Mobile Mobile: Upcycled Phones Make Music

To cut a long story short, after a company-wide upgrade the agency had a lot of old mobiles gathering dust. Lost Boys International took these, built and hoisted a gigantic interactive chandelier/mobile that plays christmas jingles in their reception area.

When no one interacts with the sculpture, it plays “Carol of the Bells”. But you can also play with it. You can control it through this website or you can send a tweet with #lbitree and it will react to it.

Given some upcoming projects that we’re going to be tackling are going to be a bit more technology intensive, and in one instance is actually going to use cell phones (though not in this capacity), I thought I’d post it to add to the research archives. What’s really great is that LBI creative director, James Theophane, offers a quick breakdown of how the installation works, well worth a read to get an idea of some of the magic behind the installation. Also interesting is the Ning project site that was used by the folks making the installation as it happened in real-time.

[via today and tomorrow]

Tree Museum: Public Art by Katie Holten


Kind of strangely, I read about this project in the New Yorker and momentarily confused it with Canada’s Tree Museum, but ultimately thought it was worth noting given a recent conversation we had with Edwin who came by our Office Hours last week about a potential audio-based community project.

The video above describing the Holten’s project is kind of brutal (especially the soundtrack), but it gives a good idea of the way it works—acting as a kind of series of stops on a museum tour, with a variety of trees being the markers in each neighbourhood.

100 trees give voice to 100 perspectives featured in the Grand Concourse’s TREE MUSEUM. Irish artist Katie Holten created this public art project to celebrate the communities and ecosystems along this 100 year-old boulevard. Visitors can listen in on local stories and the intimate lives of trees offered by current and former residents: from beekeepers to rappers, historians to gardeners, school kids to scientists.

You can call 718-408-2501to access the audio guide.

Wonderful Windsor Ringtone (updated!!!)

Windsor and Detroit from above circa 1960

You love Windsor, don’t you? Well, show your Windsor Pride by putting this ringtone on your phone! The zip file has an iPhone-ready m4r file along with a standard mp3 file AND NOW a MIDI version for any other phone not mp3-enabled. Preview the 25 second ringtone below:


If we could get someone to re-compose this melody in MIDI (thank you to Derek Harrison for transcribing the tune to MIDI), I’d challenge the entire city to use this ringtone for a week. Credit goes to Steven for originally coming across this song some time ago. From what I was able to find out about this, it was a 1960s radio jingle that used to be played on CKWW. Maybe you could also use this aerial photo from Windsor / Detroit made sometime in the 1960s.

Transborder Immigrant Tool

Transborder Migrant Tool

Hundreds of people have died crossing the U.S./Mexico border due to not being able to tell where they are in relation to where they have been and which direction they need to go to reach their destination safely. Initiated by Ricardo Dominguez, co-founder of Electronic Disturbance Theatre and a former member of Critical Art Ensemble, Transborder Immigrant Tool is a cellphone-based software application being developed using the Virtual Hiker Algorithm created by artist Brett Stalbaum to guide immigrants across the US/Mexico border as safely as possible.

I recently saw Ricardo speak at the inter(discplinaries) conference, which was rather incredible, and he mentioned this project in some greater detail than what I’d seen online. This project in particular struck my interest a while ago on my Internet travels, and I’ve been meaning to post about it, but was only recently reminded by the post on Networked_Performance.