Virtual Art
By Jeff Goldman, Mon Jun 11 00:00:00 GMT 2001

Using the latest mobile technology, artists are finding new ways to explore the nature of interaction, deception, and reality itself.

There are some pretty unique things being done with mobile phones these days, and we're not talking Mission Impossible ringtones.

In Scotland's new National Park at Loch Lomond, artists Fiddian Warman and Siobhan Hapaska have embedded a series of SMS interfaces into trees, modernizing and commenting on the tradition of carving lovers' names into tree trunks.

In a gallery in London, Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead have covered an entire wall with mobile phones - next to the phones is a list of telephone numbers. Visitors who dial the numbers start a chain reaction of call forwarding between the phones on the wall, which sets off a virtual symphony of harmonic beeping.

Artists have always explored the edges of traditional media, and mobile technology is no exception. If art exists to make us more aware of the world around us, the art being created with mobile phones these days tells us a lot.

But first, the furry phone.

Me and my phone

What's the most fundamental marriage of art and functionality in wireless technology? Well, PDAs, phones and pagers are everywhere these days, and they all start out looking pretty much the same. To add a sense of personal flair to that technology, customized phone covers are taking off on a global scale.

In the US, the market's pretty much limited to Nokia customers, who can go to Jeff Goldman is a freelance writer covering a wide range of topics for a number of online journals. He currently writes regular articles for's ISP-Planet. Brought up in Belgium, Jeff spent the last decade in New York, Chicago and London; he now lives in Los Angeles.