This project was initially conceived by Matthew Lotti in 2005 so that the poetic fragments written during days when he was supposed to be "teaching" students in middle and high school would be transmitted via telephone to John Simone's Answering Machine - during select break periods, during lunch duty and, on occasion, during class time - and recorded as sound files on the computer.
Because the phone system at the school district does not provide the clearest connection - and the noise of the students in the background is hard to block out - the words in the poem fragments are sometimes garbled and hard to hear. With no hard copy of the fragments available - the scraps of paper with the pieces written on them were immediately disposed of in the schools - it isn't easy to decipher the entirety of the messages, although a portion of the calls share the themes of sexual desperation and anxiety over social acceptance.
Since the arts are either pushed aside or ignored altogether in public schools, the project can be viewed as a protest against the politics of the American education system as well as a statement about the potential distortion in the transmission of a 'message' from 'sender' to 'receiver' in this age of cell phones and endless communication.
|For a person's twenty-first birthday, twenty-one friends and acquaintances (along with inanimate objects) were asked to give this person a single piece of advice. The results range from the heartfelt to the trivial, from the wise to the downright harmful. As with all personalized gifts, only one copy was created and the original file was deleted.|
|Inspired by both a middle school student's science project on human physiology (and specifically, the human hands) and the deranged 'portrait' photographs by Austrian artist Arnulf Rainer, fifty images of "shame" were posted to the social networking site Instagram. The subjects - both human and non-human, drawings, paintings, stuffed animals, etc. - are all shown covering their faces with their hands, paws, arms, etc.|