Category Archives: Project Updates

15 New Ringtones from Valencia, Spain (Uploaded to!

Click on any of the pictures above to hear/send one of the tones from Valencia, Spain to your phone!

The tones were recorded when I traveled to Spain in September of 2009 as part of a show called Transfer Lounge (curated by Carolina Loyola Garcia, Toni Claderon and Ima Pico). While there, I did a *Mobile* Ringtone Performance at the Forja ArteContemporáneo opening, and collaborated with locals to make a small series of Valencian tones.

The tones feature the sounds of Spanish-speakers, crushing garlic with a mortar and pestle, birdsong, and little bells which are traditionally rung at processions for the town’s patron saint (Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados/Our Lady of the Forsaken or Homeless).

To read more about this series/my work in that city, type “Valencia” into the search box on this blog.

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Locally Toned in “It’s for you,” Conceptual Art and the Telephone (Housatonic Museum of Art)

Locally Toned is thrilled to be a part of the upcoming show, “It’s for you,” Conceptual Art and the Telephone (curated by Terri C. Smith at the Housatonic Museum of Art in Bridgeport, CT). The show also features work by Yoko Ono, John Cage, Peter Greenaway and other contemporary artists of note, and runs from February 24 – March 25, 2011.

I’ll be traveling to Bridgeport in March to give a talk and to make a new series of tones with students and residents of that city.

From the museum’s curator:

“Inspired by the Housatonic Museum of Art’s (HMA) most immediate audience, our students at Housatonic Community College, the HMA has curated ‘It’s for you,’ Conceptual Art and the Telephone.  The exhibition is, in part, a response to the wide-ranging use of phones in the hallways and other areas on campus.  Each day students text, talk, surf the net, and listen to music on their phones.  With this exhibition, artworks that use the phone as an artistic medium or mediator are brought together in an original exhibition curated by Terri C. Smith.

The projects range from the late 1960s to today and include sound pieces, videos, and objects that resonate with the functions, technologies, and physicality of the telephone. Artists in the exhibition include: T. Foley, Lukas Geronimas, Jeremy LeClair, Christian Marclay, Yoko Ono, Rachel Perry Welty, Robert Peters, Pietro Pellini, and Hannah Wilke.

Many of the artists in ‘It’s for you’ aim to democratize the artist/audience relationship, a quality that is intricately woven into the history of conceptual art.  In ‘It’s for you’ Yoko Ono might call the gallery as part of her Telephone Piece, providing direct contact between artist and ‘viewer.’  Students will work with T Foley, creating their own ring tones as part of her Locally Toned project. Archival materials are also included as a way to represent ephemeral works from the past as with Robert Peters’ Naming Others: Manufacturing Yourself (1993) where the artist asked people to call an 800 number from pay phones and choose which stereotyping phrase described them best.

‘It’s for You’ harnesses the familiarity of the telephone as a way of introducing audiences to a variety of conceptual art practices, which often include a mix of art theory and social critique. The exhibition, consequently, endeavors to connect concerns found in contemporary art with the objects, communication habits, and changing technologies in our daily lives.  In that spirit, visitors and students will be encouraged to comment on the exhibition using telephone-friendly interfaces such as Twitter.”

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Check out Locally Toned’s contribution to Pittsburgh’s First Night 2011. Installed in a store front window @ 933 Penn Ave, the video montage featured texting codes which allowed viewers to send project tones directly to their cell phones on New Year’s Eve.

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EVERYBODY MUST GET TONED (at First Night Pittsburgh 2010)

Hark! The herald cell phones sing with songs of sugar gliders, mechanical musical instruments and throat singers!

Stop by Locally Toned’s store front video installation to get the sounds of Pittsburgh as free ringtones for your cellular phone. Made specially for First Night 2010, this audio-visual montage features Pittsburgh ringtone contributions from T. Foley’s public art project. On the spot, viewers may utilize special codes within the video to send tones directly to their cell phones. The ringtones are free, but standard rates for receiving MMS/picture messages apply.

The installation is located at 933 Penn Ave. Pittsburgh. Visit the First Night website for further information.

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New Video! Locally Toned Television Intro

I uploaded a new video–the intro from the Locally Toned TV Show at The Waffle Shop. This is the segment where a very literate cat, Raymond the Puma (a.k.a. Donnell Pearl), interviews me about the project. You’ll hear a number of tones in this segment and me operate my performance gear. Watch it NOW!

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Inmate Correspondence Continues with Drawing of Western Pen Whistle

If you’ve been following the blog posts related to the Western Pen Whistle Tone, you may be interested to see this drawing from inside the institution.

This past winter, the State Correctional Institute (SCI) Pittsburgh declined my request for a visit to see, photograph, and learn more about the whistle. Since I’m interested in telling the stories about the sounds that become ringtones within this project, I’m also interested in showing the sources from which the sounds come. Over in the Manchester/North Side neighborhood of Pittsburgh, the whistle is easy to hear–every day at 8:40pm, when it goes off. It’s just not easy to see. Since I wasn’t able to take or use any actual image of the whistle, I used this scan of a vintage postcard of Western Penitentiary as the icon for the tone.

The drawing at the top of this post was sent by the male inmate who wrote to me in August after seeing my appearance on WQED’s Filmmakers Corner. In his initial letter, he asked about my choice to publish the sound of the whistle as a ringtone and expressed his reaction (as someone who hears the sound on a daily basis).

You can read our initial letter exchange here. The gentleman who drew this picture also suggested some ringtone-ideas. Since I told him I take requests for tones, I will record and publish one of his suggestions.

I appreciate that this man took the time to write back to me and to share his drawing of the whistle.

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Ringtone Feedback: Letter Exchange with an Inmate from SCI Pittsburgh

Recently I received and replied to a letter from an inmate at SCI (State Correctional Institute) Pittsburgh. He shared his reaction to one of the tones in the project. I assume that he’d seen my appearance* on WQED‘s television show, Filmmakers Corner (hosted by Minette Seate), because the letter was addressed to me in c/o the show.

My appearance on the episode began with a shortened version of my *Mobile* Ringtone Performance. One of the tones that I played and discussed was the Western Penitentiary Whistle Tone. The man who sent the letter, who’s presently incarcerated at SCI Pittsburgh, wanted to know why I had recorded the whistle.

Locally Toned as a public work of art, is produced through a method of social practice. Instead of making and publishing a series of ringtones that I think would well-represent this region, I ask Pittsburghers for input (what tones should be recorded) and to collaborate (by working with me on audio recordings in the field). Participants answer these questions with me: “What does Pittsburgh sound like?” and “Which of these sounds should turned into ringtones to be shared with the public, free of charge?”

So lots of people have had a say regarding what sounds they’d like to hear as ringtones, but few residents of this area have provided formal (written) feedback regarding a published tone. How do people who live here feel about the content that is curated and published within the project? This man experiences the sound of the whistle in his daily life. Because he took the time to send a letter, he’s opened up dialogue about the tones as functioning signals and sounds. The letter-exchange allowed me to reflect more deeply about how experiencing a sound is very much shaped by the physical space within which it is heard. Since I consider his letter direct feedback from a stakeholder (a resident of this region), in the spirit of community accountability (Locally Toned is a public work of art), I’ve decided to publish our letters.

*The episode, BTW, will air again on WQED 13.1 on Saturday, October 23, 2010 at 10:00pm.


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