neighbors, giving it a certain humility. The climb is non-technical, making it accessible to anyone, but far from a trail and thus obscured from all but the intentional shrine-seeker. It can even be visited in winter with back-country skis.

The immediate response will be to the comic and absurd in the arrangement: how did this (very large!) object get here? Why? Can we place a call? Quickly deeper questions emerge: what is wilderness? How quickly are obsolete technologies forgotten? What is trash, what is sculpture? Can this be an object both of irreverence towards mountain convention and one of reverence to the mountain spirits themselves? What do solitude and isolation mean in this era of hyper-connectivity? (Most hikers encountering the phone booth will indeed have a cell phone in their pockets.) The view of the ski resort and I-90 below provides a provocative backdrop for the wilderness peak, the juxtaposition of civilization and alpine echoed in both sculpture and view.

Another response will be one of offense, especially from hikers for whom the American wilderness ideal has become orthodoxy. Starting with Thoreau and continuing with Muir, the wilderness became a place of divinity, for encountering the sublime. It is set apart from civilization, which is tainted by man, the two forming a duality: fallen society and pure nature. We either dominate and exploit the earth, or try to preserve it in its untouched form; in this system there is no in-between mode of interaction with nature. Emerging amid a society that was rampantly extracting resources from recently conquered nature, this movement did lead to the important conservation of wild lands. As a gesture of respect to this tradition, we made sure the peak was only in the National Forest (which is rife with logging, mining, ski resorts etc), and not in the protected Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area (see the detailed Green Trails "207S Snoqualmie Pass Gateway" map).

However, the absolutism of the "leave no trace" ethic has become blinding for some hikers and any alteration of the wilderness is now seen as an affront to its holiness, their zealotry targeting climbers rappel anchors, elegant rock wind-walls at campsites, and certainly phone booth installations. In fact, taken to a logical extreme, the mere presence of a human in the natural scene, on the conceptual level, destroys it, creating an inherent contradiction in the hikerís wilderness trip. Meanwhile, the pockets of nature within cities and suburbs are often disregarded and not cherished for possessing the same essential beauty that the wilderness has. (These ideas of duality are explored in depth by William Cronon "The Trouble With Wilderness", 1996). The phone booth then serves to poke playfully at this strict interpretation of the leave-no-trace philosophy, encouraging a more nuanced vision of nature which these offended hikers can ponder as they drive home in Subarus on a six lane highway down a heavily logged valley.

A question emerges: What is this more nuanced and holistic concept of wilderness that the phone booth proposes? How, considering the material of urban refuse and the violation of wilderness convention, can it be seen as a shrine, a space for mountain worship? In fact the original inspiration for the project came from the nature concepts of East Asia which disassemble the duality between civilization and wilderness, seeing harmonious inter-penetration of the two as the only complete vision of the world. Nature without any presence of man is devoid of meaning, civilization without presence of nature is equally out of balance. On Chinese holy mountains, a tasteful bridge, a winding trail, or an elegant temple shows a respectful relationship between man and nature. Itís an interaction which neither tries to conquer nor preserve untouched, but rather seeks to revere and subtly beautify the natural world, altering it but not exploiting it. Meanwhile Chinese city parks and gardens celebrate the spirit of nature, building replica mountains, lakes and winding paths. This allows for humans to participate in the creation of wilderness and for nature to participate in civilization Ė the mutual interaction provides both a sense of truly belonging in the midst of the other.

For our personal relationship with nature, in this East Asian mode, we wanted to choose a spiritual installation which artistically and humbly adds to the mountain scene, yet rings true as a motif of our own times. Christian icons of the past have lost their meaning for much of our society and many of our peers turn to foreign religious traditions which still retain a sense of their profundity, like yoga or Buddhism. We could have used similar borrowing for our mountain art, making a Himalayan-style cairn or stringing up Tibetan prayer flags. Yet something pulled us towards a re-casting of an object direct from the heart of the current culture of progress, materialism and hyper-connectivity. This way, the assertion of spirituality is not an act of escapism, fleeing to a wholly different system, but rather a response to the system in which we find ourselves, using its own materials to propose a new attitude. A phone booth evokes connectivity and communication not only with other people and eras but, in the alpine context, with the voices of the mountains; an oracle of both of changing society and changeless nature.

Ultimately, in an era of hybridized and re-imagined cultures, we can more and more create our own systems of meaning. Any space can be holy if we regard it as holy, nature can be found both in urban alleys or on remote peaks. So for those who seek such an experience, the phone booth shrine can sincerely be a space for communing with mountain spirits or for meditation on harmonious interaction with the forces of nature. For others it can be seen just as a playful sculpture and a celebration of paradox. For some, it will be political commentary, relevant to our urgent dialogue on nature and environmentalism. The only curatorial directive is that it not be seen as a mere thoughtless prank. Indeed all art should be thought-provoking and perspective-shifting at its core; this project has been that for its creators and, it is hoped, will be that for all visitors.

