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Artists against mobile phones – smartphone-free events are coming back

Posted August 1, 2016

Mobile phones are fairly new in our everyday lives. However, they have been with us long enough for an entire generation to grow up with them and for us to forget how we used to spend time without them. Not everyone is happy about crowds of people walking around staring to their screens emptily all the time, which is why several companies are now offering solutions.

People recording performances of the artists is only part of the issue. Image credit: Gyrostat via Wikimedia, CC-BY-SA 4.0

People recording performances of the artists is only part of the issue. Image credit: Gyrostat via Wikimedia, CC-BY-SA 4.0

One of them is consumer electronics company, Yondr, which distributes lockable pouches to lock your phone when you are entering a specific event. For example, all the viewers of Alicia Keys show in the Highline Ballroom, in New York, earlier this year had to put their phones in these pouches and could only unlock them when they exited the venue by tapping on a metal disc located at the main door. This creates a space without social networks, unnecessary phone checking, taking a video no one ever is going to watch. For some separating from the phone for a couple of hours is painful, but Yondr says it is actually quite relieving.

Furthermore, Yondr’s pouches were employed by such artists as The Lumineers, Guns N Roses, Louis CK and Dave Chappelle and many more objected the use of smartphones during their performances. It is likely that the list of artists is going to grow even more as people seem to be unable to disconnect from their phones at least for the time of the show. Associate Professor Brett Hutchins, from the Monash University, said: “The problem is a failure to reflect on the impact of smartphone and tablet use in particular social situations. It is necessary to think about and discuss the ways mobile media connect and disconnect people to differing degrees and in different ways”.

Professor Hutchins also noted that even phone manufacturers are thinking of the ways to stop the use of the smartphones when it is not necessary. For example, Apple is searching for ways to disable phone’s camera at certain events. So problem is widely known and the solutions like Yondr’s pouches are slowly coming. Question is – are you prepared to leave your phone alone and to engage with your suroundings more?


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