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Polaroids from installing Buky Schwartz, The Big Video Chair (1987)

Reconstructing Buky Schwartz’s ‘The Big Video Chair’

Museums face unique hurdles in collecting, preserving, and exhibiting time-based media. This broad term—time-based media—refers to film, video, audio, digital, and computer-based art that entails a temporal duration and depends on changing technology. Unstable by nature, these works don’t exist until assembled for display.

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Hillman Photography Initiative

Second Lives: Who Are We in the Virtual World?

People once thought of the Internet as a place we would eventually be able to go. There, we would live second lives, as custom-made second selves, in virtual worlds that held parallels to our real ones. These avatars of ours would go to work in virtual conference spaces, cycle through virtual outfits. We were going to shop at virtual stores, browse lifelike 3-D models of real things. After all, people were already designing and selling virtual goods and virtual pets—and in some cases, making big money from virtual real estate.

Carnegie International

Why We Travel: My Latest Passage to India

I touch down in India and barely recognize the place. From the plane, I see glittering skyscrapers clustering around an airport more spotless and gleaming than LAX or JFK. I look to my side, and there’s Doryun disembarking from an Air India jet alongside a sari-clad woman; there is so much going on that I’m not sure Ingrid’s camera will ever begin to catch it all.

Envisioning Appalachia

American Dream Sequence: Left Behind in the Monongahela River Valley

In his painting The Monongahela River Valley, Pennsylvania, the Scottish-born, self-taught John Kane offers an ode to the ever-growing industrialization in his adopted hometown of Pittsburgh. Painted in 1931, and now part of the collection at The Met, the landscape that Kane captured borders on pastoral. In the foreground, white fog tumbles from smokestacks set against perfect blue skies, while copper-hued factories rise from the banks on either side of the river as if extensions of the soil itself.

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Film and Video

Bored in Pittsburgh: The Obscure Film That Immortalized 1980s Punk

Debt Begins at Twenty by Stephanie Beroes documents a defining moment of the punk music scene that flourished in the late 1970s and early 1980s in Pittsburgh. Dating from 1980, the film is pitch-perfect and has aged incredibly well. It is unusual for any film to survive the culture of immediacy we live in, and as a look back at what was and who we were, this film offers many insights and much delight.

Carnegie International

The Sum of Encounters

There, in Umuahia, on a rainy afternoon, a dead man was moved on a stretcher from the hospital ward to the morgue. The man was the age of my father, whom I was sitting beside. I remember noting, as I glanced at each man, that they radiated a similar serenity.