Modern Art's Phonotel provides an opportunity for you to disconnect from the internet in your pocket in order to connect with the world around you. We’ve all gotten used to these small yet mighty screens, so it is quite useful to take a break and see what the tangible world around us has to offer. (Plus, these devices deserve some much needed time off.) Some of us are more dependent on our devices than others,  which is why the Phonotel gives visitors a framework to safely learn the valuable skill of phone independence.

The Phonotel experience begins with the lobby. Walk inside to experience a slightly strange space rendered familiar by common 3 to 4 star hotel accoutrements like a front desk, concierge service, guest lounge, and a health club of sorts. Most importantly, you will see a cabinet of small drawers. Each drawer is a tiny and uniquely furnished hotel room where phones can kick back and get some rest.  


To begin your check-in experience at the front desk, guest are invited to select from one of our many guest packages. Packages include special extras like a button to wear that lets people know that you are operating at a different pace than they might be; access to a concierge happy hour and morning continental breakfast, Phonotel programming including seminars like Map Reading for Beginners, The Importance of Eye Contact and Limber Up with Jenny!; use of the Phonotel health club; maps; the Phonotel Survival guide which includes funny yet practical tips on how to get by without your device; and a wooden dummy phone to keep with you for those trying times when you have weird phone urges and might need something to hold close to your face; Phonotel Tshirts; compasses; and handcrafted satellite Phonotels.

Each Phonotel guest receives a keychain with their room number. This is your pass to phone-free promotions around town from many community partners, ranging from discounts to free beer, ice cream, yoga poses and chocolates.


Are you a shutterbug and can’t bear the thought of separating from your device because it is part camera–fear not! In the lobby there are poloroid cameras for rent. With the camera you can enjoy the magic of carefully selecting photo-ops and the relief of being able to enjoy the moment instead of rushing to post the photograph to the world. What’s the rush? The world can wait. Or maybe keep it a secret (!)

Concerned that people are going to be trying to reach you? No worries, you can give everyone the Phonotel land-line number. The concierge will gladly take messages that you can retrieve at your convenience. Wondering how you would be able to retrieve your messages? Just use one of the handy maps of all the payphones in the area and grab a few quarters!


After you select your package and sign a waiver promising that you will not sue the Phonotel for any reason, you are given a list of rooms by name. Select your room by its name and grab your key! But wait, before you detach from your device, the bellhop will give you instructions on how to prepare yourself for you phoneless time.


Make yourself comfortable in the hotel lobby while you write down important numbers and addresses in your guidebook, text loved ones and upload a meme that tells everyone that you have checked into the Phonotel and how they can get in touch with you.


When you are ready the bellhop will guide you to your phone’s cozy room. Get that little device all snug like a little bug in there and head on over to the concierge.  


Voted Friendliest Concierge in Town, the concierge can help you with maps, instructions on how to use a payphone, dinner reservations, just about anything!


Now get out there and enjoy the world phone-free! Keep your guide book handy and don’t forget to sign the guest book upon your return!


“Loved it!”
- Beth Gresock, Pittsburgh, PA

“Fun time!”
- Michele Huey

“...The best moment of this project was when I literally lost time reading Crime and Punishment in the bathtub (drinking scotch). I adore y’all.”
-  Name illegible

“Our phones had the best time. Thank you for a wonderful experience. We rate you 5 stars on Google! Xxxooo!”
- Henrietta Heisler 

“Excited to be phone-free for a few hours!! What an inspired theme for a stressed out world. [smiley face] [heart]”
- Deborah Johnson

“I was lost, but in a good way!”
- Johnny Xcess

Looking for some Phonotel merch of your very own? Visit our shop for Tshirts, Satellite Phonotels, Survival Guides and more!