What Sound Looks Like

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

Photos don’t necessarily depict scale well, or context for that matter. This doorbell, set as it is inside a small brass frame (brass or some near equivalent disguising itself conspicuously as gold), which is then set inside a second, much larger frame of the same material, is one of two at the entrance to an otherwise modest, two-family home. It is also well over a foot tall. A duplicate doorbell, equally well tended to, burnished and cleaned, faces this one. Neither doorbell is labeled. It’s understood that each doorbell correlates with the door to which it is placed perpendicular. The visual overkill is, perhaps, an attempt to cover up some sizable hole in the wall. More likely it is, quite simply, an attempt at opulence, a bold declaration — bringing to mind one of those pricey designer, logo-emblazoned, leather cases that cost more than the tablet computer they contain. In our age of Internet-connected homes — of doorbells that double as security consultants, of thermostats that aspire to butler status, of audio-controlled centerpieces that consider themselves concierges on the cusp of sentience — this doorbell is the quartz watch of entryway technology. It’s a large expensive block with one technical function, and a simple function at that. It may not do much, but it brings with it some not insignificant authority. Simplicity is not austerity. The owner of this home may not have a state-of-the-art security camera out front, but it quite likely has serious security just inside that front door.

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

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