locally toned

socially engaged art project, 2009-2013

Through this public art/original ringtone creation project, I worked with collaborators to capture sounds that were important to them. I turned the sounds into ringtones, and shared the content free of charge at locallytoned.org. The tones were representative of collaborators’ personal experiences, environments and/or geographical regions; they were also tiny audio documentaries which played back over cell phones. 


Unlike more traditional works of public art (such as murals and sculptures) that reside in fixed locales, Locally Toned presented itself elusively, at unexpected times and in unexpected places, when users received calls on their cell phones. The goals of the project were technological empowerment, community service and the substitution of a system of shared creativity for one of commerce (the distribution of music industry ringtones). 


Additional aspects of the project included:


Blog, where I shared photographs and stories about the project participants, and their sounds;


Ringtone Recording Sessions, scheduled with individuals or groups;


Ringtone Art Cards (photos, right), which I wore and distributed during my *Mobile* Ringtone Performance; and


Public interventions, such as my *Mobile* Ringtone Performance and a Human Billboard Intervention (photos, right), to promote interest in or engagement with the project.


Most of the ringtones were recorded in Pittsburgh, PA. I also worked with collaborators in Baltimore, MD; Bridgeport, CT; Valencia, Spain; Berlin, Germany; the Yucatan region of Mexico and Alberta, Canada. 


The project was initially realized and supported within Deeplocal's Old and New Media Residency program (with additional support from co-host Encyclopedia Destructica). It was also supported by The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Fine Foundation, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. Scott Davidoff, my partner, currently provides and maintains the technology behind locallytoned.org.