Free happy texts at Late Night Art

05 October 2017

During ArtWeek, look out for a small wooden pyramid, housing an artist and his mobile phone. Called Generation Text, the work by Matt Liggins from the University of Auckland, is an interactive technology-based performance that highlights the impact our increasing reliance on mobile devices is having on how we communicate.

Matt, who is a Professional Teaching Fellow at the School of Architecture and Planning, will have his art project at the Urban Art Village in St Patrick’s Square as part of Late Night Art.

A flag on top of the pyramid invites the public to send Matt a text message and receive free happy texts in response.

“I want people to consider how technology has made contact between people fast and easy, but at the same time can erode our ability to have meaningful conversations with each other. Man people choose to stay home and interact through technology like Facebook and Instagram rather than in person. The increase of easy preconceived technology can limit real human interaction and create social phobias as a result,” he says.

Matt hopes his installation will make people think twice about how technology is slowing changing the way we relate to each other and especially how we converse with strangers.

“I’m going to sit in the pyramid and interact with people via text and hopefully start a dialogue with people drawing attention to our increasing loss of the art of conversation due to social media,” says Matt.

This is the second appearance of Matt’s pyramid at ArtWeek. Last year his project - Real Pyramid Schemer - gave out free happy art to the public in an attempt to cheer them up. The work was a comment on how people are working longer and harder for less. The conversations about what made people happy and the resulting happy thoughts drawings were intended as a reminder of what makes us happy when times are tough.

The 40-year-old from Grey Lynn will be joined at the Urban Art Village by four other artists who are all current students and recent graduates from the School of Architecture and Planning.

With works as diverse as a giant pop up greeting card, a three dimensional field of light the public can walk through, a museum of art and fact, and an immersive atmospheric oxygen bar, there will be something to delight everyone.

Get along on Tuesday 10th October to St Patricks square from 12noon until 9pm and don’t forget your mobile phone.

To find out more visit