conception & performance

You Nakai


A: 2008. 5. 25 (4-5 am)

B: 2011.3.17 (7pm-0am)


A: Private Residence Party, Tokyo

B: Emergency Performance Party, The Invisible Dog Art Center, Brooklyn

Third Party Call


1835, "apparatus for signaling by musical notes" (devised by Sudré in 1828), from Fr. téléphone (c.1830), from télé- "far" + phone "sound". The electrical communication tool was first described in modern form by P.Reis (1861); developed by Bell, and so called by him from 1876. The verb is attested from 1878.


c.1290, "part, portion, side," from O.Fr. partie "a part, a party" (12c.), lit. "that which is divided," from fem. pp. of partir "to divide". Political sense of "side in a contest or dispute" evolved by 1300; meaning "a person" is from 1460. Sense of "gathering for social pleasure" is first found 1716, from general sense of persons gathered together (originally for some specific purpose, e.g. dinner party, hunting party).


c.1225, from O.Fr. persone "human being" (12c., Fr. personne), from L. persona "human being," originally "character in a drama, mask," possibly borrowed from Etruscan phersu "mask." This may be related to Gk. Persephone. (“The tragedies spoke in sonorous voices through the persona, or “masks,” which later are held to mean also per-sona or “by sound.”) Person-to-person first recorded 1919, originally of telephone calls.



At a party, the operator will casually chat with each person and obtain their phone numbers. Once all the phone numbers are obtained, the operator goes to another room.

part 1

Using the collected phone numbers, the operator calls people, one by one. Using that telephone as a microphone, and three other telephones as speakers to output sounds gathered from various sources on the telephone network, the operator mixes any combination of jingles, phone information, telephonic radio programs, telephone story lines, weather forecasts, and noise, to be heard by the solo listener on the other end of the line.

part 2 (variant a)

If the listener remains on the phone for a certain amount of time, they will suddenly be confronted with a voice. The voice will be of another person who, having also been called, will engage in a conversation with the listener. This second person will preferably be in another time zone (country), and will be an ignorant participant who doesn't know about the performance. The solo listener may engage in conversation or not. If they do, they turn into a solo performer for the other people at the party.

part 2 (variant b)

The second person will be another person in the same party, so that two solo listeners/performers, in the same room, are connected momentarily through the operator.


The piece ends when all the people at the party are called.


If the listener and/or speaker doesn't answer the phone, the voice-mail or answering machine will record the performance, leaving a record for the person to find out the next day.

| Tokyo, May 24, 2008 |

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