Locally Toned’s Visual Project Maps

Visual Map for Mobile Ringtone Performance

Locally Toned has some new visuals–project maps which help me to describe the whole or aspects of this public art/original ringtone creation project to others.

In my last post, I mentioned that I’m very interested in how a work is perceived by its many audiences. This information can be useful. It’s important for artists to develop a skill set to help them to promote their work, for how they perceive and describe what they do is often first way an audience, curator, or journalist encounters their work.

Welp, I’m thankful to Nathan Martin for his summary of Locally Toned in Contagious Magazine (in the opinion piece entitled, “GutterTech: Squinting at Technology“). It helped me to see a more complete picture of my project, and to make some new visual tools to describe and promote my work. Here’s a paragraph from the article:

“It is the experience, not the technology, that makes Locally Toned stand out. It is simple, fun and clever. Anyone can be or create a ringtone, and when T. Foley gets in your face on a bus or while roving the streets in a custom ringtone collection outfit, armed with a megaphone, people happily create their own tone. She thought of Gumband not as technology, but as a facilitator of her idea.”

After my first read of the article, I thought, “Getting in people’s faces? Roving streets in a custom ringtone collection outfit? Being armed with a megaphone? That’s me?!

Performing at the July 2009 Gallery Crawl, Pittsburgh. Photo by Larry Rippel

That’s me.

When Martin presented his take on the work I’ve been doing, he shared a snapshot I wasn’t familiar with. I’d been so busy working at close range, developing content (making ringtones with collaborators, taking photographs, archiving project components, blogging and performing), that I hadn’t noticed how all the facets of the project come together. The paragraph that Martin wrote, helped me to conceptualize new visual tools to help answer the question, “What is Locally Toned?”

Visual Map for Ringtone Art Cards

Visual Map: Open Ringtone Recording Session

Martin’s verbal snapshot left me with two useful questions: How do I tell the story of the work I’m doing on this project? and How can I tell the story? Mulling it over, I realized that I most often answered questions with words (written or spoken). Sometimes my words were peppered with photographs (when I had the opportunity to share images). But was there a more efficient or interesting way to communicate the scope of work within the project? What if I could put all those elements into a visual map of some sort? And what if I could add dynamic media (audio and video) to the map?

I began by making some still images to supplement applications I prepared for conferences (the visual maps above). If I was proposing to attend a conference to do a *Mobile* Ringtone Performance, I could illustrate the components of the performance–the amplifier, the ringtone art cards, and the ‘custom ringtone collection outfit.’ Once I made a few of these images, I was excited to note that if I made an introductory project map online, it could also contain moving pictures and audio files. Check out this online project “map” to see how I’m working with that concept. And check back later, too–these visual project maps are still a work-in-progress.

P.S. Thanks to Larry Rippel for so many of these photographs–I’ll be sure to credit your work in the final drafts!

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