Being John Minto
Hacked loudhailer, iPhone 3GS, software, media release, performances
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Edition of one


Media Release

Artist Emil McAvoy is responding to veteran human rights protestor John Minto’s recent arrest and the police confiscation of his loudhailer by launching the MintoPhone. The MintoPhone is a hacked loudhailer which connects to an iPhone. The iPhone speaks text including Twitter feeds through computer voice generators, and can also play music and sound files through the loudhailer.



Minto was recently arrested for alleged disorderly behaviour during a protest against the participation of Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer at the ASB Classic Tennis Tournament. Minto and seven others will appear in the Auckland District Court this Thursday 1st April to face charges. Minto and others had their loudhailers confiscated, and are attempting to have the charges dismissed and their loudhailers returned. Minto also had his loudhailer confiscated during his 1981 anti Springbok tour protests, which was destroyed by police before it was returned.

McAvoy’s wider art project titled ‘Being John Minto’ includes the modified megaphone painted in the colours of the Palestinian flag, a series of public performances, a Twitter feed on the artist’s website, a Facebook group, and a charity auction of the MintoPhone on TradeMe. The artist intends these to provide platforms for public discussion and debate surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, human rights including the right to protest, and the relationship between politics and sport. Proceeds from the sale of the MintoPhone will be donated to Doctors Without Borders. Public comments can made on:

To celebrate the launch, McAvoy will be performing with the MintoPhone at undisclosed locations around central Auckland on Thursday 1st April from 9am until 12pm using sound generated from the text of Minto’s court submission, public comments on Minto’s recent protest sampled from internet blogs, the live Twitter feed and selected music.

McAvoy is also known for his controversial sculpture ‘Better Work Stories (He Patu! Ano)’, a series of three phallic tipped police riot batons, a critical engagement with the baton’s history in the 1981 Springbok Tour and historic police rape trials. The work was a finalist in the 2007 Trust Waikato National Contemporary Art Awards, was listed for sale on TradeMe and the proceeds donated to Women’s Refuge. Details of public comments on the work can be viewed at: