Tag Archives: Encyclopedia Destructica

Photo Documentation of Locally Toned TV

A photo montage by Anna Lee Fields. Below are selected photos she took during the recording of Locally Toned TV at the Waffle Shop, July 9, 2010.

From the outside in (color).

From the outside in (with calendar), black and white.

Donnell Pearl as the cool *cat* who interviewed me.

Lenka Clayton, artist and temporary Waffle Shop staff member, works the controls.

Setting up a shot.

Gettin’ ready for the show (long shot).

Encyclopedia Destructica (Christopher Kardambikis and Jasdeep Khaira), one of Locally Toned’s Old and New Media Residency co-hosts. They were my first guests. We visited about their creative contributions to Locally Toned.

Justin Hopper, this year’s Old and New Media Resident Artist, was up next on the show. He talked about his project, Public Record, and brought his goldfish on the show–wanted me to get a tone from the little dude. That didn’t happen…

Artist Ayanah Moor, ringtone contributor and informal project adviser came on the show to perform a new ringtone.

Video and filmmaker (and ringtone contributor) Caleb Foss ran camera for Locally Toned TV.

Video artist and musician Keith Tassick performed his famously subtle *Ring*tone live!

Dave English took time away from his television show to be a guest on Locally Toned TV, too.

Spontaneous ringtone contributor Ricardo Iamuuri plays the hand harmonica (a harmonica made from only his hands).

Another spontaneous ringtone contributor–Christine “Scout” Smith played a lovely tune on her concertina.

Contributor Scott Davidoff (a.k.a. Edith Leadbottom).

Turadg Aleahmad, accompanist on the Mayan Horn, and Ms. Edith Leadbottom rehearse the ringtone, “You Are the One for Me.”

As the show is winding down…

Thanks to Anna Lee Fields for the lovely photos, and to the Waffle Shop, all the guests and audience members.

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The deeplocal (Elevator Beep) Tone and Message Alert

The Crew at deeplocal (the picture Dave wanted me to take)

Meet deeplocal–from L-R, Eamae, Dimitry, Nathan, Matt, Dave (face to wall), Heather and Zack. [Side note–their crew has since been refreshed since I attended this December Waffle Wednesday to take these photos. You can check out their expanding posse here.] If you’re in Pittsburgh on the right Wednesday morning, you should definitely pop in for “free consulting and gourmet waffles”–the next one is February 17, 2010 from 9-11am.

A December Waffle Wednesday Guest

Nathan Martin Visits with Another Waffle Wednesday Guest

It’s about time I got around to publishing this tone! After all, deeplocal hosted me as an artist in residence for 4 months last year, and has graciously granted me Artist in Residence Emeritus status to continue developing Locally Toned. Nathan Martin, CEO of deeplocal came up with idea for the Old and New Media Residency Program. He then invited Encyclopedia Destructica to co-host the program, “created to promote an exchange of ideas, skills, and networks by placing an artist in both a contemporary art production setting and a working corporate setting.” I hear-tell they’ve already identified their next resident artist–but I won’t say anything further about that…yet.

The deeplocal tone consists of a recording of what it sounds like getting on up to their top-floor headquarters in the Liberty Bank Building (in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh). It’s a distinctive sound, the deeplocal (Elevator Beep) Tone.

If you liked that, you’re surely going to dig the short and jarring deeplocal (Elevator Beep) Message Alert.

The deeplocal Portrait I wanted to Take

Thanks, deeplocal folk, for all the time, energy, work and good will you’ve put towards this public art/ringtone creation project, and thanks also for keeping me on Emeritus-like so I can continue working on the project!

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Alice Out (of the Basement) Tones by T. Foley

Don’tcha think it’s about time I shared some tones generated my own goshdarn self?


I’ve been working on a series of tones for a show I’m part of at Future Tenant called “Dividing the Goose,” a fairy-tale-themed exhibit curated by Lisa Toboz and Jeff Schreckengost that opens on Friday September 18th in downtown Pittsburgh. I’m producing a series of ringtone art cards for the show featuring photos of an Alice in Wonderland doll. Similar to the cards I produced for the World Pinball Championships and the July gallery crawl, they have codes printed on the backs so that folks can text message to have the specific tones sent directly to their phones.


