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Studio REV- is a non-profit art organization that combines sound research and bold ideas to produce creative media to impact the lives of low-wage workers, immigrants, women, and youth.

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10 sec 1 bayt

An infectious cellphone-based public art contest in Tajikistan for the best 10 second poem.

In 2009, a Tajik telecommunication company promoted their services by offering the first 10 seconds of any phone call for free. This freebie prompted a new art form — the 10 second conversation.

Inspired by this contemporary cultural form and the Tajik tradition of 2-verse poetry (or 'bayt'), Studio REV- initiated a competition for the best ten second poem. Tajiks could call in using any kind of cell phone, record their poem after a prompt. The number was instantly published online at and juried by a group of Tajik superstar poets and Habiba Jalivova, the "Oprah of Northern Tajikistan." The selected ten second poems were then published over the radio airwaves, on the television, in the printed newspaper, and during the national news hour in the form of a ten second text scrawl.

The project's title, 'Bayt' (pronounced 'bite' in English), refers to both the Tajik word for the short 2-verse poem popularized to Western audiences by the Rubayat, written in the 12th century by poet Omar Khayyam. 'Bayt' also resembles in sound the English noun that means, 'a small piece' (as in, "Just a bite"), and the 'byte', an internationally recognized unit used to measure quantities of digital data.

Project Details

CLIENT/COMMISSION : CEC Artslink, Sogd Cultural Education Center, Bactria Cultural Centre

DATE : 2009

TAGS : Workshop, App, Digital Experiences, Design/Communications