R15N (2011-2012), is a an artwork in the form of an experimental phone service which attempts to generate local community enagement and communication. Unlike typical social networks where communication is self-selected into circles of friends, R15N works through the co-operation of randomly selected people.
The system was inspired by the fact that many residents of communities where social movements are active have infrequent internet access and little or no calling credit. R15N implements a variation on the “Random Phone Call” broadcast model to enable a community to share information by having the system call people and connect them to each other on the phone, creating an ad-hoc phone tree.
R15N arbitrarily determines who in the community will be responsible for passing on a message. Every member thus eventually becomes engaged in a real conversation with another, and this engenders cohesion and complicity.
The R15N system gets the message out without the need for community members to have lists of people to contact. The R15N system makes all the calls – members just receive them. This is especially useful for movements operating in underprivileged or peripheral communities. Since incoming phone calls are free in most countries, all that is needed to participate is a working phone. R15N motivates community members to talk to one another by providing them with a format to convey messages personally.
www.r15n.net or +33 1 44 78 94 53
Dmytri Kleiner: Venture Communist, creator of miscommunication technologies, including deadSwap, Thimbl and R15N. Author of the "Telekommunist Manifesto".
Baruch Gottlieb is a media artist exploring navigable fiction and documentary. He is currently artist-researcher-in-residence at the Institute of Time-Based Media at the University of Arts, Berlin. Author of “Gratitude for Technology” (Atropos Press).