History without Wires

MobileToday was the last day for Motorola’s somewhat self-serving “Mobile” show in SoHo, an “exhibition of international mobile phone culture.” I managed to make it to the venue, which was curiously empty and suffering from a power outage, and have a look for myself.The curators trace the lineage of today’s tiny cellular handsets back to the shoebox-size portable radios of the post-war period, and it’s mildly interesting to see the actual hardware. There’s an honest if undernourished attempt at establishing social context as well, and if nothing else, the show is an effective corporate history for the Motorola corporation.

Unfortunately, it amounts to little more than that; the show seems less like an exhibit than an advertisement, and the entire excercise has the feeling of a visitors’s hall at Motorola corporate headquarters. Having finished here in New York and already been through London, it may be coming to your town, and if it’s convenient you may want to catch it, but don’t go out of your way. You can get the gist of the whole affair from the skimpy if very well designed Web site.