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Housing Television: Architectures of the Archive

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This essay explores the cultural logics of television archives by looking at the architectural designs of buildings that have housed TV collections since the early 1960s and by tracing this to the more recent viral architecture of Internet sites on which people post clips of old TV shows and programs. In particular, the essay examines how the television archive (often constructed through modernist and postmodernist architectural designs) has historically been a place that expresses fantasies about the future (both of the media and of American society more generally). At the same time, the essay explores the seemingly opposite impulse of nostalgia for vintage television (and the baby boom era more broadly) that structures archival collections both in physical archives such as the Paley Center and on online sites such as YouTube.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Radio/Television/Film, School of Communication, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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