Nothing says “old school” like owning a classic television set. But the number of living rooms glowing with square, flickering black boxes, seems to be shrinking. The dinosaurs that once brought us Bonanza and The Ed Sullivan Show have largely been replaced by computers and other modernized screens. Why have so many of us kicked our former TV-dinner companions to the curb? This is just one question that led KPCC’s John Rabe to pay photographic tribute to old-fashioned TVs. Rabe, host of KPCC’s Off-Ramp and an avid photographer, has a new exhibition at Bermudez Projects
in Downtown LA. The “Vast Wasteland Project” features more than 30 framed photos of discarded televisions. The nostalgic images seem as old as the TVs themselves because Rabe took them using the Hipstamatic i-Phone app to create a Polaroid-like feel. It also includes audio of the “Vast Wasteland” speech former head of the FCC Newton Minow gave 50 years ago. In that legendary address, Minow described what was on TV as a vast wasteland that did not serve the public interest. “What began as a metaphor for programming has become a physical reality in LA’s streets and alleys,” says Rabe. What did you do with your old television set?