Second part of Strangely Familiar. Unusual Objects for Everyday Life.
Tok Tok, by Aram Armstrong, is one of those communication devices for people who live far away from their loved ones.
Each partner owns a wooden box. Whenever one knocks on his/her box, it transmits a sonar-like pulse, which is recreated in the other’s remote location. Once the pulse has been received, it responds by transmitting again the same pulse to the first box at the other part of the planet.
What makes it special is that the pulse travels at what the designer (who might know what he talks about as he looks like some sailor who left a woman in every port) describes as the “speed of love”: faster than thunder, but slower than lightning. The time it takes to travel from, say, Tel Aviv to Turin and back again depends on the actual distance between these two cities. The longer it takes for the pulse to come back to you, the further away your darling is.
Each of Haiyan Zhang’s Tug Tug phones features a red cord connecting the device to its own base. Once again, here an action on one of the phones affects physically its distant counterpart. If you pull the cord of your phone, the receiver of the other phone falls off the hook.