You can literally slide into someone’s DMs at a warehouse space in Denver’s River North Art District. An experiential pop-up called #Phonetopia takes abstract digital actions like “dodging notifications” and makes them real in a series of fun interactive vignettes designed to get attention on social media.
Created by Visible, a discount phone service company owned by Verizon, #Phonetopia is a free event running November 7th through 24th, 2019. Individual rooms within the bright blue warehouse space are intended to convey different aspects of our smartphones and how we interact with them. When you walk in, you’re given a card to use throughout the installation to engage in the interactive exhibits, pose for photos, and send texts.
The experience starts with the Notification Obstacle Course, in which you’ll have to physically push notifications like Facebook likes out of your way and dodge incoming “texts from exes” before sliding straight down into a pit full of giant foam Ds and Ms. Then you’re off to the Contentorium, where you’ll find an LED #Content wall, a “Duckface” tub full of rubber duckies to pose with, and other prime selfie opportunities.
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The SMS Arcade lets you play various phone-themed games to win emoji-shaped prizes and earn a place on a scoreboard. The Airplane Mode Lounge, on the other hand, marks a break from the fun, offering a quiet space to learn more about Visible’s service (which is, of course, sort of the whole point of the installation).
But there’s more to the event series than these tongue-in-cheek exhibits. Big name musical artists will also be granting free live performances to the first 200 people to RSVP to each show, including Haim, French Montana, Maggie Rogers, and one heck of a closing act: multi-Grammy-award-winning country star Kacey Musgraves, who will play on November 23rd. Other draws include dance parties with local DJs, yoga classes, and interactive mural painting demonstrations. There are still some acts and events with slots open, and you can RSVP on the Visible Phonetopia site.
As you can imagine, it’s all engineered for max social sharing. Could you possibly slide into a pit of DMs without taking a video and posting it as a story on Facebook or Instagram? Visible has already proven to be a pro at this, previously hosting a fake phone repair pop-up shop in New York that turned out to be a surprise Lizzo concert. The company also placed nine fake storefronts on vacant buildings all over the country with ‘404 Store Not Found’ boldly painted across the facades in a clever bit of viral marketing.
Visible provides phone service in an app for $40/month on Verizon’s 4G LTE Network, offering unlimited data, messages, and minutes for a single flat fee (and no contract). The service aims to cut out the “nonsense” and extras you don’t need, and you can make the bill even lower with “Party Pay,” a way to split your bill with friends without losing control over your own account. The company claims it saves money by eliminating stores and sales associates (with experts standing by online) and passing it on to customers.