Seattle, August 9th, 2010

some photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/m...t-72157624896208341/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/montressor/5019136122/in/set-72157624896208341/)

(Feel free to copy or reprint any portion of this statement).

emerald
10-17-2010, 16:39
A Photoshopped troll phone doesn't strike me as anywhere near as profane as an actual toll phone in real space. I don't see the effort as particularly artful or provocative, but I get the point if it's intended to be anything more.

bus
10-17-2010, 19:13
http://www.callawaygraphicdesign.com/images/phonebooth.jpg

Here's another one for you

TrailSquirrel
10-17-2010, 19:39
http://www.callawaygraphicdesign.com/images/phonebooth.jpg

Here's another one for you

:):):):):):):):)

Danielsen
10-17-2010, 19:51
If it's real, I have to admit the idea echoes many of my own feelings when interacting with wilderness. I would further question the entire idea of a duality between man and nature. Sitting at the top of a hill yesterday at sunrise, looking out across miles of autumn-colored trees towards Lake Erie and the City of Buffalo, its distant buildings reflecting the rising sun in tones of gold and orange not unlike the leaves of the trees, I found myself wondering how we could regard these human constructions as any less natural than a prarie dog town, or an anthill, or a colony of bacteria. Prarie dogs do what prarie dogs do, ants do what ants do, bacteria do what bacteria do, and... people do what people do.

Granted, we have set up an unsustainable pattern of resource consumption and population growth. But this is a natural pattern as well, which we see whenever a species finds itself with a relative lack of the usual limiting factors like predators, they expand out of control. Eventually, they exceed the carrying capacity of their environment and the population crashes. Homo Sapiens is headed that way. One can hope that we might globally come to recognize the issue and cooperate to voluntarily and intentionally "crash" our population, and afterwards transition into a more sustainable model of civilization. I fear that humanity's track record indicates that such a solution is unlikely to come about, however. Ah well, such is the impartiality of nature. Denying our part in it (through perceptions of human/nature duality) only makes it less likely for us to recognize the pattern and take action accordingly.

Anyways, if it is just a photoshop job (and I have to say, it looks a bit sketchy), then I really wish it were real. Bold efforts to make a statement like that, even in cases where I strongly disagree with the message, are something that I always find at least a little inspirational.

restless
10-17-2010, 19:59
If it is real, what's the point? Most people have a cell phone with them.

4eyedbuzzard
10-17-2010, 20:27
Maybe photoshopped, maybe not. Regardless, phone booths are hard wired and I don't see any signs of overhead wires or trenching for underground ones.
I think they are just going for the artistic effect. A basket of fruit would have done just as well . . .

Danielsen
10-17-2010, 20:32
Restless and 4eyedbuzzard, did you read the phonebook message? I'd think it answered your questions/speculations pretty well.

4eyedbuzzard
10-17-2010, 20:58
Restless and 4eyedbuzzard, did you read the phonebook message? I'd think it answered your questions/speculations pretty well.
I reread it. Honestly, I enjoy art and artistic expression. This still strikes me more of something we would have done as a senior prank back in the '70's than "art". In the end, it's simply a preexisting piece of technology that was carried up a hill and planted for artistic / visual shock to make a statement about man's relationship with nature. Yawn. Now, if they had made it a working phone, with cell service, solar cells, batteries, etc, I'd be a lot more impressed with their ingenuity , but still not their art. But otherwise, it's honestly pointless and boring.

LIhikers
10-17-2010, 22:17
Doctor Who?

Jonnycat
10-17-2010, 22:29
http://img833.imageshack.us/img833/5162/tomn.jpg

Danielsen
10-17-2010, 23:49
I reread it. Honestly, I enjoy art and artistic expression. This still strikes me more of something we would have done as a senior prank back in the '70's than "art". In the end, it's simply a preexisting piece of technology that was carried up a hill and planted for artistic / visual shock to make a statement about man's relationship with nature. Yawn. Now, if they had made it a working phone, with cell service, solar cells, batteries, etc, I'd be a lot more impressed with their ingenuity , but still not their art. But otherwise, it's honestly pointless and boring.

There are probably conflicting schools of thought on this, but I feel that information on the piece's intent, as in the message in the phonebook, which was obviously meant to be read by viewers, does impart a different meaning to it. If there were no information on the idea behind the piece, I very well might feel similarly about it to how you do, but I certainly think the creator's intent affects its meaning and level of interest.

