King’s Cross Phone-In

Phone-InThe King’s Cross Phone-In was a co-ordinated effort by British artist Heath Bunting to disrupt the everyday routine of King’s Cross railway station. Bunting utilized various newsgroups and emails lists to distribute instructions for the event staged on August 5th, 1994.

The content of the message included the telephone numbers for over 30 public phones located in the King’s Cross station. Participants came from all over the world, and they were advised to call these numbers in a premeditated manner, whether methodical or chaotic. Bunting suggested that participants could also show up during the event, answering phone calls and chatting with those on the other end of the line.

@ kings xphone inRELEASE

During the day of Friday 5th August 1994
the telephone booth area behind the destination board
at kings X British Rail station will be borrowed
and used for a temporary cybercafe.

It would be good to concentrate activity around 18:00 GMT,
but play as you will.

TELEPHONE Nos.

0171 278 2207 ………………….. 0171 387 1736
0171 278 2208 ………………….. 0171 387 1756
0171 837 6028 ………………….. 0171 387 1823
0171 837 5193 ………………….. 0171 278 2179
0171 837 6417 ………………….. 0171 278 2163
0171 278 4290 ………………….. 0171 278 2083
0171 837 1034 ………………….. 0171 387 1362
0171 837 7959 ………………….. 0171 278 2017
0171 837 1644 ………………….. 0171 387 1569
0171 837 7234 ………………….. 0171 387 1526
0171 837 1481 ………………….. 0171 387 1587
0171 837 0867 ………………….. 0171 837 0298
0171 278 7259 ………………….. 0171 837 0399
0171 278 2502 ………………….. 0171 837 1768
0171 278 2501 ………………….. 0171 387 1398
0171 278 2275 ………………….. 0171 837 3758
0171 278 2217 ………………….. 0171 837 0933
0171 278 2260 ………………….. 0171 837 0499
Please do any combination of the following:

(1) call no./nos. and let the phone ring a short while and then hang up
(2) call these nos. in some kind of pattern
(the nos. are listed as a floor plan of the booth)
(3) call and have a chat with an expectant or unexpectant person
(4) go to Kings X station watch public reaction/answer the phones and chat
(5) do something different

This event will be publicised worldwide

I will write a report stating that:
(1) no body rang
(2) a massive techno crowd assembled and danced to the sound of ringing telephones
(3) something unexpected happened

No refreshments will be provided/please bring pack lunch

heath@cybercafe.org

What resulted was an explosion of phone calls in the railway station. The melody and intermittant timing of the calls filling the air with spontaneous noise. People caught unaware at the time were faced with the choice to ignore the activity or participate. Strangers talked with one another and were brought together by the event. For that short period of time King’s Cross railway station became a stage, and passersby became performers.

Using the (then new) internet, and telephone networks in this way is an example of culture jamming that was ahead of its time. It is a beautiful social orchestration to bring awareness to humanity and the burgeoning layers of communication we live together by.

Photo extracted from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/26903640@N02/2524624568/in/photostream/

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