We were on our travels to George Moore Court & Roger Arden Court last week.

We talked again about different technological waves the groups have rode in their time, and how they had effected how they communicate with family and colleagues.

Maureen told us of her time working at the telephone switchboard, interacting with a huge physical interface. Cardboard tokens would drop down letting her know who was trying to call who, so that she knew which wires to connect with which slots.


Did she make many mistakes?

“Yes, it was funny when that happened, but it wasn’t as often as you’d think”.

Thinking again about using a Portal to send messages back in time, we asked everyone to create a LED message to themselves when they were younger, with the restriction that each message could be no longer than 20 characters.

The message were a mixture of warnings and affirmations again this week, one of my favourites being Gina’s.


Originally from Italy, Gina was a war bride. Coming over to Liverpool, England, with her new husband in 1943. She spoke no english when she arrived, and her husband spoke very little Italian. Her only chance to speak Italian was the weekly international phone call to her family. Having never encountered a telephone, she said that the first time she used it she thought it was unbelievable.

Both Gina’s story and the other messages to past selves are an evocative challenge to the idea that the more information we send, the more meaningful our communication becomes. Food for thought for any future Portal designers.






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