Feb 16, 2017

Captivated by ¡Cuba!

On Monday, I visited the American Museum of Natural History to see a new and wonderfully curated exhibit, ¡Cuba! It is co-curated by Ana Luz Porzecnski, director of the Museum’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation and Chris Raxworthy of the Museum’s Department of Herpetology. Upon entering the exhibit, you walk past several vertical banners that contain testaments of Cuban people who express love for their country but at the same time convey that it hasn’t always been easy. Structured as a Cuban street with “stores” that function as smaller portions of the exhibit, it’s a wonderful exhibit that makes you want to hop on the first plane and discover Cuba in person.

As a moving image archivist, my one and only gripe is the main moving image display in the exhibit towards the beginning. Aside from the fact that the video crams the entire history of Cuba into seven minutes, it stretches the archival footage in the video to an uncomfortable 16:9 aspect ratio. This footage was created long before the 16:9 aspect ratio came to be and should have been presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio. Several of the images were low resolution and stretching them out only made them worse.

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