Maybe you remember the sound of a cassette rewinding, a payphone's "We're Sorry" message , the sweet sounds of Tetris on a Gameboy, or even the clicks when dialing on an old rotary phone. If you don't, you're still in for a treat, since the trio from the Museum of Endangered Sounds has preserved these treasures for all to enjoy. We interviewed Phil Hadad, Marybeth Ledesma, and Greg Elwood -- three recent graduates from VCU Brandcenter in Richmond, Virginia -- about their project, and their answers are below.
HP: How did you conceive of this project and why?
ES: Here's how we came up with the idea: We were in a car with two other people. One of the passengers was texting someone with an iPhone and another one was texting someone with a Blackberry. We stopped at a traffic light and the car ride went really quiet for a moment. We could hear the clicking of the Blackberry keys, but the iPhone didn't make a peep.
We addressed this and the more we thought about it, the more we noticed that a lot of our technologies seem to be getting quieter. New TVs don't make the static noise anymore. Connecting to the Internet is silent. Even some automobile engines barely make a sound nowadays. It was just a really interesting idea to us and we wanted to do something about it.
HP: We like that you still use an AOL account (our parent company) as your contact e-mail. Is this an attempt to 'keep it real'?
ES: Yes. The adoption of the AOL account was completely deliberate.
HP: What other things are you nostalgic about?
We're nostalgic about a lot of things. I think what we learned with the Museum of Endangered Sounds is that while certain things can be be nostalgic to a large group of people, each individual's experience of looking back is very personal.
But we think everyone has certain objects that are so connected to particular phases or moments of their lives, that when they encounter those objects or reflect on them, they feel something special.
HP: Do you view this as an art project in any way? It made us think of Rolf Julius' Dadaist-type work, but maybe we're going out on a limb here...
Sure. It's definitely an art project. We just never expected to find such an audience. We can't really say that the work of Rolf Julius had a direct influence on our idea. But indirectly, we wouldn't doubt it.
Try their website out here. You can play multiple sounds at once, creating your own anachronistic symphony.