PRESS RELEASE: Artist Invites Pittsburghers to Make and Share Their Own Ringtones as Part of Innovative Art and Technology Project

April 23, 2009

Contact:    Teresa Foley

Pittsburgh, PA – What are the sweetest sounds to Pittsburghers, and what sounds should be turned into ringtones and made available to the public free of charge? How about a cat’s meow as the ringtone for when the veterinarian or pet-sitter calls? Someone playing scales on a saxophone for the music teacher’s call? The whistle of a steel mill, or the clang and clatter of the incline as it travels up Mount Washington? An Islamic call to prayer, or the sound of a chef chopping vegetables?
Local artist T. Foley seeks to involve individuals and groups as collaborators in designing ringtones for a public art project in Pittsburgh entitled Locally Toned, a not-for-profit venture that will provide free ringtones to the community via the project website and MMS (multimedia messaging service) distribution. Would-be participants only need ideas—the artist will provide the technical know-how and equipment. During a time of economic crisis, when ringtones range in cost from .99 to $3.00 each, Locally Toned invites Pittsburghers to create and share ringtones outside the marketplace—to identify distinct sounds for new tones beautiful to them yet usable by others. In the months of May and June, approximately 50 participants will be selected by Foley to collaborate on an original 30-second ringtone based on their submitted idea. Tones may be humorous, serious, ironic, musical, machine-based, or come from nature. Selected applicants will accompany the artist on locale to conduct field recordings that will be turned into a cell phone ringtones. Participants will be photographed for possible inclusion in project  exhibitions and archives. Tones will be made available to the public by the end of July. Foley’s work is supported within the structure of a new corporate residency program with deeplocal (a Pittsburgh-based mobile software design, development, and strategy studio) and the arts/bookmaking collective Encyclopedia Destructica. This innovative public art project “performs itself” within the airspace (which is public property for sonic transmissions), when its participants receive cellular phone calls. The application criteria and instructions follow.

Apply to Make Your Own Ringtone with Artist T. Foley

Audio content must be copyright free (i.e., original compositions or audio which exists in the natural world), and tone duration will be 30 seconds or less. Potential audio sources must have a high likelihood for being successfully and safely recorded by the artist. Tones are to be shared with others, so content should not be too personal. For example, a recording of someone’s mother on an answering machine saying, “Pick up the phone, Fred, I know you’re home!” won’t work.  But, “Pick up the phone, I know you’re home!” could work as a ringtone that many Pittsburghers might wish to own.

Selected participants will be notified by the artist by email or phone before June 15, 2009. To apply, email with the following information:







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