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 declarationÂ — 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.
Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media
• July 28, 2021: This day marks the start of the 500th consecutive weekly project in the Disquiet Junto music community.
• December 13, 2021: This day marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
• January 6, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
• There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the forthcoming book The Music Production Cookbook: Ready-made Recipes for the Classroom (Oxford University Press), edited by Adam Patrick Bell. Ethan Hein wrote one, and I did, too.
• A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the book The Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning (Oxford University Press), edited by Stephanie Horsley, Janice Waldron, and Kari Veblen. (Details at oup.com.)
• The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm: disquiet.com/junto.
• My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).
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Since January 2012, the Disquiet Junto has been an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making community that employs creative constraints as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list (each Thursday), listen to tracks by participants from around the world, read the FAQ, and join in.
• 0487 / Carillon Quotidian / Assignment: Turn a recurring sound from your life into music.
• 0486 / Earths Days / The Assignment: Celebrate Earth Day on or for another planet.
• 0485 / Strange Weather / The Assignment: Remix the pure sounds of Chris Kallmyer's traveling wind chimes to your own musical purposes.
• 0484 / A Movable Heart / The Assignment: Transplant the sounds of Chris Kallmyer's wind chimes to a new location.
• 0483 / Type Set / The Assignment: Use a recording of yourself typing something as the underlying rhythmic track for a piece of music.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 487 consecutive weeks to date.
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