The phone box will be accessible 24/7, Source: Schauspielhaus theatre

Phone box in Graz turned into a hotline against hate

Phone box in Graz turned into a hotline against hate

The phone answers hate with quotes from famous literary works, with the aim of giving listeners a pause

Last week, a new art piece opened in Graz, Austria – a phone box hotline against hate. The phone box will be placed next to the Schauspielhaus theatre and will offer passers-by a chance to examine their own relationship with hate.

The era of the phone box is almost over now with the integration of mobile phones into society. The obsolete technology has, however, found a new purpose in life as a cultural icon. Neighbouring Germany for instance decided to compactly phase out all phone boxes in the country by 2025.

After 142 years in service, Deutsche Telekom turned off service to the boxes in January 2023. At the same time, the company is selling them to anyone who would take them. And people do, turning them into novelty bookcases and many other items.

A hotline against hate

The hotline against hate will be available 24/7. Once inside, people will find an old-style phonebook, though instead of numbers, they will see a comprehensive list of hate with numbers they can call. According to an official statement, the list will feature different types of hate: hate for parents, hate towards YouTube video trends, and hate towards Brussels sprouts.

When people dial up the number, they will be greeted with a citation from one of the plays currently on in the Schauspielhaus theatre like Moliere’sMisanthrope’ or Herman Melville’s 'Moby Dick'. The hotline has 52 unique answers read by ensemble actors in the theatre.

phone box

The interior of the Phone Box against hate, Source: Schauspielhaus theatre 

According to the creator theatre director Elena Bakirova, the booth is a response to the rise in loathing in society, around the pandemic. As she puts it, phones used to be a source of genuine communication between people who would not be able to otherwise see each other and have not turned into outrage machines. The hotline against hate is supposed to give people pause and a chance to reflect.



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