No doubt some feel that a piece of art should stand on its own to convey meaning or else be considered pointless, but I tend to feel there's room for different approaches.

sbhikes
10-18-2010, 14:00
'Shopped! Obviously.

beakerman
10-18-2010, 14:25
http://img833.imageshack.us/img833/5162/tomn.jpg

We had a sales guy that looked and dresed exactly like this...I still have his phone number listed as Dr Who....

weary
10-18-2010, 15:18
If it's real, I have to admit the idea echoes many of my own feelings when interacting with wilderness. I would further question the entire idea of a duality between man and nature. Sitting at the top of a hill yesterday at sunrise, looking out across miles of autumn-colored trees towards Lake Erie and the City of Buffalo, its distant buildings reflecting the rising sun in tones of gold and orange not unlike the leaves of the trees, I found myself wondering how we could regard these human constructions as any less natural than a prarie dog town, or an anthill, or a colony of bacteria. Prarie dogs do what prarie dogs do, ants do what ants do, bacteria do what bacteria do, and... people do what people do. ......
There's beauty in some human endeavors and beauty in nature. Even, occasionally, when the two are combined.

But that doesn't mean that we should not nurture and fight to protect purely natural views -- or nearly natural views -- where possible.

From time to time on a variety of issues I read posts that argue in effect, "why not this or that development, "other parts of the trail are worse. Why should Maine be different?."

The answer, of course, is that unlike much of the trail, Maine is relatively unspoiled, we should fight to preserve such a rare accident of history.

We have musems to preserve art and history, why not natural museums to preserve uncivilized landscapes.

Weary www.matlt.org

Roland
10-18-2010, 16:05
Has anyone else heard about this? There's a phone booth in the middle of the woods.



It appears there may be witnesses (http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?p=657134).

Odd Man Out
10-18-2010, 20:48
Anyone recall the final scene of the movie "Waking Ned Devine"?

Pony
10-18-2010, 21:32
Anyone recall the final scene of the movie "Waking Ned Devine"?

HA. Great movie, the old bag got what she deserved. Just thinking about that movie makes me want a pint or six of Guinness.

10-K
10-18-2010, 21:51
There *was* a phone booth in the Mojave desert for real - google it, or visit http://themojavephonebooth.com/news.

TrailSquirrel
10-18-2010, 23:35
'Shopped! Obviously.

I don't think it is photoshopped.

The Old Fhart
10-19-2010, 13:02
I think it is a real photo.
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4084/5096695357_cb6d1d49c5_b.jpg

WalkinHome
10-20-2010, 10:57
Not a chance it is real (regardless of the new dog LOL). Way to clean and the handset and phone book are still in evidence plus no graffiti.

mweinstone
10-20-2010, 11:28
google desert megaphone.

Luddite
10-20-2010, 12:05
Whoever made this picture must think payphones don't exist in places like that. They do.
I've used one in the shadow of half dome.



http://img512.imageshack.us/img512/5182/22857109665ba020e766m.jpg (http://img512.imageshack.us/i/22857109665ba020e766m.jpg/)

rusty075
10-20-2010, 12:36
It is quite real, and not just a photoshop exercise. I'm not sure if that makes it more or less stupid, but it is in fact a real non-working phone booth. The threads on NWHikers.net (http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7986222&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0) include a variety of user photos (http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/download.php?id=4954327493_92f9e4c266&p=644761), and trip reports (http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?p=656879), including directions on how to get there yourself.

Luddite
10-20-2010, 12:38
Even the trees surrounding the phone booth look photoshopped. If it is real how come nobody has vandalized it yet?

weary
10-20-2010, 13:55
I don't believe in vandalizing, but I routinely carry out junk that I find in the woods. And if they are too heavy or bulky to easily carry, I just hide them out of sight.

My suggestion is that if anyone actually sees such a monstrosity, to gently hide it behind the nearest line of trees.

The booth essentially is unusable trash, deposited by vandals.

Weary

rusty075
10-20-2010, 16:48
Even the trees surrounding the phone booth look photoshopped. If it is real how come nobody has vandalized it yet?

It's only been there since August, and it requires 2000' in vertical gain from the nearest trail to get to it. Vandals rarely seem to willing to work that hard.

chief
10-20-2010, 21:24
It's only been there since August, and it requires 2000' in vertical gain from the nearest trail to get to it. Vandals rarely seem to willing to work that hard.Very fine line separating "back country art" and "back country vandalism". Neither work that hard!

I think it's a farce anyway.