Victoria Vesna: Cellular Trans_Actions (2001)

Equally on-site & online
Pushing some boundaries
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“Telephones, with their rich social history arguably continue to be the most ubiquitous communication technology used by humans. With the introduction of cellular phones, established analogue, centralized systems have been most visibly fragmented and many social environments have been changing in radical ways. […..] With no social protocols for cell phone use in public spaces established, constant sounds of interruptions have become a daily collective performance, whether we are using the phones or responding to someone in close proximity receiving a call.”

Victoria Vesna (via n0 time)

Cellular Trans_Actions is a performance/talk created by Victoria Vesna. The performance centres on mobile phone conversations between members of the audience carried out in real-time during the performance, streamed live and finally archived for later use.

Much of the content of the performance is left to chance — dependent on the size of the audience and the number of audience members who choose to leave their cellphones on. Through its context-dependent and chance-driven nature, Cellular Trans_Actions also exposes the differences that emerge across geographical locations, cultures, and languages. In a 2001 performance, the audience was asked to discuss issues around the September 11th attack on the World Trade Centre. They were encouraged to speak to each other in their native language, leaving the artist out of the conversation.

Cellular Trans_Actions exhibits a medium level of hybridity. While the performance can be watched online remotely, the interactive part takes place exclusively on-site.

The performance involves a series of one-on-one conversations between members of the audience. The audience are encouraged to engage with each other on a specific topic, and express their views on that topic based on their cultural background. In this way, the discussion is not led by the artist but led by the audience, allowing for a deep connection between callers.


  • Artist/creator: Victoria Vesna