Stories From the Block by: 6 Degrees

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Our plan is to turn a recently retired Telus phone booth into a recording booth, and place it in a fixed location on #thecREativeRealm 'Block Two' located between 4th and 5th Street on 17th Avenue SW. Calgarians will be encouraged to visit the booth, and record their own “17th Avenue Story”. We’ll collect these recordings, and will edit and weave them together into one large story, or create an episodic / thematic series of stories. The stories will be shared via social media and radio as a final legacy piece. We were successful in obtaining a Telus phone booth to use as our base structure. We picked it up on May 25th, and we’re currently housing it at Six Degrees. It’s in good condition, and still includes the telephone. Visually, the booth will need to look enticing and inviting. We’ve enlisted the help of daniel j. kirk, who will assist us with designing and painting the structure. We’ll “make it our own”, so that it’s obviously NOT a typical phone booth - and we’ll remove any Telus logos or colouring. Our booth has a square “telephone” sign on top of it – which is a rarity we’re excited about – and we’d like to turn it into a lit-up “6 Degrees” logo to attract attention.

The existing telephone will be converted into a recording device. Our plan is to install a microphone, and storage device into the phone box. In order to record their stories, visitors will pick up the phone receiver and speak into it. Our hope is that the familiarity of speaking 2 of 9 into a telephone will put the visitor at ease, and encourage them to share. The material will be collected on SD cards, and we’ll collect / upload it at 6 Degrees every few days. When the visitor picks up the phone, they’ll hear a pre-recorded audio introduction. We can have up to 5 different pieces of audio that play back at random or in sequence, which will allow us to randomize the introduction, and keep things fresh.

The introduction will welcome the visitor, encourage them to share their story, and remind them of the 2-minute cutoff: “Hey! 6 Degrees Here – what’s your story? You have 2 minutes” “Hi there! 6 Degrees wants to know your story – and remember you’ve got 2 minutes” Each recording will be capped at 2 minutes. This will help us to avoid someone leaving the phone “off the hook”. If the visitor would like to continue their story after 2 minutes, they can pick up the receiver and begin again.

Our plan is to collect stories over a 3-week period, or 21 hours of material, whichever comes first. (We want to limit collection length to 21 hours, so we are able to give each story the attention / listening it deserves). Once we’ve reviewed the material, we’ll create our final legacy piece. This will be an assembly of many stories woven together, or perhaps a few shorter pieces organized thematically – we’d like the material to inspire our direction. We’ll experiment with original music, and the addition of an underscore to help bring the stories to life. We’ll launch a simple website or twitter account, which will drum up visitors to the booth, anticipation for the release of the stories, and will ultimately host the final audio. We’d like to launch a social media campaign that shows photos (or drawings) of people with a telephone 3 of 9 receiver and chord, plugged into the outside wall of a business, 17th Avenue landmark, bench, etc. It’ll look like someone’s calling into the business or landmark itself, with a caption describing a piece of the story they’re sharing.

Daniel Kirk