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Joe Sweeney's Brexit-themed phone box set to open in Dungeness

People will say their goodbyes to the European Union today as a BT-style phone box sculpture is set to open.

Called '+44 Leave a message for Europe', the work by Joe Sweeney, is an interactive digital installation in Dungeness lasting 28 days in the run up to Brexit.

He said: "I have chosen this as a point of focus about how I want to open up the conversation about the Brexit process as we leave the European Union, which is on March 29.

"I felt there was a lack of people speaking, it's important to archive this important part of history. I think a lot of online stuff goes completely un-archived and it' going to be completely undocumented."

"The human voice is the most powerful form of communication, in which tonality is key.

"By recording messages for Europe, I want to capture the humanity of the general public, and the voices that I feel have been lost to the debate surrounding Brexit."

The sculpture on the beach is designed to act as a beacon and encourage public participation, he added.

Inspired by a 1990s phone box, Mr Sweeney believes its location is significant, as the UK’s most south-easterly point and located in Britain’s only desert.

Mr Sweeney added: “By installing a familiar object – a phone box – and displacing at the ‘end of the world’, I hope to create a physical and poetic metaphor for the current, confused and uncertain, climate.

The Brexit phone booth. Credit: Cob Gallery (7460237)
The Brexit phone booth. Credit: Cob Gallery (7460237)

"Dungeness itself is a place in fragile equilibrium - industrial and wild creating an oxymoronic harmony that, in many ways, stands as the perfect prism through which to view the modern ages.”

The sculpture will be exposed to natural elements that will cause the untreated metallic components to naturally age and rust as a physical record of its environment.

Messages can only be left by visiting the website leaveamessage4europe.com, which can be done while stood in front of the sculpture.

The project is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and in partnership with Cob Gallery.

A live stream of the sculpture will also be broadcast during March.

The audio archive will become part of a time-based media piece, documenting the 28 day-long project, which will be exhibited with Cob Gallery in London later this year.


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