The images of this Madam Alexander doll were taken in the summer of 2007, after rediscovering a mold-infested metal trunk in my basement that contained my childhood doll collection. Pulling Alice out, still strapped to her original packaging, I was overcome by memories of  the time I spent as a child, simply looking at her, trying very hard not play with her. My mother told me the doll was an expensive one—that the nicer I kept her, the more she would be worth when I grew up. Poor, poor, Alice, I thought, photographing her in morning light, you’ve suffered a terrible fate. Not one tea party, no adventure at all for you. Dear Alice, sometimes terrible things happen.


Some of these photos were published previously in a Flying Destructicate volume, New Visual Language, published by Encyclopedia Destructica and featuring the work Pittsburgh’s super-talented (and inspiring to many of us) Josh Tonies. The volume included Josh’s work but the 2007 Destructicate award from ED also empowered him as a curator–half of the volume consisted of work from other artists he selected for inclusion. I’m grateful to Josh for including me in New Visual Language, and I’m quite happy the Alice photos will see the light of day again.

Here’s the Alice Out Tone Series for Dividing the Goose:

Knocking Tone I thought a knocking ringtone would be hilarious. You know, your phone, knocking… For this tone I knocked on an old wood door and on a stainless steel surface.

Say, Say Oh Playmate Tone This tone was inspired by a song I’d sing when I was a little girl, “Say, Say, Oh, Playmate.” I don’t remember how I learned the song, it ended up in a video I made several years ago. The movie is called licence. I made it because my friend Jim Mueller introduced me to a blow up doll. She had eyes that opened and closed (just like the peeing baby dolls I had when I was little), so I felt impelled to give her the doll’s life she never had. In order to make that associative connection between the peeing babydoll and the adult sex doll, I asked my girlfriends if they’d call my answering machine and sing songs into the tape recorder. “Say, Say, Oh Playmate” was one of the songs (sung in the movie by Sera Swan if I recall correctly). For this tone, I quietly sang the lyrics from the childhood song, but I also did a little editing. I interrupted the final word of each lyrical line with the first word from the next phrase. If you listen carefully, you can hear me take breaths as I’m getting ready to sing the next phrase. That’s almost always a no-no in fancy singing (so my choir teachers always said), but I’ve left it in for associative purposes.


Oh! An earlier and super-creepy version of the tone is here for those of you who want to get weirded out. It’s so strange that I don’t think I’ll post it on the .org site–but some of my girlfriends liked its scary movie quality, so if that kinda thing works for you, do have a listen.


Lucy Had a Tugboat Tone Yet another song from licence that one of my girlfriends sang into my answering machine (the amazingly talented painter Miss Emily Lambert). When working on this tone, I tried singing it, but ended up doing it as a playful spoken word piece. I shortened the content (to make it tone-sized) and because I noticed words like “bell” and “operator.”

Lucy Tugboat Plus Bell Tone is the Lucy Had a Tugboat Tone + a couple of rings from Jill’s Ye Old School Bell Tone. I’m not sure which version of the Lucy Tugboat pair I like better. You decide.

Thanks to my girlfriends Ines, Faith, and Hyla for giving a listen in advance (but most especially for the feedback)!

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Drawings Completed for Gallery Crawl “Art Cards”


I ain’t decided on the exact drawings to use for the limited edition of art cards that my residency co-host Encyclopedia Destructica will be printin’ up for me–but here they are.  I’ll probably want input on making the decision fo rthe 10 cards, likely based on potential popularity of the tone + the way the images look.  These are for the *mobile* ringtone performance I’ll be doing at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s July 17th Gallery Crawl.  You can read more about what I’ll be doing here.

Mind you, now.  Some of these tones ain’t been released yet…  Soon!

Do you have a favorite drawing or tone?  Please comment.















