Saturday 8 December 2012

Echoes of the past ring true in sound museum

The online Museum for Endangered Sounds stores long-forgotten gadget-based audio for today's networked generation.

Brendan Chilcutt wears oversized glasses and glances over his shoulder as he types.

"Imagine a world where we never again hear the symphonic startup of a Windows 95 machine… the textured rattle and hum of a VHS tape being sucked into the womb of a 1983 JVC HR-7100 VCR," he writes.

Chilcutt? Yes, Brendan Chilcutt. He is a fabrication, a "nerd mascot" dreamt up by three advertising students in their mid-20s who met at Virginia Commonwealth University's Brandcenter.

"Where will we turn for the sound of fingers striking QWERTY keypads? Tell me that," Chilcutt writes.

"And tell me: Who will play my GameBoy when I'm gone?"

It is this question which haunted the trio - Marybeth Ledesma, Phil Hadad and Greg Elwood - who came up with an idea to create an online museum for "endangered sounds".

The homepage of the Museum of Endangered Sounds houses audio clips and memories from many a long-forgotten childhood.

The museum, which started as a fun extracurricular project, was born out of a late-night snack session.

"The idea all started when we were on our way to a restaurant. Everyone was texting on the way there, but you could only hear Marybeth because she didn't have a smart phone. We heard her clicking while our texting was silent," explained Hadad, a 28-year-old from Boulder, Colorado.

"It was like an epiphany, because we realised how technology today is so silent and sleek. Then we thought of the opposite - how loud technology was when we were growing up," Hadad, a copywriter at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, told Al Jazeera.

Read more here.

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