By Nicole Barreras

Project Description

My project is called ‘Cannection’, a word play between cans and connections. In this project, the user will be presented with a machine that resembles an antique telephone booth but instead of a telephone there will be a can, to reference the playful two tin cans and a string way of communication. The booth will also have a keypad and a list of numbers that the user will call and, depending on which one they choose, the user will dial the number and pick up the can as if to make a phone call. Once the ring goes through, the user will be presented with various audio clips (depending on the dialed number) by various individuals with different emotional connections behind them. This will also prompt ambiance lighting to turn on.

The main purpose of this project is to provoke happiness and a momentary escape in the person listening to the audio clips. Connections with other humans, ranging from family, partners, friends or even distant coworkers are an important thing to be reminded of and be exposed to, specially while and after we are in quarantine.


Nicole Barreras is a Bronx based Dominican-American artist, laboratory technician and adjunct professor who specializes in creating work within the digital realm. She is a CUNY Lehman College graduate with a degree in Computer Graphics and Imaging. Her main artistic focus is centered around the synergy of art, popular culture, and the media.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. G-man

    I really enjoyed this project and what it has evolved into. The concept of hearing reassuring messages from a contraption that harkens back to our childhood games of communication mixed with old fashioned structures and aesthetics, works well, even in the pun title. I know the cardboard and tape version is just a dummy prototype, but i actually like that rendition too, as it fits the kids game motif well and could actually be an interesting way of presenting the project, if made more sturdy, but maintained that look and feel. I see in this 4 representations of phone, from the tin can with string to the antique phone, which would have had a rotary dial, to the rugged touch tone button phone, represented here both in the keypad but also in the dialtone and touchtone sounds and the last would be the digital phone, with call waiting and memory etc. all of which require an LCD display. I like this hybrid phone collage as a device to listen: it is already comforting before we even get to hear the words of comfort.
    The virtual version works well. Good clear design, well modelled and simple to use. The animation of the cup and the sounds are all that is needed to enhance the image and take us into your piece as participants and the words people have to share with us are interesting and make you want to hear the others.
    I did find a couple of glitches but probably easily fixed. One is that it doesn’t work the first time you try either mode: like the first time you dial a bad number it gives you a dial tone, then rings twice, but then nothing (no sound, no hangup animation). Same for the first time you dial a correct number. The second time you do either seems to kick that component into action and it works fine from then, so I think you probably need a loadbang in there to preload your video to hang up or to play the playlist (or change the order so that happens before it is banged to play). The second glitch happens if you are in full screen mode (which I’m guessing it wasn’t made for) the first time you get the number right, the frame jumps over to the left a bit then the background starts to animate and that background doesn’t fill the screen, has a white bar right and bottom.
    I also like the idea that you can expand this project as you collect more audio clips, though you’d have to come up with a different way of displaying what numbers can be dialled: maybe a phonebook you can flip through.

  2. Mark Araujo

    This is really cool, I love how simple and effective it is, anybody can quickly interact and get a whole world out of it. The variety and breadth of the stories is great, it really lets the participant have multiple experiences in one go, or come back and experience something new, over and over again. Your digital rendition is very cool, your technical skills shine!

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