Usually mobile phones aren’t that welcome in public places like concert halls. Well in 2001 a team of geeks defied that social convention and created an orchestra made out of the people in the audience with their phones set-up to full volume.
Golan Levin, Gregory Shakar, Scott Gibbons, Yasmin Sohrawardy, Joris Gruber, Erich Semlak, Gunther Schmidl, and Joerg Lehner produced a “large-scale concert performance whose sounds were wholly produced through the carefully choreographed ringing of the audience’s own mobile phones. Before the concert, participants registered their mobile phone numbers at a series of web terminals; in exchange, new ringtone melodies are automatically transmitted to their phones, and their seating assignment tickets were generated. During the concert, the audience’s phones got dialed up by live performers, using custom software which permits as many as 60 phones to ring simultaneously. Because the exact location and tone of each participant’s mobile phone was known in advance, the Dialtones concert was able to present a diverse range of unprecedented sonic phenomena and musically interesting structures, such as waves of polyphony which cascade across the audience. Dialtones was presented at the Ars Electronica Festival in September 2001, and at the Swiss National Exposition in May and June of 2002.”