Grenoble breathes new life into telephone booths against the “digitization of our lives”

On March 25, a payphone was reinstalled in the Marliave park in Grenoble. At the initiative of this project, a collective that claims the ” right to life without a smartphone

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Grenoble, a French-style Silicon Valley

With its three valleys, a silicon industry (silicon, in English), companies at the forefront of microelectronics, numerous start-ups… Grenoble is sometimes presented as the French Silicon Valley! A label that may not appeal to everyone: the International Observatory for the Relocation of Telephone Booths (OIRCT) has a very different claim. Contrary to the image of innovation conveyed by the city of Grenoble, the collective calls for the struggle ” against the digitization of our lives, of our society. Today we claim the right to live without a smartphone, without being constantly monitored† †

Digital dividing lines

An article that appeared in the local satirical newspaper last spring The Postillion signs the birth certificate of the OIRCT, celebrated some time later with a concert of telephone calls.
This original collective was born from an observation: ” Every day the noose is getting tighter for people without mobile phones “. The article by postiljon in particular highlights the experience of a man without a smartphone, who was refused fiber optic installation on the grounds that he had not replied to the confirmation SMS sent the day before. Far from being anecdotal, this episode reveals a reality: without a smartphone, it is almost impossible to access public services or perform certain procedures. An injustice according to the members of the OIRCT, who believe that it is up to everyone to decide whether to buy a mobile phone or not.

The great return of payphones

On March 25, the first telephone booth was inaugurated with much fanfare in a park in Grenoble. † A world first », confirmed the local collective that brought together some fifty curious people with humour. the Parisian went there for the occasion: on the program, time capsule and free calls.

“Children circle an ephemeral colorful hut: ‘What is this thing? Why did we lock ourselves in the phone before? they wonder.

the Parisian

Well-launched, the collective is calling for the installation of 22 cabins in Grenoble, 400 of which were before the laptop era. If the initiative is presented as a joke, the motives are very serious: ” We are neither nostalgic nor for the return of the Minitel. The phone booth is a symbol to stop the digitization of our lives », the members of the OIRCT explain to the Parisian

Towards the return of payphones on a larger scale? Spread the word!

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