barbara claussen | art

Modern Monoliths


In this piece I was concerned with the role of language in constructing hierarchies of power. The phone booth, originally designed for private conversations in public places, became a repository for dialogue between dominant and subservient parties within systems.

Inside each booth three different voices articulated three ways that power has been historically perpetuated: force, reward, and persuasion. These three methods of establishing and maintaining power were distilled into slogans and accompanied by a fourth subversive, whispered voice. They were short, catchy and repeated over and over again, playing into the nature of propaganda, advertising and political slogans designed to convince the public of a supposed truth. The counterplay between the dominant and subservient forces reflected the power struggles that accompany conflicts or tensions at the intersection of public and private space.