What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt

I’ve hit this button at the door to a friend’s house more times than I can count. Until yesterday, when I was left lingering longer than usual, I’d not ever taken the time to really look at it. I probably look more closely at doorbells I encounter randomly on the street than at the ones I use regularly. When I’m walking, I’m looking. When I arrive, the doorbell is functional. This one’s button has a discoloration that signals regular use, unlike the majority I’ve photographed, their disrepair simultaneously suggesting significant past use and, yet, no current visitations. What really caught my eye this time was the name on the device, which I’d long misread at a glance as Airphone. That’s not what it says. It’s Aiphone, or as I like to think of it, AIphone. The company, founded in Japan, has been making intercoms since the late 1940s. The name reportedly comes from the Japanese concept of “living in harmony,” not “love” as I’d guessed. There’s a certain beauty to the Japanese “ai” correlating with the universal abbreviation for “artificial intelligence.” The origins of Aiphone intercoms apparently relate to a matter of convenience, more than those of security. I like the idea of an AIphone, which reads the face of a guest, checks their security, identifies them, and even chats them up while they wait for the door to be answered.

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.

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