Neil Tetkowski is an artist who has worked primarily in clay since 1978 and has shown his work extensively in the United States and abroad. This piece, entitled Flip Phone, was created during the summer of 2013 and fired at Hunter College. As Neil tells it, that particular day the ventilation failed to work properly causing the NYC Fire Department to show up in full regalia to shut down the kiln. Luckily, Flip Phone was in the hottest part of the kiln and came out perfectly. The piece, with its relief impressions of pre-iPhone era mobile devices, including the iconic Blackberry, captures a specific moment in the evolution of technology, fossilizing their remains like some kind of harbinger of civilization's demise.
The installation is of two parts: The ceramic roundel hanging on the wall is paired with an empty glass vase. For the opening, guests were asked to leave their mobile devices on, yet to deposit them into the vase upon arrival. Separating people from their phones was a kind of performance art of its own, and during the course of the evening, as we talked about the meaning of flip phone and technology in general, the vase blinked, buzzed and rang, beautiful in its own way. (For more on the opening, visit our events blog.)
This piece will be on view at the Society for Domestic Museology until late Summer when it will travel to Dublin, Ireland to be on exhibit at the International Academy of Ceramics General Assembly in September.