Xiaoyu Rockey Ke testing Bockey in a pond at Wavefarm in Acra, New York
Art Installations Mobile Sound


Bockey is a piece of transmission art that explores the nature of remote telecommunication and how phone calls act as a temporary remedy for "chronic claustrophobia", a term I coined to capture a sense of entrapment and isolation during the global pandemic for the past 3 years since 2020.


Xiaoyu (Rockey) Ke


Despina Papadopoulos


The past three years of our human experience were dictated by the spread of a global pandemic. As for me, “social distancing” took both physical and mental forms. I could not return home and felt rather confined to my surrounding—a busy metropolitan in a foreign land. Having claustrophobia growing up, this experience felt like a chronic one creeping up the back of my mind. Like many, I relied heavily on my phone as the tie to my loved ones, teleporting me across the globe. The nature of such remote connections amazes me — it appear very much like “the real thing” when it is happening, yet so extremely limited to the course of its happening. I snap in and out of these temporary connections as phone calls begin and end, hopping between where I was and somewhere incredibly near where my loved ones are. With frustration and wonder, I could not help but ask: How far can a phone call take me? To make this most distant phone call possible, I set out to create an independent entity that carries a phone while traveling outside of the boundaries that I am under. Similar to how modern-day phone calls promise connection across space and time, I envisioned Bockey (a portmanteau joining the word "buoy" and my name "Rockey") to be an energy-independent buoy-phone that travels freely and floats about in international water, as an alternative self that I can call whenever, wherever, forever.

Xiaoyu Rockey Ke testing Bockey in a pond at Wavefarm in Acra, New York


Technical Details

Bockey encloses a Maduino Zero 4G LTE board for LTE communication, a Voltaic 1W Solar Panel, a  Solar LiPo Charger, a 6600 mAh Battery, and miscellaneous personal memorabilia.

Testing Bockey in Acra, New YorkBockey floating on water at Prospect Park LakeDeploying Bockey in a discreet location