This book compiles the best of Beth Lilly's ongoing cell phone camera art project where she trades photos for secret questions.
I have a contract with German fine art book publishers Kehrer Verlag to publish a compilation of photographic pieces from my performance art project, "The Oracle @ WiFi". I started this project over four years ago as a way to use cell phones cameras to connect directly with individuals and really interact with them in the creation of photography based art. I engaged the public by offering to "tell fortunes" - making photographs in exchange for callers' questions.
MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT
I was really excited that cell phones made it possible for me to make and email a photograph to anyone in the world. I created a system of divination as the reason for an interaction. People can call me on scheduled days with a question that they initially keep secret and I make three images for them wherever I happen to be at the time. I email them their images and they reply back revealing their question. I pair the text with the images and post on my blog, The Oracle @ WiFi. When I first began the project, I sent out emails to everyone I knew, offering my services as oracle (thank you Jessica Handler for the title for the project). I took calls monthly for three years, took a break and now I'm continuing the project but on a quarterly basis. Soon after I started the project, most of the calls were coming from complete strangers and after a year, I was getting calls from international locations. The project has had broad appeal, generating reviews and interviews in print, on-line magazines and blogs.
THIS SHOULD BE A BOOK
When I first started the project, I really thought the images would have little if no relation to the images, probably nonsense. Instead, I found the images usually implied a definite response to the question. With attittude! Left to chance, the combinations are unpredictable, unusual, and at times absolutely hilarious, like a conversation with a really catty but witty friend. Other times, the combinations are thought provoking or provocative, raising more questions than answering. It's always a surprise.
And that's why I thought the project lends itself as a book. Each "reading" tells a story that is different for every person who reads it. Interpretation is subjective - every individual will have different associations with a photo depending on their personal experiences. It that way, it is a book where the narrative constantly changes.
The people at Kehrer Verlag have enthusiastically agreed to publish a collection of the readings. However, due to the high production costs of photography books, it's hard to sell enough volume for earnings to cover costs and make a profit. So it has become common practice in the industry for the artist to bring funds to the table.
My husband and I are contributing as much as we can and we're trying to raise the remaining $12,000 through Kickstarter. I've never charged for the readings -- I always saw it as a real collaboration. So now I am hoping that project participants and people who love the project will collaborate with me on the production of the book, chipping in on the costs to make the book a reality.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.