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Dawn Weleski’s Dark and Rainy Night Tones

Foley works with Weleski (Photo by Larry Rippel)

Foley works with Weleski (Photo by Larry Rippel)

It was a dark, windy and rainy night when a hooded figure appeared rap, rap, rapping at Encyclopedia Destructica Studios’ front door. That figure was Dawn Weleski, creator, artistic director, composer and librettist of this year’s Bus Stop Opera.  Dawn had Lauren Goshinski in tow, and a few of us were sitting in the dark and talking by candle-light.  We’d pretty much given up hope that any more folks would show up to our rintone recording session due to the power outages around Pittsburgh and  the torrential rain flooding the streets (and numerous basements).


Dawn appeared, saying she wanted me to record a pre-set tone from her cheapie cell phone.  The tone, an electronic drumroll, sounded like gunfire.  I was intrigued.  How was it that the universe (i.e., weather and power outage) cooperated for us to do this recording by candlelight?


Weleski’s bio notes that her “artwork relies on the innate drive of people to play,” and that “her work often acts as a social stress test.”  So it is with these tones.  It was exciting to collaborate with her–to listen to what she brought, and then to throw some ideas back out to her.  What’s clear to me now, about having had the opportunity to work with Encyclopedia Destructica to record ringtones in a studio environment, is that the design of the event heightened elements of play, improv and spontaneous collaboration in really interesting ways (Weleski’s tones and Mickens’ Tones are an excellent example of this approach to making work).

I’ve edited a series of Dark and Rainy Night Tones from the audio produced with Dawn.  They are the scariest tones in the lot so far, and some of the most “pop culture” critical.  What’s with our culture’s fascination with guns?  The first tone, Deconstructing Gunfire, includes Dawn’s original ringtone track, recorded off her phone, and a dissonant vocal improv which she performed with Lauren’s help.  Because the origin of Dawn’s idea emanated from the sound of artificial gunfire as ringtone, I felt I needed to draw out the sound of gunfire, or show the drumroll for what it is when it’s slowed down.  You can see a picture of the edited track below, the first clip is the gunfire tone recorded off of Dawn’s phone.  The next clip of that audio has been slowed down to 50%, the third to 25% of its original speed.  Then I dropped in the ladies’ vocals and brought the ringtone on home with a reversed clip of the guntone playing back at 25%.



Here’s a simple alert signal straight from the ladies’ vocal improvisations.  Short and intentionally not sweet.  I’m calling it Shrill-ert (for Shrill Alert).

This is Dawn’s ScareTone.  Here I added Dawn’s response to my request for her to make sounds in contrast to the gunfire–she described these as “soft mouth sounds.”  The track also includes the sound of chest beating (Dawn used her fists).  Ouch.

The final tone is the repeated sound of a chair with metal legs scraping over a heating vent on a floor.  When I pulled that audio into the editing program, the title for this piece became absolutely clear to me:  Homage to Svankmajer Tone.  Those of you who know the filmmaker Jan Svankmajer’s work will immediately get what I’m talking about.


Thanks to Dawn for coming out, and to Encyclopedia Destructica for expanding the range of tones in the project by opening their doors to a Locally Toned recording session.  It was hard for people to get out that night, in that foul weather, but the tones are super fantastic.

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Hylatone: Tone for Liminal Citizenship


Hyla Willis is one of my project advisers.  She is an artist, faculty at Robert Morris and a member of subRosa.  She came out to Encyclopedia Destructica studios on the very rainy ringtone making night and brought her portable (but pretty hefty) record player and an old Folkways record.  The player was a beaut.  Check out this snake-head needle:



Hyla wanted a “locked groove” ringtone from the end of one side of “Folk and Classical Music of Korea,” produced by Harold Courlander in 1951 during the war.  Here’s the subtle yet sophisticated Hylatone (Tone for Liminal Citizenship).  Hyla said she wanted “to share a sound which will some day become extinct and to evoke a sound of in-between-ness.”  I can dig it.  Thanks for lugging your awesome record player out in the rain, Ms. Hyla!

Hyla's Record Was Also Pretty Special

Hyla's Record Was Also Pretty Special (Photo by Larry Rippel)


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The Destrictitone

Jasdeep and Chris

Jasdeep Khaira and Chris Kardambikis (Encyclopedia Destructica)

Recorded at the open studio ringtone recording session, the audio for this tone was performed by Chris.  He got up on a step ladder and threw several volumes from the 15th Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica onto the floor.

