Don't let your phone suck you in

‘Network’ by Thomas J Price

‘Network’ by Thomas J Price

Earlier this summer I (at long last) visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. It’s glorious!

Your phone is a tool

This statue caught my eye. For a start, it’s three metres tall and bronze, but I liked the way the subject is looking at his phone.

I groan when I see adverts with people hunched over their phones. This guy isn’t doing that. His phone is clearly a tool and he is in control.


When I got home I did a little research. The work is called ‘Network’ and was made by Thomas J Price in 2013. (Price became notorious in 2001 when he tried to cover a gallery wall invisibly by licking it. His tongue rapidly started to bleed and so he inadvertently created a painting of sorts, the work now being known as ‘Licked’.)

Apparently, when ‘Network’ first appeared, people viewed the subject as a rioter, presumably because it depicts a young black man! That thought didn’t occur to me, but the figure is striking because it is ordinary, and it’s not a middle-aged white male on a plinth.

Disrupted plans?

No one person is depicted; Price always uses a variety of sources. When you look carefully, you notice the man is slightly parked on his right hip, and he doesn’t look entirely happy. Disturbing news? Disrupted plans? Price might say he looks somewhat melancholic and vulnerable, as so many people do behind their public persona.

Indeed this tall and strong-looking young man has evidently been affected by something he is reading on his phone. Nonetheless, he’s not letting the phone drag him down or suck him in, and that impresses me.

Keeping your head balanced

Maintain some space between your face and your phone, keeping your head balanced on the top of your spine. Make the phone work for you and remember - just a few years ago we all managed perfectly well without cell phones. They’re fantastically useful, but don’t let them change the way you move!