Today I was interviewed by Matthew Craig of the Allegheny Front, an award-winning environmental radio show that features environmental news, interviews, stories and essays about Western Pennsylvania. The segment will air on 91.3fm WYEP Wednesday May 20th at 7PM (and also at these times on these stations). My visit to the show (produced at WYEP) came about because one of my advisers, Justin Hopper, told the show’s Executive Producer, Kathy Knauer, about the project. Kathy and I sat down for coffee last week, and after hearing about this public art project, she invited me to be a guest on the show.
Before we recorded the interview, Matthew helped me to prepare by asking some good questions: “What’s Locally Toned got to do with the environment?” The most obvious answer is that I’d like this ringtone project to amplify the natural environment of Pittsburgh, since I’m conducting creative inquiry around this question: What are the sweetest sounds to Pittsburghers, and what sounds should be turned into ringtones and made available to the public free of charge?
I went on as a guest to hopefully get Allegheny Front listeners interested in participating in the project. When I left Patusan Farm yesterday (that blog post is coming up next!), Patty, the owner/proprietor called after me, “We’ve got the spring peepers out–but you have to come at dusk!” I’d love to go out and capture that kind of environmental audio with an Allegheny Front listener.
One thing I didn’t mention in the interview, but I thought about later today was about a term my friend Antonio Lopez uses called “media ecology.” Had I really been thinking on my feet, I could’ve mentioned something about that. What is the system within which we engage with media? In relation to ringtones, are we merely consumers, or can we also be designers, makers and sharers? Another purpose of this project is to encourage more personalized creative expression through aspects of technological empowerment with localized media (cell phones). I’m mostly mirroring that behavior to the community, but my friend Erica now makes ringtones with her phone, and there are always these other technological “teachable” moments out in the field. Later today, when I was out in the field recording some really fab “situational ringtones,” (another blog post coming up soon!), the community ringtone designer/collaborator asked me how I could tell if something was too loud or too quiet by looking at the recording device. I showed her the level meter on the Edirol recorder so that she could see what I was doing.
Tune into the show to hear what we discussed in the interview, or, if you miss it, look for it here in the AF archives. Thanks for your contribution to Locally Toned, Allegheny Front! And Kathy, thanks for helping out with the picture taking!