Here’s the The Destructitone!

Thanks to Larry Rippel for the illustrative in-process photo below.  And thanks to Encyclopedia Destructica (one of my residency co-hosts)!


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The Keith Tassick Tone


Here’s the first tone from our Encyclopedia Destrucitica Open Studio ringtone recording session, contributed by Keith Tassick of Highland Park.  Tassick is a talented video maker and a member of the Four Roses.

I handed out forms for participants to fill out that night, and in the line which participants are asked to tell Locally Toned a little bit about who they are and what they do, Keith wrote:  “I work in an office doing work I despise.”  And in answer to:  Why did you want to turn this sound into a ringtone?  Keith responded, “Nearly anything is better than the ringtones that come with the phone.”  For the record, I would also like to add that Keith’s dead-serious humor and generosity in sharing his time and talent with other members of Pittsburgh’s creative community are two things that those of us who know him pretty well might mention about him.

Here’s The Keith Tassick Tone.  Out of all the tones in the bank so far, this is the one I think that Eeyore (of Winnie the Pooh) would set.  Set this tone when you need your phone’s alert signal to chill out.


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Photo Shoot by Larry Rippel at Encyclopedia Destructica Ringtone Recording Session


Locally Toned was fortunate to have photographer Larry Rippel on hand at the ringtone recording session at Encyclopedia Destructica Studios (one of my two residency co-hosts) last night.  Larry specializes in corporate, insdustrial and editorial photography.  He’s also very well-known in Pittsburgh’s arts and culture scene, too, and not just by the institutions that hire him, but by artists of all sorts (sculptors, artists who work with non-traditional media, and musicians) for being an appreciator and supporter of the arts.  His keen awareness of the arts eco-system (what it takes to produce creative work within a community) comes across in his work documenting artists.  I think Larry gets it (and mirrors it right back at us), because he is as talented an artist as he is a photographic technician.

When I saw (on Facebook) that Rippel was planning on attending the session, I wrote to him to ask if he’d consider taking a few pics of me conducting ringtone recordings.  Not only did Rippel take gorgeous photographs that captured the complexity of the activity involved in recording a tone properly (such as this image above of me working with Chris Kardambikis who tossed volumes of the 15th Edition of Encyclopediae Brittanica on the floor for ED’s “Destructitone”), but Larry’s photos are also illustrative of the session’s mood (it was a quiet but very good night, black out and low-attendance factored into the equation).  I am grateful, Larry, for your contribution to Locally Toned.


Hasten to Larry’s blog to see the other wonderful images he captured at Locally Toned’s first-ever ringtone recording session!  You’ll hear his ringtone next week (along with all or most of the others from ED Studios).  If you haven’t figured it out yet, I try to post approximately one ringtone contributor per weekday.


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Two Months Into the Project…

Locally Toned Undies

Locally Toned Undies

Two months into the project, and it’s time to pretend that I’m giving a press conference, and I’ve been asked the following questions (which I’ll gladly answer for you down below [well, really and truly, I need to do this for myself to assess what’s happened thus far, and to keep on top of the project]).

Ms. Foley, how does what you proposed to do during the residency, through your public art project Locally Toned, compare to the experience you’ve had actually working on the project these past two months?

When I wrote the proposal, my goal was to work with 25 individuals and capture 25 ringtones in each of the “production” months (May and June).  I had absolutely no idea that I would encounter people who had numerous tones or ideas for ringtones.  Nor did I realize that I’d encounter environments (such as Patusan Farm) so rich with audio possibilities, that I’d be drawn to capture much more than I’d set out to.

This month I posted 21 new ringtones (though I received many more).  I worked with 10 people whom I ended up profiling on the site (12 if you count the first “Missed Oppor-TONE-ity“).  Other ringtone contributors are waiting in the wings.  What I didn’t account for in the proposal was a good estimate of the time it would take to talk with people about the project, to encourage ringtone “idea” submissions from the public, to blog, to negotiate exhibition opportunities, and to work on the website and project design with my residency hosts deeplocal and Encyclopedia Destructica.  I imagined that April was the month to get the word out (do pre-production) and that May and June would be all field recording/production.  There was so much more I needed to do to garner public interest and participation in the project.  A major thing I’ve learned is that I’m spending 50% of my time on promotional/outreach and project “build out” tasks.

