Afghan-American artist Aman Mojadidi remembers using phone booths long before cell phones came out. Inspired by all the stories that have been told through those phones throughout the years, Mojadidi teamed up with the Time Square Alliance and the Time Square Arts to bring them back, through an art installation entitled “Once Upon a Place.”
The phones are intended to open up the conversation about the issues of immigration. Each one has been converted into an audio player, loaded with 70 stories, each touching on the subjects of belonging and displacement. The tales are for everyone, and are available in a variety of languages. There’s even a ‘phonebook’ which contains information about immigrant communities.
This unexpected change in New York’s heart is sure to spark conversation, especially in the current political climate. American President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration policies have become a touchy subject for many. Through this project, Mojadidi brings these issues to the table instead of pretending they don’t exist. Mojadidi told Artnet News, “There’s so much going on in terms of raids and deportations, I couldn’t have asked for a better time for the project to have happened.”