Because Election 2016 seems to have upturned just about everything else this year, it is now set to wreak havoc on Thanksgiving. We are a staunchly divided electorate that will be briefly united over stuffing and cranberry sauce this week — and it’s going to make for a lot of highly uncomfortable holiday conversations. Is it “alt-right” or “neo-Nazi”? Pass the yams.
So the timing couldn’t be better for the phone line art project “Not at the Dinner Table,” an artist-created voicemail that allows participants to “leave a message to that person in your life whose views and opinions you really don’t agree with.”
All you have to do is dial a phone number: (386) 951-3320.
So instead of telling your belligerent uncle everything you’re feeling about the election, get it all off your chest by simply leaving a message for the artists instead. Or, if you’re feeling shy, you can listen to a selection of the best messages.
The piece was created by the art duo Jeff&Gordon — artists Jeff Foye and Gordon Winiemko, who are based in Rhode Island and Southern California, respectively.
“It’s about that speech that people refrain from getting into at the dinner table,” says Winiemko. “It’s for someone you maybe mostly agree with, but there is this point of contention that is maybe better left unsaid.”
The piece was first launched in 2013 as a sound art project for 323 Projects. But this year it takes on special resonance given the acrimonious nature of the election. (Things have been so tense, people have been getting disinvited from Thanksgiving dinners.)
“Now more than ever, we may all need to be actually talking to each other,” says Winiemko. “This line can serve as a rehearsal or practice.”
It also winks to our country’s previous electoral problems, namely the recount held during the 2000 presidential election. That 386 area code?
“That’s in Volusia County, Fla.,” says Winiemko, “which is a home of the hanging chad.”
Where: Dial (386) 951-3320 to hear messages or leave one.
When: Through Jan. 1
Find me on Twitter @cmonstah.