Maine artists included in international Telephone project

More than 950 artists from across the world are creating original, interconnected artworks in a global game of Telephone.

The online, interactive exhibition is scheduled to launch in April, and several Maine artists will participate.

On its surface, Telephone is simple. Based on the children’s game, a message is “whispered” from art form to art form. Each artist receives a work and translates the message into their own art form. The original message could become poetry, then music, then film, and so on, evolving as it passes from form to form. Artists are only aware of the work of art that directly preceded their own.

When an artist returns his or her interpretive work, we then “whisper” it to two or three other artists. Instead of progressing in a straight line, this game of Telephone branches out exponentially like a family tree. Halfway through the game, the method is reversed and several works are assigned to a single artist to synthesize. The game begins with a single message, is passed through approximately 1,000 artists, and concludes with a single work of art.

The entire collection of original, interconnected works will be kept secret until it is simultaneously published for free as an interactive, digital exhibition in the spring.

Launched at the first peak of the pandemic, Telephone was a way to intimately connect isolated artists from cities and nations all over the globe.

The project has engaged a vast range of artists, from Guggenheim Fellows and Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award winners to emerging artists, from the elderly to the very young, from professors to students, from bedroom studios in Mexico and Iran to workshops in Rio de Janeiro and London and Hong Kong.

In its final form as a free online exhibition, will not only be a collection of 900-plus individual works of art, but a single work of art created by hundreds and hundreds of artists, most of them strangers to each other, from all across the Earth. 

Maine is well represented with poetry, music, painting, photography and dance. Participating Maine artists include Wes Covey (music), Cate Wnek (photography), Erin Covey-Smith, Ann Tracy (painting), Amy Bellezza (photography), William Hessian (drawing), Jessie Laurita-Spanglet (dance), Meg Willing (poetry), Arielle Greenberg (poetry), Sarah Haskell (painting), Laura McCandish (prose) and Annie Kloppenberg (dance).

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