Surrender Control

SMS project

Images: © Tim Etchells

Surrender Control is an interactive work comprising an escalating sequence of text message instructions delivered direct to the mobile phones of individual users. Participants subscribe to the project by sending a message to a particular number and from that point on receive a certain number of text message instructions over a specified time period (for example – 75 instructions over 5 days). Responding to the intimate context of the mobile phone and of SMS as a form of communication, Surrender Control invites the user into an evolving game of textual suggestions, provocations and dares.

The instructions that participants in the project receive vary enormously: Some are orders to think about particular topics; some are invitations to look at the world in a particular way; others order action, demanding that participants behave in particular ways or carry out particular tasks. Receiving these instructions directly to their phones in real time, as they go about their lives and work in different locations, participants in Surrender Control experience the intervention of the project in a ‘place’ most commonly occupied by friends, family or lovers.

Commissioned by Kirklees Media Centre. First presented at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London.

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