Instead of being told to flip off their cell phone before the show, attendees were encouraged to call a series of mobile numbers. The corresponding mobiles were on stage set to vibrate. Each one was positioned at different angles over loose guitar strings.
Above is an MP3 snippet of the cell phone symphony in action. It was a fun way to hook into India's ubiquitous cell phone use. It was also a nice tongue-wag to theater etiquette.
I enjoyed it though the older couple in front of me exited the theater with an irritated gait. “What’s the point of this?” one asked me.
The performance was presented by German audio technicians Bettina Wenzel and Hans Koch. John Cage followers - to be sure. Koch joked with me after the performance “no one in India uses vibrate on their mobiles.” He hoped this would be an ear-opener.