Photograph: Martin John Callanan
Martin John Callanan is currently showing a new piece entitled The International Directory of Fictitious Telephone Numbers in Extimacy, at the Museu d'Art Modern i Contemporani, Palma.
With rigourous visual austerity the piece consists of a book of telephone numbers lying open on a nondescript table, next to an equally neutral telephone. The phone automatically dials numbers, with the key notes, the dialling tones and subsequent automated messages played out on the handset's speaker.
Callanan describes the content of the book as follows:
The International Directory of Fictitious Telephone Numbers. That's a title that brings about an instant vortex of images I can't quite see – their speed and variety and the worlds they cause to collide are more numerous than I can count. Borges is there, with his garden of forking paths, as is Auster's country of last things and Kobo Abe's man with a box over his head, the panels of which are covered in scribbles and notes and intractable drawings. At the same time, the fact that these numbers are ringfenced for TV and film use instantly fills every inch of the piece with a thousand filmed moments and the conjured worlds they occurred in – everything from Hawai Five-O and Le Miel et les Abeilles to psychological thrillers, Del Boy and a great part of Christian Marclay's early output. There's always a missed call, an unknown number, the stalker breathing down the line. This mental rush meets a clinical dead-end in the physical appearance of the piece, in its utterly and purposefully emptied aesthetic and the repetition of numbers upon numbers, key notes after key notes, ringtones that cannot waver from their reduced synthetic voice/oscillator palette.
Watch and listen a little bit here: