Still On Hold Hotline
How to Participate:
Beth Krebs, Still On Hold
Call (408) 283-8155
Since shelter-in-place orders, the ICA San José’s staff have been working from home and unable to answer the office phones. In the spirit of embracing new challenges and reimagining ways to experience art, we invited Oakland-based artist Beth Krebs to take over our voicemail box as an uncommon art space for uncommon times. This program is part of the ongoing ICA San José series PSA (Practice Safe Art) – programs and exhibitions that keep us connected while experienced at a distance.
Still on Hold is an interactive sound project by Beth Krebs that brings together the looping internal thoughts of a large group of voices. Whether it’s a pop song, advertising jingle, mantra, or worry, the things that circle in our heads often do so in private. Sharing them offers a glimpse of what we absorb, consciously or unconsciously, from our environment (consumer culture, politics, media, advice), and the ways we cope with the world or try to escape from it. The longing to connect across isolation, which motivated this project, has grown all the more acute during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The phrases are excerpted from a large pool of interviews recorded by Beth Krebs in different regions of the US (New York, Bay Area, Memphis, and New Orleans) before the pandemic, and from virtual interviews since it began. The hotline will continue to evolve as Krebs folds in recordings from callers who leave a voicemail message.
How to listen and participate:
To experience Still on Hold, call the ICA’s office number at (408) 283-8155. A friendly voice greeting will lead you through the project. Listen closely to your options and enjoy. If you leave a voicemail message concerning thoughts that have been repeating in your mind, Krebs will likely fold your recording into the project at a later date.
About the Artist:
Beth Krebs’ work champions faith against the odds. She explores this subject, with humor and empathy, in a multidisciplinary practice that includes installations, sculptures, videos, sound, and participatory projects. A graduate of the MFA program at Rutgers University, Beth has exhibited her work in New York City, San Francisco and abroad, and has been awarded residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Crosstown Arts, and the Bemis Center. She is a recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA grant, and was awarded a grant to fund an installation at an architecture museum in Germany. In 2018, she completed a fellowship at the San Francisco dump (Recology). She lives and works in Oakland, California.
The artist would like to thank the Joan Mitchell Center and Crosstown Arts for supporting the development of this project, and to the many people who have generously participated.