[The 90’s raw: Grant Kester on Washington D.C. and interactive television demonstrations]

Raw footage for the award-winning series The 90's. Grant Kester walks around with Becker in a mall in Washington, D.C., and Becker takes a tour through Tech 2000, Interactive TV.

00:00Copy video clip URL At Georgetown Park shopping mall, architecture critic Grant Kester talks about the way architecture works on a symbolic level to represent the unconscious mindset of a city. He uses the example of this new shopping mall, designed to resemble Victorian town streets, as a starting point for his analysis of the new Washington. “The architectural landscape has been altered drastically… A lot of new structures have been built in the last 10-15 years. This is one of those structures.” “Architecture represents cultural values. Early Washington, D.C. architecture focused on historical monuments. Then the focus shifted to the economy with mixed use of shopping malls, etc. Most recently, new buildings evoke the historical detail of the Victorian era.”

04:46Copy video clip URL There is an opulently dressed doll in a glass case in the mall, and Becker interviews some passersby. A woman finds the mall comfortable but upper class. She compares it to her hometown of Pittsburgh, and the couple talk about how they are proud of their history. The man describes the architecture as Victorian. They are eager to talk about Pittsburgh and the changes going on there.

17:37Copy video clip URL Kester and Becker continue around the mall, where Kester describes Victoria’s Secret and Crabtree & Evelyn as representative of Victorian nostalgia. Victoria’s Secret, in particular, is designed like a Victorian bordello with great attention to detail. They attempt to tape inside the store, but they are asked not to, and then they move to Crabtree & Evelyn, which imitates a Victorian apothecary. “The notion of what is being sold here is a history…what our sense of history is becoming is entirely false, it’s a simulation of history… our sense of history is now blurred… by this process of selective pastiche…of ravaging the history of design, the history of architecture to invent a certain kind of ambiance simply to sell products… I think it’s kind of a frightening event, culturally.” They then go outside to compare Victoria’s Secret with another underwear store on F street.

27:11Copy video clip URL A tour of Tech 2000. Becker moves through different galleries, and is shown examples of interactive television (TV that allows the viewer to determine certain choices the characters make), and examples of other interactive programming (laser discs, CD-ROMs, etc). For instance, one display has an interactive drugs and alcohol awareness program that allows you to determine what choices teenagers make at a party. Another display shows automatic options for banks and post offices complete with databases. A computer plays a disc called “In the Holy Land,” chronicling the problems in the West Bank through archival material. The tour guide talks at length about the learning opportunities of this display, as well as a “re-purposed” episode of NOVA. There is an amusing interactive display which acts as speech therapy, and one that teaches business English. He talks about speech recognition systems in emergency medical centers. At the end of the tour, Becker is shown a very early digital non-linear video editing system.

01:51:22Copy video clip URL End of tape.



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