The American Home as Focus of The Cosmos

Posted: April 11, 2019 in Uncategorized

The famous 1977 short film by Ray and Charles Eames. I distinctly recall seeing this as a kid.

  1. Parker Law says:

    I actually remember my teacher showing me this in middle school biology. Back then, it was incomprehensible to me how large the universe is. The day we watched that was everybody’s favorite class of the entire year because our teacher was not the best at giving enjoyable lessons, so having a class that was significantly less boring was great. It does a good job of describing how big and small our perspectives can get. It also gave me more of an understanding when I was younger on how much a billion dollars is because of the powers of ten. The Simpson’s video reminded me of how not only do The Simpson’s writers often give their takes on past events, they have also been unbelievably accurate at predicting future events, such as the Donald Trump presidency, smart watches, and a United States Olympic Curling gold medal. Smart watches and the gold medal could have been fairly easy to predict just by matter of coincidence, because those are things that would have seemed very likely when the episodes were made, but the Donald Trump presidency one is still unbelievable to me.

    • This film made quite an impression on me too when I first saw it. For the educational short it is, this film made a very large impact on the American public, and still does. As I use the word ‘impact’ I think back on all the bombing metaphors which appear in Colomina’s article about the Eameses. She’s very clear in her contention that this film could never have been made without technologies developed for WWII bombing raids and Cold War satellite surveillance. As I tried to suggest in class, after war the US bombardment did not cease. It’s simply that explosive ordnances were replaced by images and information. The new battlefield had become the media, and the image in terms of which it was fought was the American nuclear family and its domestic setting. Consequently, the implicit message conveyed by The Powers of Ten is that the American nuclear family is the focus of all macro and micro space, of the entire cosmos. The fate of the entire world depends on keeping the American family intact, and that depends on policing the current extremely restrictive gender roles.

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