Prairie Modernist Noir: The Disappearance of the Manitoba Telephone Booth (2018)
Prairie Modernist Noir: The Disappearance of the Manitoba Telephone Booth
15 October 2018
edition of 250
This artist book was published as a document of a performance lecture produced in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name, which took place at PLATFORM centre for photographic + digital arts from 16 November to 07 December, 2018
In rural Manitoba the telephone booth is often the only mid-century modernist structure in the landscape. A building that only one person stands inside will someday seem quaint, if not bewildering. The life of these structures is not only a matter of architectural history. They played a significant role in pop culture and symbolically, in their day, as emblems of modern technology.
Prairie Modernist Noir: The Disappearance of the Manitoba Telephone Booth is an exhibition and bookwork that poetically and visually explores and documents the meaning, history, and architecture of the Manitoba telephone booth. Randolph spent six months exploring the province and photographing the last of Manitoba’s telephone booths with an old obsolete iPhone. Notably, MTS itself has also recently become obsolete, with Bell’s takeover of MTS in early 2017. For the exhibition, Randolph turns these images into a ghostly projection that speaks to the disappearance of these structures.
The accompanying bookwork will be a memorial to rural Manitoba telephone booths as vacant, derelict or obsolete buildings. As with Randolph’s other image/text publications, the captions will convey meditations upon the images of these endangered booths, with attention to the environment of the booths, information and/or psychological musing, stories, and imaginative insight. When none are left, this vivid artist book will be an important contribution to Manitoba’s history of technology in the 20th century.
Jeanne Randolph is one of Canada's foremost cultural theorists. She is the author of the influential book Psychoanalysis & Synchronized Swimming (1991) as well as Symbolization and Its Discontents (1997), Why Stoics Box (2003), and Ethics of Luxury (2007). Dr. Randolph is also known as an engaging lecturer and performance artist. In universities and galleries across Canada, England, Australia, and Spain, she has spoken on topics ranging from the aesthetics of Barbie to the philosophy of Wittgenstein.