A soft light pours out of the phonebooth onto the adjacent sidewalk. As you approach, you hear that familiar ringing. Even if you grew up with cell phones you know that sound…Someone is calling. Do you stop? Do you look inside? Do you answer?
You pick up the receiver and the ringing stops. The voice on the other end draws you into a philosophical discussion as poignant today as it was in 1725 when Immanuel Kant first wrote his essay on Perpetual Peace.
Unfortunately, the concept of a lasting peace remains a philosophical construct. The invasion of Ukraine has the potential to escalate across the globe as Putin threatens, “Whoever tries to stand in our way should know Russia’s response will be immediate and lead you to consequences you have never encountered in your history.”
An icon of communication, the public payphone was almost exclusively used to make outbound calls. The incoming call reflects a fundamental reframing of peace; “working for peace to end the war,” rather than “escalating the war to win the peace.” The latter policy being neither sustainable nor winnable.
About the Artist:
Mike Salisbury combines politics and pop‐art with sculpture and street art installations that engage his audience in the social issues of our time. His phonebooth series uses abandoned payphones as a metaphor for connection and disconnection. Mike’s fine art practice includes public sculpture, land art, street art, two‐dimensional works and video art.
Prior to earning his BLA at the University of Guelph and a career designing natural playgrounds, Mike studied at the Toronto School of Art in the late 1980’s and founded the Toronto Student Art Gallery located in the Annex neighbourhood of Toronto. As a result of the pandemic Mike re‐evaluated his priorities and transitioned to full time artist in 2021.
Salisbury has been exhibited internationally and has participated in group shows, solo exhibitions as well as several juried exhibitions. He gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ontario Arts Council. His sculptures and two‐dimensional artworks are held in private collections and he is represented by the Oeno Gallery.