Anything else you didn’t forsee?

Yes–two things.  Firstly,”out of the blue” people who’ve heard about the project don’t seem to feel interested in or comfortable with approaching me (a stranger) to make ringtones.  That has surprised me.  Secondly, in my proposal, I didn’t even mentioned the idea of blogging.

So what do you think is up with the participation issue?

Could be that I’m not doing a good job of getting out the call for participation out to the public.  I’ll work on that in June.  It could be that folks have to see what I’m up to before they decide they want to work with me.  As far as I know, I’ve had three or four “out of the blue” people contact me about making ringtones.  One came through a posting for an Encyclopedia Destructica event, one came from a Town Talk/Radio Information Service listener, and the other two folks–I need to ask them how they heard about the project.  As a media literacy consultant and as a person with an interest in developmental psychology, I suspicion that “mirroring” the ringtone making process is important.  That’s one of the reasons I knew I had to blog.  The blog gives me a means to show and talk about the process, the people I’m meeting, the way the project gets the tones.

And the blog?  You didn’t conceptualize that component in your proposal?

No.  That came about, I’m sure, because of the work I did with artist Ines Salpico within the artist residency program at the Atlantic Center for the Arts (ACA) in February and March of this year.  I submitted my proposal to deeplocal‘s corporate residency program on Feb. 15th, and I left for ACA on the 16th.  Ines and I needed to find a way to document the manner in which we “performed text” and messages through our work at the residency, and we realized pretty quickly that a blog was the way to do it.  The day after I got back from ACA, I found out I was selected as an artist for the Old and New Media Residency program.  I knew that I had to have a means to thank those who collaborated with me and to keep them and other interested parties “posted” on what I was finding and doing and thinking about as the web infrastructure and tone distribution methods were being conceptualized in concert with deeplocal.  The blog was a no-brainer.  People can listen to the tones–and some savvy folks I know have downloaded them.  Others will have to wait (til the site and MMS system is ready, a bit later this summer, to get the tones).

How about project research?  Aside from reading America Calling, what else have you been looking into?

I wish I had more time for research–right now I’m reading Lawrence Lessig‘s fabulously enlightening (and I think important) book Remix:  Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy.  Funny cause I’m pals with Mark Hosler of Negativland, and this morning I was thinking I should ask Mark if he’ll contribute a tone to Locally Toned.  Lessig interviewed Hosler for the Remix (not surprising if you know about Negativland’s book Fair Use:  The Story of the Letter U and the Numeral 2).  Anyhow, I did what Lessig has to say and share about Read Only (RO) and Read Write (RW) cultures.  This is important in relation to my project and important to me as a media literacy specialist.  I’m a firm believer in encouraging more public and active participation in the making of media.  Lessig notes (as others do) that up until now, motion pictures have been for most people, RO culture.  Now that folks have access to the means and tools to make and share media content, it’s turning into RW culture.  Very interesting…  I have a good deal more to read–just started it this morning.

I also read and got a good deal out of The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging.  If you go to google and type in “locally toned,” my blog comes up first.  I learned how to make that happen there!

Okay–this is going on and on–we’d better wrap things up now.  Any last words?

Yes.  I’m excited about some of the tones that will be coming into the project in June–Emmai Alaquiva of Ya Momz House in East Liberty says he has some tones coming my way, and Kennywood has granted permission for me to go out and record audio with another project participant.  I’m beginning to work on a plan to get out and get interest in the project while riding public transport in Pittsburgh, and I’m part of a show at the Pittsburgh Technology Council‘s 15 Minutes Gallery on June 18th, and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust‘s Gallery Crawl on the weekend of July 17th.  In other news, I also had some ladies’ undies and t-shirts for men and women screen printed.  Get yer ladies’ undies!  Get yer t-shirts!

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