12 pm on a friday night a group of twenty to thirty somethings gather at Machine Project in Los Angeles, Echo Park neighborhood. The gathering took place to see the death of Analog television. Machine Project is a nice size store front gallery space. It's focus is on people working with technology. They promote dialogue over the use of electrics, offering classes and workshops. A pragmatic though crossed my mind. To think that the children born that night will never see a program on an analog television shows the change of a time, a moment. Their parents will tell them stories of rabbit ears and what it was like to not have digital anything. In the store front room crowded with people stood a pyramid of 8 to 9 televisions, in the left corner. We had missed the lecture by Jason Torchinsky at 10 pm.
Earlier in the night my friend Vicky and I meet up with our friends David, Diamond and Joseph at a spot in Silverlake, we moved slowly to Where down the block. Where generally has some kind of event promoting culture. We drank beers that just requested a tip, listening to what Vicky called Hipster Jazz. Three men with facial hair and mod hair cuts performed, drums, keyboard and bass. The gentlemen when they did speak in between songs stand to the crowd of 10 that they were from Long Beach and much cooler then all of us. The music itself was a little unsatisfactory, a bit boring at times. I felt similar to the time I thought seeing Phish would be fun. To loud to hold a group conversation, we simple enjoyed our free cheap beer. David had heard of the destroying of some televisions. It was one of the first things he said to me meeting up with him that night. We all wondered how they would destroy the televisions, lost to the fact digital would martyr analog. We gather the troops to head over to Machine Project.
The sideway in front of Machine Project was covered knee deep with people who were just as interested about the destroying of television. We made our way through the crowd to at least get a peek. The televisions range in size and age. Some from the 50's with the circle knobs that you turn, others from the 80's when it was cool to have a mini black and white tv. The crowd cheers when a television lost reception. Booed when a television came back with info commercials. One by one the televisions turned to fuzz black and white lines, crawling around as if they were ants. It did not take long see the death of analog. We moved outside to sit and discussion what we saw. All five of us had grow up in the 1980's, we were the true tv generation.
Vicky was pleased commenting that we had just witness history. We all agreed. David wished for fireworks and smoke effects coming out of the televisions. It reminded me of how America depicts war in the news. The black and white static was a subtraction for green screen, that lit up from time to time. The death of analog played out how it needed to for me. Two days later I sat working in my room, as the Magic and Lakers played their final game of the season. I was lost to the fact that the Lakers had just won. Downtown LA filled with fans, cheering, creating havoc maybe looting. My roommate knocked on my door, wanting to show me the live news feed on his computer.
Machine Project is located at 1200 D North Alvarado Los Angeles, CA 90026. More information can be found at http://machineproject.com.