2017, Sat, Dec 16

Alexander Keefe: The Living Arts of Ancient TV: Indian Culture and US Television, 1955

The New York Times marked Nikita Khrushchev’s 1955 visit to India with an anxious analysis of the Soviet cultural influence in Asia, concluding that the US had fallen behind on the promotion of cultural exchange. The first part of Keefe’s lecture on modern museums, media tie-ins, and made-up worlds takes a close look at two instances of “ classical” India as presented on television, with a special focus on the starring role of Shanta Rao, who was once the cultural Cold War’s most filmed and photographed representative of Indian dance. The second part of the lecture flips the teleplay, and ships the idiot box off to India—to the 1955 Indian Industries Fair in New Delhi, where the US pavilion featured a fully functioning TV studio and mock-up nuclear reactor.

Part of the conference Freedom in the Bush of Ghosts