"Sacrificing Job to Art, Manners", Canadian Press Writer,
The Vancouver Province
reporting on the exhibition "Laughing"
Les Newman figures his job, as a telephone market researcher is probably
history as soon as his bosses hear what he’s done.
But the fledgling artist is willing to sacrifice his steady paycheque if it proves his point that those who call and question strangers are people, too.
His artwork is called “All the Phone Numbers of Rude Assholes Who Tried to Make Me Feel like Shit While I Tried to Make a Living As a Telephone Market Researcher in October 1998.”
It consists of a neatly printed list of 121 actual phone numbers he collected during one month on the job.
The piece, one of 10 that make up Laughing, an exhibition at Winnipeg’s Plug-In Gallery, also includes a working phone so that viewers can call those on the list and exact a bit of revenge.
“Listening to some of the calls (people have made from the gallery to the culprits) makes me think it was probably a bit of overkill on the poetic justice,” says Newman, 26.
“But I don’t know what it is about people when they get on the phone. You can tell by the inflection in their voice that they’re good people, but then they’re talking about cutting off your testicles and cramming them down your throat, and I’m not even selling anything.”
Two people whose numbers were listed listed in the exhibit admit they’re not crazy about calls from market researchers, but insist they try to be understanding.
“We’re never rude to them,” says Marcel Beaudet. “I just don’t like the time they call. We’re working eight hours a day, and sometimes it’s nice to come home and not get phone calls.”
“I just hate when they phone you and say, ‘How are you today?’ I know they don’t care,” says Phylis McAteer.
“But I know they’re just trying to do their job.”