Blended Review: Museum of the Moving Image
BY GRACE PREWITT
Museum of the Moving Image is one of the many undiscovered treasures that New York has to offer. You'd think that a museum dedicated to film, television, and video would be all the rage, but the museum is far less popular than classical art museums like The Whitney or even Cooper Hewitt.
This week, I went to the Museum of the Moving Image, which is located in Astoria, Queens just about a mile away from my apartment. I've actually known about the museum for some time, but never took the time to go. Soon I learned just how much I was missing out on. When I got there, I was immediately impressed by the clean and overwhelmingly modern architecture. The walls of the museum are white, but many of them are painted with video projections. There are even a few theaters throughout the museum that play films at certain times.
The first exhibit I entered was The New Genres: Video in the Internet Age. This exhibit is running until September 2, 2018 and is located on the second floor. New Genres focuses on the increasingly changing way that we encounter, create, and share the moving image. With around one million videos being posted online, most of these videos have a difficult time adhering to the traditional video genres, such as westerns, musicals, and sitcoms. Essentially, the Internet has done an incredible job at making new genres that we experience in our daily lives.
Visually, the exhibit features multiple screens throughout the room that provide different examples of new video forms that we experience today. Each screen is paired with one or two sets of headphones to allow for a truly immersive experience. Among the new genres are participatory videos, such as the viral challenge videos and those that "Songify" footage with seemingly unrelated audio. The exhibit also shows DIY videos, as well as the "Oddly Satisfying" videos that we all love to watch on YouTube. You know, the ones where they play with fun colored goop or pop huge zits.
Perhaps my favorite though, was the genre "Identity." These videos are deeply interconnected in our social media environment and have become a way in which we perform our identities, connect with those like us, or learn from those that are different. I was particularly impressed with the level of diversity included in this exhibit. Among the videos included in the "Identity" genre were "Things Only Trans Guys Understand," "Sounds Every 90's Kid Will Remember," "Meet Your First Black Girlfriend," and "Things Asian Parents Do." I thoroughly enjoyed each video I saw and it seemed like, for the first time, I was able to piece together these increasingly important genres that are sculpting the way in which we interact with video, the Internet, and each other.
The next exhibit I entered was Behind the Screen, an ongoing exhibit also located on the second floor. This is the core exhibit of the museum that engrosses visitors in the creative and technical process of film, television, and other digital entertainment. The exhibit includes wigs, makeup, and costumes from some of our favorite films, such as the mask and costume Robin Williams wore in Mrs. Doubtfire (1993). Additionally, there were some scripts on display, including a few pages from Taxi Driver (1976), which took my breath away. There was even a room dedicated to arcade games, which can be played using a coin dispenser located in the room.
As a devout lover of film, television, and everything in between, I was shocked that I hadn't come to this museum sooner. The New Genres: Video in the Internet Age exhibit brought modernity whereas Behind the Screen provided a perfectly traditional look at the moving image. If you're traveling or looking for something to do on your next day off, I say skip The Whitney this time and visit Museum of the Moving Image. It's quite refreshing, and quite interesting.
10:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
10:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
36-01 Avenue (at 37 Street), Astoria, NY 11106
Adults (Ages 18+) $15
Seniors (Ages 65+) $11
Students (With valid ID) $11
Youth (Ages 3-17) $9
*Museum admission is FREE on Friday’s from 4:00-8:00 p.m.
Lead Image Credit: Grace Prewitt / BLENDED