Faraday Café in Vancouver's Chinatown blocks cell signals
Julien Thomas wants his customers to re-examine their relationship with technology
A Vancouver "social artist" has opened a café that blocks wireless signals from reaching its customers, hoping the environment will foster low-tech social interaction.
From the outside it looks like a typical shop, but inside the Faraday Café, is a mesh enclosure that repels all electromagnetic signals, including cell phone signals and Wi-Fi.
Artist Julian Thomas has rented the space for two weeks to set up the internet and cellular-free gathering place and will serve a rotation of artisanal coffees by donation.
"This is a place to kind of reflect on our relationship to digital technology," says Thomas.
He wants to encourage people to take a break from their gadgets, reconnect with the world and use technology in a more thoughtful way.
It's an interesting concept that has some Vancouverites intrigued.
"I think it's great. I think it brings people back to reality a little bit," says Chris Forest-Wong. "When you get cut off you're actually present and aware of what's going on."
Others seem interested, but skeptical.
"Do I think it's going to work? Not really," says Nathan Taylor. "I think people are going to go for it as a novelty but they’re not going to be there every day."
The café will host pop-up dinner parties on Wednesdays at 7 p.m., afternoon DJ sets on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays starting at 3 p.m., and a storytelling night on July 15.
If you want to visit the space yourself and "disconnect," you'd better do it fast. The Faraday Café is only open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday to Saturday until July 16.
What do you think? Would you go to a café that blocks your cellular devices? Tell us in the comments section below.
With files from the CBC's Stephanie Mercier