Susan’s Situational Tones

Susan Englert, Situationalist Ringtone Generator

Susan Englert, Generator of Situationalist Ringtones

This is Susan.  She is an architect and visual artist who lives in the neighborhood of Lawrenceville.

I was delighted to receive Susan’s thoughtful and curious tone proposals, because I felt she was conducting inquiry around the playback of ringtones with this interesting question: what sorts of audio “situations” or dramatic vignettes can be created within the span of 30 seconds?  When I went out to work with her, I recorded audio samples for three of her proposed “situational” tone ideas.

The first situation that Englert wanted to turn into a ringtone was the sound of coins dropping.  Might people who are in ear shot of this ringtone wonder if coins are falling out of their pockets?  Will bystanders look towards the person whose cell phone is emitting the sound?

We recorded two versions–one in which the coins hit a stone tabletop (Interior Coin Drop), and one in which the coins were dropped by Susan onto a cement floor (Exterior Coin Drop).  On site, at Susan’s house, while listening through my Sennheiser headphones, I thought I preferred the Interior Coin Drop, but while editing the tones today, I liked the Exterior Coin Drop much better.

Susan’s next situation was a string of pearls dropping.  FYI, no pearls were harmed (or lost) in the making of this Scattering Of Pearls Tone.  Englert rigged a nice pearl-dropping set-up for us to stage the recording (a length of garden hose placed on a hardwood floor in the form of a 3 foot circle, within which the pearls could drop, scatter, and be contained within).

The last situation is that of fabric tearing.  As Susan proposed, “Pants?  A coat caught on something?  Another lighthearted spur [to those within ear shot of the tone] to either look (NO!  Don’t!) or laugh.”  I made two tones out of the fabric tearing audio I recorded.  The first is a the shortest tone on this blog (approx. 3 seconds).  It’s just One Really Good Rip Tone.  The other is a Ripping-Fabric Alert Signal.

Thanks for an interesting conceptual contribution to Locally Toned, Susan!

P. S.  Before I left her house last week, Susan told me that this ringtone/public art project somehow reminded her of WPA Federal Art Projects.  I loved that reference.  I’m going to have to look into that possibility.  I would love it if Locally Toned could go national (before it goes global)!



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Filed under Locally Toned (all posts), Ringtones

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