Monday 18 January 2010

Locally Toned in Berlin

Locally Toned
is artist T. Foley's public art/original ringtone creation project. A not-for-profit venture, that involves individuals in the creation of original ringtones, and provides the free tones to the public via a website and MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) distribution. Utilizing the airspace as public property for purposes of sonic transmission, the work performs itself when participants receive calls on their cell phones. The goals of the project are technological empowerment, community service and the substitution of a system of shared creativity for one of commerce (the distribution of music industry ringtones).

Public art through service to the community, Locally Toned exists as a series of production, promotion and distribution interactions between the artist and the public, collaborators and varied communities. New social interaction spaces (physical and cyber) are created around the making and sharing of these tiny aural documentaries, sonic momentos, and soundscape snippets, which serve as audio identifiers for members of various communities. Collaborative experiences are documented on the project blog, and tones are pinpointed on a Google Map embedded on the tone distribution website.


Artist T. Foley seeks collaborators for the creation of a new series of Berlin-based ringtones for her public art project Locally Toned. The new series of homemade tones, produced during the U.S. artist’s residency for S.LOW, will answer the question, “What does Berlin sound like?” MP3 files from the Berlin residency will be made available to the public by the end of September 2010.

Open Studio Ringtone Recording Session
What does Berlin sound like? You! Bring your robots, moo-cow toys, drums, rattles, harmonica or voice, and your super-bad self, and MAKE YOUR OWN TONE! S.LOW will provide an appropriate space and minimal collaborative support for the session; the artist will provide the technical know-how and all recording equipment. Audio content must be copyright free (i.e., original compositions or sounds which exists in the natural world). Tone duration will be 30 seconds or less. Participants at this session will be photographed for possible inclusion in project exhibitions and archives. Tones will be made available to the public (as MP3s) by the end of September 2010 at

Independent Tone Seeking Expeditions
The artist will independently conduct Berlin Tone Seeking Missions as desired, venturing out in the field with her recording equipment to capture audio for the Berlin-based series of ringtones.

Ringtone Reconnaissance Missions by Appointment
Locally Toned artist T. Foley, equipped with all her recording equipment, will be available for Ringtone Reconnaissance Missions with the general public. Appointments may be scheduled in advance with the artist, via email (

Locally Toned Office Hours on TAKE ME TO YOUR RINGTONE Days
On TAKE ME TO YOUR RINGTONE days, the artist will be available for “check out” from S.LOW-affiliated spaces for audio reconnaissance missions with the general public. During designated office hours, Foley will wait at a desk, prepared to accompany members of the general public to directly to sound sources in Berlin for a ringtone field recordings.

The artist provides the technical know-how and equipment. Tones may be humorous, serious, ironic, musical, machine-based, or come from nature. Potential audio sources must have a high likelihood for being successfully and safely recorded by the artist. Participants agree to accompany the artist on locale to conduct field recordings that will be turned into a cell phone ringtones. Participants will be photographed for possible inclusion in Locally Toned project exhibitions and archives. Tones will be made available to the public (as MP3s) by the end of September 2010 at

Electronic Submissions of Audio to the Locally Toned Berlin Series
The artist will accept electronic submissions of audio files (.wav or .mp3) for possible inclusion in the Locally Toned Berlin Series. Audio clips should meet the following criteria:
1) Audio content must be copyright free (i.e., original compositions or audio which exists in the natural world). 2) Tone duration will be 30 seconds or less. 2) Tones are to be shared with others, so content should not be too personal. For example, a recording of someone’s mother on an answering machine saying, “Pick up the phone, Fred, I know you’re home!” won’t work. But, “Pick up the phone, I know you’re home!” could work as a ringtone that many people might wish to own. Questions? Contact T. Foley via email (


Locally Toned will Travel to Berlin this summer thanks to an Artist Opportunity Grant from the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council.