Lock/Unlock: Reflections on Phone Addiction

By Carmen Framiñán Galán

Checking up the phone compulsively is a symptom of phone addiction, and locking and unlocking the phone as an unconscious reflex is an indicator used to measure it. In the installation, each key represents a moment in which I have unlocked my phone over the course of a day. The number 92 is the average number of times a day I did so over the course of two months, tracked by my own phone. By giving a physical shape to the act of unlocking the phone by equating it with that of unlocking a door, the key acts as a signifier for each time the action is repeated, calling it into attention.

Featured image of the project Lock/Unlock: Reflections on Phone Addiction Complementary image of the project Lock/Unlock: Reflections on Phone Addiction

Metaphor used:

The installation acts as an entrance, an access point to something you intend to reach. A road can exist without a lock, without access control, but a lock is meaningless without a key. The loss of meaning of the act is thus represented by the individual keys, with the lock present only in the literal verb, unlocking.

Intended Meaning:

By magnifying a daily, inconsequential gesture, the aim is to draw attention to the problem, encouraging people to act, putting the spotlight back on an issue that we might all partake in and making people think about the deeper meanings a seemingly innocuous gesture might hold.


Dataset extract from“digital wellbeing” tracker on smartphone, a Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T, UI MIUI Global 12.5.5.