Satellite Collective Worldwide Game of TELEPHONE Now Available Online

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Michelle Tabnick
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Things to do near New York, NY » Art » Performing-Arts

More than 950 artists from 70 countries played a game of TELEPHONE, in which a message was passed from art form to art form. The message could become a poem, then a painting, then a film, then a dance, as it was passed 7,177,703 kilometers between 489 cities. An interactive, online exhibition of these hundreds of original, interconnected works debuted to the public for free on Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 9am EST at This particular game of TELEPHONE was started on March 23, 2020 and will be available after running for 383 days.

Only a handful of staff members know the original message of TELEPHONE. The participating artists are only aware of the work that directly preceded their own, and do not know how their own work was translated or further translated in subsequent. When TELEPHONE becomes publicly available, it will be the first time that any of the artists get to see the exhibition in full.

Satellite Collective ( incubated the first generation of Telephone with Nathan Langston, and partners now with TELEPHONE as a select group of artists from the game join the Satellite Collective Fellows. 


"It's amazing to come full circle," said Kevin Draper, Artistic Director, Satellite Collective. "Nathan launched the first Telephone game as a Satellite Program, working directly with us. TELEPHONE is one of our most successful incubations, and now we partner with them in an unexpected way: the Winter 2021 Satellite Fellows cohort, we're proud to say, was drawn from the TELEPHONE game."


Participants in TELEPHONE were primarily recruited by word-of-mouth, as well via various international message boards. Approximately 60% are based in the United States and approximately 65% are women. In terms of career, players range from Guggenheim Fellows to newly emerging artists, from high school students and elderly artists just developing their practices to Academy Award and Pulitzer Prize winners.


It's possible to consider TELEPHONE as a presentation of nearly 1,000 individual and original works of art. It's equally valid to view this exhibition as a single work of art by people from across the Earth. Regardless, the result is the largest data set of ekphrastic artistic exchange in history. Ekphrasis is the process of translation of one art form into another. This helps us better understand each art form, the neurological processes at work in translation, and how information is passed from person to person. The second half of the game employs synthesis, allowing us to study how artists combine multiple influences simultaneously.

Unlike the children's game (known elsewhere as Dengon, Teléfono Descompuesto, Operator, Głuchy Telefon, Stille Post, Telefon Shavur, and countless other names across the world), this TELEPHONE message was not whispered in a straight line. Each finished work was assigned to two or three other artists, so the game branched out exponentially like a family tree. Halfway through, the process was reversed, meaning that the game contracted exponentially so that TELEPHONE, which began with a single message, will be passed through almost 1,000 artists, and conclude with a single work of art.


This game was first played and published at a smaller scale in 2015 and launched in New York by Nathan Langston and Satellite Collective. As the pandemic began to worsen in the United States in March 2020, the time was right to pick it up again, with a new team in the Pacific Northwest. 


TELEPHONE requires no physical contact and intimately connects individuals in isolation. The project directly engaged with artists in hard-hit countries as the global crisis unfolded and, for decades to come, this exhibition will remain a poignant time capsule of what we have endured and overcome. 


Satellite Collective under Kevin Draper has focused on a select group of TELEPHONE artists, launching these Spring 2021 Fellows with the opening of Telephone this April. The Satellite Fellows program will expand from NYC to a national footprint in 2021.


The user interface of the online exhibition has been composed by professional UX designers and constructed by a talented engineering and development group. Visitors to TELEPHONE will be able to explore each work of art, from the original message to the final work, and then start over, choosing another of the hundreds of contiguous pathways through the exhibition. Each visitor will be supplied with a geographic map, as well as a game map to help them navigate through the structure of the game. The exhibition platform, designed and built from scratch, will seamlessly integrate more than 10,000 artist files.


The ten-member team behind the exhibition, most of whom have never met in person, are drawn from tech companies like Google, Microsoft, T-Mobile, Dropbox, and various academic institutions. By the end of the year-long project, it is expected that 10,000 hours will have gone into curating and presenting this exhibition and all of the staff are working for free. TELEPHONE will not generate revenue or profit and the entire cost of the project is $150. 




Katelyn Watkins is a writer, consultant, and project manager. She currently enjoys contributing to TELEPHONE as the Director of Operations. She has dual degrees in English and Feminist Studies with minors in Film and Philosophy from Southwestern University, as well as a masters distinction in Finance, Marketing, and Business from the Wharton School. In her spare time, she enjoys thread art, traveling, cooking, taking naps, and watching way too many movies. She was born in Lubbock, Texas to a ranching and rodeo family but now splits her time between Austin, Texas, and Worthing, Barbados. She is currently working on her first collection of short stories.


