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Why a fake phone is on display in a German art museum

The NoPhone gets a celebration.


Dylan Love


Posted on May 11, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 8:59 pm CDT

The NoPhone, a smartphone-shaped piece of plastic that falls somewhere between gag gift and therapeutic device, is presently on display in Germany’s Museum Angewandte Kunst.

The crowdfunded product was meant to encourage people to disconnect from their personal technology more often. The “technology-free alternative to constant hand-to-phone contact” invites you to savor a non-digital life thanks to a phone-shaped thing you can carry around in lieu of the real thing. This simple pitch was good enough to raise a thoroughly ironic $18,000 and at least a few questions about how we engage with our gadgets.


The Museum Angewandte Kunst’s exhibition will explore phone culture by way of photo, video, installation, and even street art. Artists like Aram Bartholl and Kyle Bean will be on display, and nestled right next to them will be one of the most incisive commentary products in recent memory.

“I’m not sure if the NoPhone should be in an art gallery, but I do think people would enjoy art more if they left their smartphones at home,” said NoPhone co-founder Van Gould via email. “The NoPhone is still in NoDevelopment, but there are a couple TV opportunities that might be coming up for the NoPhone. We’ll see what happens.”

Photo via Van Gould/NoPhone

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*First Published: May 11, 2015, 4:04 pm CDT