Welcome to 2014, a year in which taking selfies and photos of your food are the norm, and real-life social interactions are becoming less popular in comparison to electronic instant messaging. We live in an era where our cellphones are no longer just accessories, but are fast becoming appendages to our daily routine, where checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp every 15 minutes have become the norm.
Earlier this month, social artist Julien F. Thomas constructed a makeshift coffee shop in Vancouver, Canada called Faraday Café that essentially blocks cellphone signals, turning your mobile phone into an almost useless brick. The shop was enclosed in a Faraday Cage (from which the coffee shop got its name) which made it impossible for those inside to communicate to the outside world via any electronic devices. This means that anyone inside the cafe would be unable to make calls or Instagram their coffee foam art.
The two-week exhibit (now closed) was set up as an attempt to get people to start talking to each other again and trying to get them away from the lifestyle of constantly checking for new updates on their social networks. You can still take pictures, but for many, it’s no fun if you can’t upload it while you’re “in the moment”, unless you’re fine with a #latergram post.
Thomas said he wanted to create a space where people could get away from the fast-paced world of technology and enjoy a mental break. But wasn’t that what a coffee shop was mainly set up for in the first place? He also wanted to encourage discussions about technology and how people use it, and what the world would miss the most if the Internet suddenly disappeared (among other things).
It’s definitely a great concept because many humans’ social skills have become rather rusty thanks to instant messaging and social media, but it’s unlikely that this type of implementation would catch on since there’d still need to be room for those emergency phone calls or messages.
With that in mind, can you survive a trip to the coffee shop without looking at your phone once? Or better yet, could you survive going without your phone for 24 hours? Let’s hear your take on the matter in the comments below.
[Images: Cafe YVR]