Leave a voicemail about a book you love and a story you’ve lived, the project asks.
It was a long flight, and one woman had brought Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese to occupy herself. When she got to the book’s saddest passage, she started sobbing. “I mean complete, shameless, snot flowing down my face sobbing,” she says. That’s when another woman sitting across the aisle from her handed her a tissue she had been holding in anticipation of this moment. “I read that book a few weeks ago, and I knew you were getting close,” she said.
This is one of many anonymous stories about books that has been told to Ishmael, of the site Call Me Ishmael, since it launched in June. The premise is simple: Anyone can call the site’s phone number and answer the prompt, “Leave a voicemail about a book you love and a story you’ve lived.”
Ishmael, who is voiced by TED-Ed director Logan Smalley, turns one of those voicemails each week into a video by sticking his iPhone to his typewriter with silly putty and running a transcription of the message through the roller to the speed of the audio. From a single prompt, the site has unleashed a wide range of stories.
"If you ask a kid, ‘Hey do you want to learn how to program a computer?’ you’ll get a lot of eye-rolling. But if you’re like, ‘Hey, would you like to build your own game?’ that is what gets kids excited."
More precisely, the 42-year-old designer loves her own pussy. Constructed from molds of Igarashi’s genitalia, the artist’s body of work includes a vagina lampshade, a vagina kayak, vagina smartphone cases, vagina dioramas, vagina toys, and more. But the Tokyo police don’t share Igarashi’s predilections, at least, not in an official capacity.
“What you end up with is a neural network looking for patches of images that resemble eyes or ears or cat noses, to see what arrangement they’re in. If they resemble what they saw in example images of cats, it’s likely a cat.”