Matt Diehl is a software engineer and designer at Google, currently living in Jersey City. Before he lost his punk rock cred, he played guitar in a ukelele punk band, Paul Newman and the Ride Home. He has a lovely wife and dog who give him all the attention he needs during pandemics.


Ben Sarsgard is a software engineer in Baltimore and/or New York. He's cat dad to two beautiful girls, Josephine and Shadow, who he'd rather be talking to right now. He can often be found running in circles over and over again to train himself to be able to run in other circles over and over again, slightly faster. Ben enjoys coffee and red wine, but not mixed together.


Kelly Jones is currently living in the Piedmont of NC with their spouse and their 11 year old pit bull (Mr. Beaux Jangles). Kelly embraces all things glittery, loves manatees, and doesn't understand infinity. Lately they've been stress-baking, attempting to keep the houseplants alive, caring for a clowder of semi-stray cats, and daydreaming about summery things. They've got an MFA in Poetry and a Masters in Library and Information Studies, but no job. In the before times, they managed the Outreach & Education Department of a creative reuse non-profit. Sometimes they miss being a "trash art queen," but mostly they're glad to not be interacting with tons of people all the time.


Ramon M. Rodriguez is a UX/UI/Visual designer at HCL Technologies, currently living in the cozy neighborhood of Greenwood, a short 10 minute drive from downtown Seattle. Ramon and his wife Patty have two stubborn Pekingese dog's Sonic and Pepper.


Jennifer Spriggs is a designer living in Seattle. She often escapes to the mountains and islands on her bike and wishes she lived in the forest.


Sergio Rodriguez is a Graphic Designer that moved from Arizona to Seattle in 2012. He's enjoys riding his track bikes around all the steep hills in Seattle. He has a wonderful girlfriend and a beautiful little half Chihuahua half Boston terrier mix pup. Recently he has been wanting to make a career change to UX design and was brought onto the TELEPHONE game by his good buddy Ramon. Since being a part of TELEPHONE he has learned so much and enjoys being a part of an amazing team and is inspired by all the of amazing artists that are involved.


Madeline Hoak is an artist and academic who creates with, through and about circus. She is an Adjunct Professor of Aerial Arts at Pace University (NYC), an Associate Editor for Circus Talk, and a graduate student at New York University where she is designing a degree in Circus Studies with a focus on spectatorship. Madeline initiated the Aerial Acrobatics program at Muhlenberg College where she taught from 2012 - 2017, and is a regular contributor to Circus Syd's Circus Thinkers international reading group. Recent publications include "Teaching the Mind-Body: Integrating Knowledges through Circus Arts'' (with Alisan Funk, Dan Berkley), a chapter in Art as an Agent for Social Change (2020), and "expanding in(finite) between," a multimedia essay in Circus Thinkers: Reflections, 2020. Madeline is honored to be the Editor of TELEPHONE's critical essays.


Sean Tomas Redmond is an artist living in Austin, Texas. He has played in a wide variety of musical projects in Chicago, Austin, and Japan. Recently he has performed shows with artists including Mark Renner, Sean McCann, Sarah Davachi, and Future Museums. He is a designer, an amateur painter and photographer, and the former editor-in-chief of the arts publication fields magazine. You can listen to his music at


Nathan Langston is a poet and musician, who founded Satellite Collective together with Kevin Draper in New York. He created and led the first game of TELEPHONE with Satellite, which was begun in 2010 and published in 2015. He has toured with bands to almost all the states and works as a software designer. Nathan is a graduate of the University of Oregon, with a focus in literature and poetry, and lives in Seattle with his two boys.

Kevin Draper is an artist and writer, who founded Satellite Collective together with Nathan Langston. He leads the organization as Artistic Director. Kevin has worked with major corporations to advise on corporate strategy and led Satellite Collective to a unique position in the arts, one that is collective in structure, but able to incubate and spin off programs successfully in the arts.

Conceived by Nathan Langston in 2010, the first game of TELEPHONE, published in 2015 as an online exhibition, was an incubated project within Satellite Collective, a New York-based non-profit committed to originating and supporting interdisciplinary works of art. TELEPHONE draws inspiration from Das Glasperlenspiel by Hermann Hesse, the Black Mountain College, Bauhaus, the Fluxus movement, the Cadavre Exquis games played by the Surrealists as early as 1918. But the game structure can be traced back to at least 1827, known then as a European parlor game called Consequences, though it's almost certainly older than partly because the rules are so simple that there's little need to write them down and to leave a paper record. Today, TELEPHONE is known in almost every country on Earth and has a multitude of names. 



