Framing History

One of the world’s greatest media museums sits just across the river from my apartment. Its name is the Museo Nazionale del Cinema (National Museum of Cinema.) Located inside Torino’s Mole Antonelliana, a 19th century building originally designed to be a synagogue, the place still has something of a holy purpose. Especially for an LA native, like me.

One of the things the museum does best is to recreate the physical environments that have come to define our viewing experiences. It’s a curious point of emphasis, one which I take a great deal of pleasure in being reminded of, as someone who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s. When it comes to watching TV, where we view it is oftentimes as important as what we see.

Unlike today’s living rooms, where big screens tend to be the central focus of everything, here the television plays a smaller role. It is part of a larger visual experience, which includes lighting, visual art and color-coordinated furnishings. Everything plays an equal role. Imagine how such interiors, however exaggerated with the passage of time, once impacted our viewing experiences. I like what that communicates, as much as I like TV.

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