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'Brexit' phone booth at The Pilot Inn, Dungeness, on Romney Marsh receives hundreds of calls

Politicians and fashion designers are just some of the people leaving messages on Dungeness' 'Brexit phone line'.

Artist Joe Sweeney's interactive digital installation, titled '+44 Leave a message for Europe', was installed in March in the lead up to Britain's planned exit from the European Union.

It sits in the pub garden at The Pilot Inn, and was designed to open up the conversation about the Brexit process, giving callers a chance to share their feelings about it without interruption or judgement.

The 'Brexit' phone box in Dungeness. Photo: Dan Glasser, courtesy of the Artist Joe Sweeney and Cob Gallery. (8409884)
The 'Brexit' phone box in Dungeness. Photo: Dan Glasser, courtesy of the Artist Joe Sweeney and Cob Gallery. (8409884)

More than 200 people have now recorded messages - including Green MP Caroline Lucas, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood.

In her recorded message Ms Westwood calls Brexit a 'crime' and calls for the government to 'cancel it'.

Caroline Lucas says: "Europe I want to say thank you. You've pushed the UK forward on worker's rights, social and environmental protections and given us the remarkable gift of free movement.

"And for all its flaws the European Union is the greatest international venture for peace, prosperity and freedom in history."

She adds that the EU 'isn't perfect' and that it 'must give the people a voice'.

Listen: Caroline Lucas and Vivienne Westwood leave a message for Europe

Although messages are not directly recorded in the phone box it is designed to act as a beacon encouraging public participation.

Instead messages can be left by visiting the website leaveamessage4europe.com, which can be done while stood in front of the sculpture or from anywhere with a wifi or mobile connection.

One person who hasn't left a message yet is The Pilot's general manager Rob Miaoulis.

He said: "It is a good talking point, and has brought a few extra people down to the pub.

"It is an interesting idea and makes people think."

Designer Joe Sweeney hoped the project would showcase the public's hopes and fears about the situation that lies ahead.

He said: "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.

"I believe this archive has an important role to play in our understanding of this moment as we experience it now, and when looking back in the future."

The Pilot at Dungeness. Credit: Google Maps (8432388)
The Pilot at Dungeness. Credit: Google Maps (8432388)

During its time at Dungeness - the only dessert in the country - 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.

And Mr Sweeney believes the location of the 1990s inspired phone box, is significant, as the UK’s most south-easterly point.

He said: "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.

"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.”

Watch: Joe Sweeney discusses his art project

The project, which was supported using funding from National Lottery through Arts Council England and in partnership with Cob Gallery, was due to be removed on March 29 - the UK's original leave date.

But as that date is pushed further back, the phone box has received its own extension.

A spokesman from the Cob Gallery said: "We are extending it until further notice - or until the Brexit date is formalised, and messages can be continued to be left via www.leaveamessage4europe.com.

"Once the Brexit day has passed, the message archive will remain open and accessible, forming a sort of time capsule to this pivotal moment."


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