In a few short years, Satellite Collective has fearlessly styled multiple seasons of dance, music, film and word to their vision. Under the leadership of Kevin Draper, Satellite has launched young choreographers, composers, film makers, poets and artists with an uncanny sense of timing, tapping into an intense scene of NYC artists from New York City Ballet, Juilliard, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and Bowery Poetry Club. Satellite has bridged a global network of artists working in every medium from video games to installation and has fused pop music from members of The Lumineers, San Fermin and the song writing scenes in the Pacific Northwest into arresting short film and stage work. Always, with a stylish and confident manner, always with a vision.


Satellite believes in artists collaborating as equals, globally and virtually. They incubate performances, arts exchanges, and publications that allow artists to work together, because they believe that is the future. Founded in 2010, Satellite Collective has produced three evening-length ballets, four hours of original music, and two hours of original film, commissioned eight modern dance works, founded the arts publication Transmission, hosted five annual arts retreats, and launched both Telephone, which simultaneously published the interconnected works of 315 artists from 42 countries, and Satellite Press, a small independent press publishing emerging and established authors and poets.


Satellite is proud to have received support from BAM, Jerome Robbins Foundation, Frey Foundation, Nestle, SAP, 92Y, DeVos Institute of Arts Management, Brooklyn Arts Council and many others government, public and private supporters.


Satellite is a graduate of the 2015-16 BAM Professional Development Program in collaboration with the DeVos Institute of Arts Management.


To learn more about Satellite, visit:


