Watching Socialism: The Television Revolution in Eastern Europe

The Wende Museum
The Armory, Culver City, California
June 23 - October 20, 2019


Organized in collaboration with British-Slovenian media historian Sabina Mihelj and British cultural historian Susan Reid, this exhibition focuses on the impact of Cold War-era television programming in Eastern and Western Europe on private lives. It will demonstrate how television on both sides of the Iron Curtain became incorporated into family homes, everyday life and festive occasions, as well as how television technologies participated in restructuring public spaces and contributed to both national integration and to cementing a sense of global belonging. It includes an installation recreating two “typical” living rooms with a TV set, one taken from somewhere in Eastern Europe, another from the West, to demonstrate both differences and similarities in everyday domestic life with TV on both sides of the iron Curtain. Another section will relate to TV towers as powerful symbolic objects that had a distinct effect on public space, and served as material demonstrations of a country's ability to master modernity.