Evidence: Dazed Expressions of Children Watching TV

"Evidence" is a short film Godfrey Reggio—you might remember his Koyaanisqatsi—that focuses on the dazed expressions of children watching cartoons. After the jump, take a look for yourself.


Here's what the filmmaker has to say:

Evidence looks into the eyes of children watching television—in this case Walt Disney’s “Dumbo." Though engaged in a daily routine, they appear drugged, retarded, like the patients of a mental hospital. Evidence is about the behavior of children watching television—an activity whose physiological aspects have been overlooked in the current controversy surrounding television.
They certainly look transfixed—lobotomized, even. Yet I have to wonder whether adults might wear similar expressions while watching, say, a filmed performance of a Beckett play or some cannonized piece of television drama like The Wire?

Reggio writes that the film "relates not to programming or software, but to the medium itself." He doesn''t have a problem with films projected onto screens, noting that TV's specific "light impulses" send viewers into an "altered state." For Reggio, the fundamental technology of the appliance, "the cathode ray tube," makes the television a kind of "radiation gun aimed at the viewer," one that controls us and can cause psychological and spiritual problems.

"Evidence" was made in 1995, and I'm pretty sure most new televisions don't use cathode ray tubes. Will history look back on that technology with scorn? Have we seen a shift away from passive viewing (TV) toward interactivity (computing)? Or have we mearly supplanted one form of mind-numbing control with another?

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