It all began a few years ago when I got a really rude sms from my ex husband. For some reason I couldn’t delete that message or any of the other ones I received after that, both from him and others. During one year I saved all the text messages I received on my mobile phone, c. 4000 totally. When I printed and read them all, I realized it was like a reverse diary.

At the same time the 3G networks needed to be built in Sweden and people were protesting out loud. They didn’t want to have the masts nearby their homes and they thought they ruined the landscape. So, here I was, thinking about what to do with all my text messages, if anything. Maybe a book with photographs? I took my car and drove out from the city and saw the masts. They were many and everywhere and I thought they looked powerful. And I thought, they are obviously a part of our landscape. They are our contemporary landscape. I just wonder why they have to look alike. If they can’t have different shapes, couldn’t they at least have different colours?

The other night I was sitting at a bar here in Gothenburg and looking both at people passing by and the ones sitting inside. I saw mobile phones. The ones passing by were either talking or writing messages. If not that, they were holding the phones in their hands, ready to answer immediately. It was the same with the guests inside. I saw lots of mobile phones lying on the tables, couples eating dinner together while the partner was talking to someone else, e.g. being more or less absent in that present. That’s when I thought about it – totems or totem poles. We rely on our mobiles, we count on them, and we believe in them almost as if we worshipped them, we even expect small miracles from them. The 3G-masts, our mobile network providers, are our contemporary totem poles.

© Sarianna Metsähuone 2006