Houston Chronicle: Why you're going to see pay phones along Emancipation Avenue in Houston

Full article by Craig Hlavaty


Pay phones have largely gone extinct, a relic of a time when we didn't have the world glued to our hands 24 hours a day. An art project on Houston's east end is bringing pay phones back on the block for a new educational purpose.

Project Row Houses' new "The TréPhonos" installation from art engineer Matt Fries, sculptor Julian Luna, and photographer and social sculpture artist Jeanette Degollado will see the placement of three pay phones along Emancipation Avenue, each with a special artistic twist. The goal of the project is to highlight the culture of Houston's Third Ward.

One pay phone ("TréMixTape") will play music recorded by local musicians from the neighborhood. A second phone ("TréSonic") will feature ambient noise and sounds with an option for those that interact with the installation to leave messages for one another. The third phone ("TréPhonos Sankofa") will be a collaborative project with area creatives and residents telling stories about the history of the neighborhood. All the phones will be solar-powered to boot.

Houston Press: Have You Heard? Something Magical is Happening in the Third Ward This Fall

Full article by Susie Tommaney


Psst. Have you heard? In a modern twist on an old telephone game, three magical pay phones with mysterious properties have popped up in Houston's Third Ward.

The magic isn't that they're free, though that part is cool. Walk up to one phone, press the handset to ear, push a button and voila: the unmistakable sound of a Third Ward rapper. Dubbed El Mix-Tape, this phone not only functions as a jukebox — with recordings by Brandon Willis, Jewetta Boney, T Lee, Blessed Child 100, Global Gospel's Stacey, Jalen Baker, Roderick Felder and J Free — but also allows the user to make a recording.

"The innards have been reprogrammed. Pop in an SD card and change the recordings," says Jeanette Degollado, one of the collaborators on this Project Row Houses public art installation. "One through nine is a different track or recording. The pound is record, the zero is playback. One can record their voice, rap music or speak over field recordings. The star is the colophon that thanks the sponsors and partners."