To learn more about Artistic Director Kevin Draper, visit




Participating Artists


Azadeh Hussaini, Chicago

Dustin Hammond, Silver City

Olivia Pepper, Port Townsend 

SophieGalliers, Cardiff

Ebba Jahn, Berlin

Yekta Darvish, Tehran

Bob Holman, Manhattan

Roberto Bovolenta, Turin

Charles Schuster, Jakarta

Maggie Sharar, Seattle

Yulia Shtern, Verona

Charlie Clements, Los Angeles

Anna Puhakka, Sipoo

Kate Angus, New York

Shannon Perri, Austin

Froso Papadimitriou, Sitia

Chris Ivory, Washford

Casey Kelbaugh, Manhattan

Charlie Levine, San Jose

Lora Robertson, Fremont

Sharleene Olivier, Johannesburg

Emily Katz, Portland

Mariana Leal Dos Santos, Rio de Janeiro

Checa Barragán, Guadalajara

Ann Braunsteiner, Nelson

TJ Acena, Portland

Wes Covey, Freeport

Jeff Ferst, San Miguel de Allende

James Shenck, Chicago

Gabriel Bass, Bogota 

Tetsushi Higashino, Tokyo

Amy Ruppel, Portland

Denise Araripe, Rio de Janeiro

Stelth Ulvang, Denver

Julie Upmeyer, Isle of Anglesey

Matt Summers, Boston 

Alejandro Magaña Aviña, Guadalajara

Mary Mazziotti, Pittsburgh

Miranda Driessen, Almere

Sole Majdalani, Buenos Aires

JohnProctor, Purchase

Katelyn Watkins, Austin

Kristen Curry, Portland

Shu XinLyu Wang, Shanghai

Marisa Gertz, New York

Jana Weaver, Prineville

Jo Ngo, Saigon

Rachel Blumberg, Portsmouth

Andrew Conklin, Stockton

Amélie Beaudroit, Montreal

Inari Porkka, Hamina

Victoria Genberg, Kuala Lumpur

Paola Rossi, Turin

Naoko Sekine, Kisarazu City

Francisco Rivarola, Buenos Aires

Erin de Burca, Calpe

Tulasi, Rio de Janeiro 

Robin Dunn, Tucson

Scott Poole, Vancouver

Ian Miller, Portland

Akira Serene, Philadelphia

Marah Strauch, Pasadena

Fausto Amadeo, Buenos Aires

Jan Heinke, Dresden

Susan Rich, Seattle

Shelby Tuthill, Fort Collins

Kate MacDonald, Vancouver

ClaudetteLee-Roseland, Cedarburg

PaulaTurcoane, Bucharest

Robin Press and Carina Grossman, Jerusalem

Emanuela Marenz Marcolini, Verona

Dorota Szuta Ulvang,Bishop

MattDabrowiak, Portland

Martha Grover, Portland

Emerie Synder, Brooklyn

Setare Taji, Karaj

Maria Rosa Benso, Turin

Sarah Fjørtoft, Cape Town

Panos Dimitropoulos, Shanghai

Anna-Marya Tompa, Pano Lefkara

Calyn Kelly, Eugene

Aliki Arnaouti, Athens

Cate Wnek, Harpswell

Monica Shah, Edison 

Silvino González Morales, Ambaló Reservation, Silvia

Jackie Clark, Jersey City

Mercedes Orozco, Portland

Sarah James, Worcestershire

Christopher Garcia, New York

Sierra Nyokka, Garden Valley

Elizabeth Keithline, Woodstock

Sahar Hakimi, Calgary

Beryl Brenner, Brooklyn

MeganMosholder, Atlanta

Johanna Kunin, Portland

Alisha Sullivan, Portland

Dorota Borowa, Dublin

Arzu Ozkal, San Diego

Eve Obochta, London

Elaine Parks, Tuscarora

Micaela Mamede, Vale de Açores

Herbert J. Wimmer, Vienna 

Derrick Breidenthal, Kansas City

Thomas C. Chung, Melbourne

Zoe Simon, London

Paul Wright, Paris

Esther Geiger, Takoma Park

Iris Poljan, Zagreb

Holly Boruck, Altadena

Claudia Breuer, Aachen

Jennifer Weigel, Newton

Joas Nebe, Stuttgart

Penelope Grobler, Pretoria 

Wang Chen, Melbourne

K Linnea Backe, New York

Rodrigo Pires, London

Pauline Ginnety, Paris

Bianca Boragi, New York

Abi Eleri, Bristol

Angela Franks Wells, Tarboro

Erin Covey-Smith, Freeport

Marieke, Gunnewijk

Kelly Jones, Burlington

Madeline Hoak, Brooklyn

Asia Meirovich, Boston

Mirela Cabral, São Paulo

Ilke Ilter, Izmir

Madeleine Aleman, Malmö

Nancy Wolf, New Orleans

Carin Cahn, New York

Richard Craven, Spokane

Nels Andrews, Santa Cruz

Celia Merlin, Ramat Gan

Michele King, San Francisco

Steve Givnan, Sheffield

Mary Blakemore, New York

Ben Fee, Los Angeles

Ryan Scherer, Annapolis

Valerie Arntzen, Vancouver

Rage Hezekiah, Pownal

Illuminate, Ontario

Alison Harville, Dover

Kevin Brophy, Philadelphia

Lancee Whetman, Salt Lake City

Lolo Haha, Portland

Joshua White, West Jefferson

Kalila Holt, Brooklyn

Allison Adair, Boston 

Emily Puetter, Berlin

Margot Spindelman, Brooklyn

Lana Ayers, Tillamook

Joe Kraus, Shavertown

Michael Wynne, Madrid

Geraldine Mills, Galway

Angela Yeowell & Robert Heim, Berlin

Lisa D. Archigian, White Plains

Kateryna Pokladodova, Kyiv

Dean Rader, San Francisco

Monika Balu, Gothenburg

Eddie Love, Nashua

Andreas Johnsen, Copenhagen

Rachel Reid, London

Freyja Bardell, Los Angeles

Patricia Prieto-Blanco, Cullybackey

Giulia Drummond, Edinburgh

Emma Dickson, Chapel Hill

Vesna Parchet, London

Almaz Salikhov, Helsinki

Michael Rau, Palo Alto

Harald Schole, Amsterdam

Huda Tariq, Lahore

Patricia McParlin, Cardiff

Pamela Hart, South Salem

J. Rick Castañeda, Los Angeles

Kimberly Cooper, Los Angeles

Edna Cantoral Acosta, Zapopan

Robyn Ellenbogen, Brooklyn

Trygve Skogrand, Asenfjord

Roberta Orlando, Milan

Maria Kretova-Babich, Samara

Ann Tracy, Falmouth

Austin Price, Austin

Dan Jones, Grand Forks

Kadiejra O'neil, Christ Church

Stig Marlon Weston, Oslo 

Mohamad Yala, Babol

Jamie Lee & Eric Hart, Berkeley

TO Marzo Zen, Chiang Dao

S Stephanie, Rollinsford

Hura Mirshekari, Paris

Bruce Carleton, Twentynine Palms

Tim Powala, Munich

Colin Justin Wan, Singapore

Lesley Wamsley, Brooklyn

Julie Weaverling, San Diego

Sara True, Athens

Carolina Baldomá, Lincoln

Ivan Ledesma, Guadalajara

Emily Chammah, Austin

Ramin Parvin, Berlin

Grietje Bouman, Winterswijk

Autumn Lewis, Milford

David Nadeau, Quebec City

Harald Setefanou, Nicosia

Rosemary Taylor, Brooklyn

Eli Karren, Austin

Robert Karpay, Brooklyn

Marina Roca Die, Berlin

Christina Maximoff, Paris

Alicia Jo Rabins, Portland

Sean Miller, Los Angeles

Laura Glabman, Hewlett

Janet Van Fleet, Cabot

Leesa Hanna, Port Moody

Julie Goldsmith, London

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