Date: 2001
Dimensions: entire interior of building
Media: metal and sound components

MTN is one of our leading mobile network suppliers. For their account they are also a sponsor of contemporary art. It was through this avenue that I was approached to propose in a pubic competition a pubic work of art for their building. It was a particularly horrible building. I would say, it was nasty.


It had a massive central atrium space, square, which went all the way up to the ceiling. The offices radiated in a square around the atrium space. Very little to redeem the blessed workers from an architectural perspective.


My work proposed a simple idea: I would create a massive antenna that was suspended from the ceiling of the building down the center of the atrium space. A series of rotating arms, each with a number of beautifully constructed speakers with all the function visible would radiate out from the central shaft.


There were three layers of arms radiating out to accompany the basement and the three floors. We then took thousands of cell phone conversations and imploded them into an overlaying sound track which was then played through the speakers as a muttering of thousands of voices, whispering every time the sculpture was put into motion. . In essence, it was a large scale mobile that was activated every time you phoned a specific mobile telephone number that was assigned to the work. If you phoned in the number, the work would be set into motion, it would capture your message and synthesize it into the thousands of other voices.


I must confess that I certainly was not in possession and still am not in possession of all the electronic know how used on the work. I simply had the idea.


I worked with a friend who was an electronics engineer who produced the electronic infrastructure for the work.


I believe the work has been taken down – some time ago – and never resurrected. A colleague of mine made three beautiful bronzes that stood in the atrium floor space downstairs. The CEO of the company did not feel that my work was actually sculpture and kept referencing the three figures downstairs whilst saying “That’s what I want”.



Andries Botha, February 2012