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Arts InSight

WATCH: Pay Phones Re-Appear As Third-Ward Time Capsules

The nearly obsolete devices have been re-purposed as interactive historical markers.


The pay phone has become a kind of urban artifact. Virtually a whole generation has never even used one. But in Houston's Third Ward, a group of artists with support from Project Row Houses has collaborated to install three decommissioned payphones that have been turned into audio time capsules, which contain snippets of spoken history, music, and ambient field recordings captured at significant locations in the neighborhood. No coins needed, just pick up the receiver and follow the instuctions. The solar-powered phones — collectively called TréPhonos — have been installed indefinitely, and they're located at Wolf's Pawnshop on Emancipation Avenue; at Crumbville Tx., at Elgin and Emancipation, and at Shape Community Center on Live Oak.

This segment aired as part of the program Arts InSight, on Friday, September 14, 8:30pm, on Houston Public Media – TV 8.

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Troy Schulze

Troy Schulze

Producer, Houston Matters

Troy Schulze is a producer for Houston Matters. He also produces the podcast Party Politics and the digital video series Skyline Sessions. Schulze has been working as a writer and producer in digital media for over 20 years. He has received three Emmy nominations for his work on the TV...

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