‘GOING MOBILE’ EXHIBITION EXPLORES 40 YEAR HISTORY OF THE MOBILE PHONE
Opens Saturday 21 October 2023
This October, PK Porthcurno, Museum of Global Communications, opens a new exhibition on the 40-year history of the mobile phone. Delivered in partnership with the Mobile Phone Museum, and sponsored by Vodafone UK, ‘Going Mobile’ explores the amazing journey of this everyday communication device from an exclusive status symbol, used mainly for voice calls, to a minicomputer in our pockets.
Curated by PK Porthcurno, ‘Going Mobile’ includes over seventy phones and objects selected from the Mobile Phone Museum’s extraordinary collection of over 2700 unique devices which range from the earliest ‘brick’ devices of the 1980s, through flip phones, sliders, and clamshells, to the latest smartphones. This will be the first time that the phones have been on public display as a collection.
The exhibition traces the development of mobile phone communications and its roots in the history of cable and wireless technology, dating back to the 1840s. With a combination of photos, objects, illustrations, and animations, it explains the evolution of the ‘generations’, how a mobile phone call works, and the timeline of mobile milestones. Importantly it also explores the role of the mobile phone industry in social, economic, and environmental questions and how the mobile phone has become, for many of us, not just a way of connecting with others but an extension of ourselves.
‘Going Mobile’ features original animations and illustrations by Falmouth-based animator Syd Murphy. Mobile-related work by celebrated photographers, Rankin and Levon Biss is also on display at the museum for the duration of the exhibition. The exhibition poster artwork was created by Penzance-based illustrator Mat McIvor whose design will also feature on limited edition t-shirts for sale in the PK Porthcurno Museum and online shop.
Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer, Vodafone UK
“We are absolutely delighted to be sponsoring the exhibition. We made the first UK mobile phone call in 1985, sent the world’s first text message in 1992, and connected the world’s first 5G holographic call in 2018, so the exhibition is a great way to bring that history to life. There’s also an exciting future ahead with the recent introduction of technologies such as 5G Standalone, which offers a whole range of business and society applications – from driverless cars to remotely assisted surgery.
Vodafone has long relationships with PK Porthcurno and the Mobile Phone Museum, so it was fantastic to bring the two together. Although we are synonymous with mobile phones, our network relies on cable infrastructure. Finally, a number of our engineers trained at the college which used to be on the site of the museum, so Porthcurno is very much in Vodafone’s DNA.”
“It’s immensely exciting to work with PK Porthcurno and Vodafone to launch our first public exhibition. No other invention in recent memory has shaped how we live more fundamentally than the mobile phone. From mobile payments to citizen journalism, always-on social media, and the ability to work anywhere, it’s difficult to overstate the importance of this device, which has become the most prolific consumer electronics product on the planet.”Ben Wood, Founder, Mobile Phone Museum
“We had great fun developing this exhibition, working with the fabulous collection that the Mobile Phone Museum has put together in the last few years. I think most of us can remember our first or favourite mobile phone – it’s a surprisingly personal thing. Looking back at the history and rapid evolution of mobile technology was thought-provoking for all of us. Today, they are so much part of our lives that it’s hard to remember a time when we were without them.”Julia Twomlow, Chief Executive and Creative Director
‘Going Mobile’ opens on 21st October and is on show at PK Porthcurno, Museum of Global Communications until October 2024.