Hello? A Requiem for the Telephone

Martín Kohan



These days, the telephone feels almost obsolete. It used to be the primary means by which people communicated, and that was its sole purpose, but now it has mutated (from ‘land line’ to ‘smartphone’) from having a single function to playing many different roles: taking photos and films, sending audio messages, and surfing the internet. But not so much to chat any more.

The ritual of the telephone conversation begins with a ‘Hello?’ The connection must be checked several times; before the conversation proper begins we must be sure that the channel is working well. It’s as though a lingering spark of amazement at the device’s very existence still pops up during every call and answer, as though every telephone conversation must be preceded with an act of homage to this modern wonder, which we’ve never quite got over: the ability to talk to someone else across a significant distance.   Martín Kohan



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