Simone Lueck´s Cuba TV 
Simone Lueck?s Cuba TV - book

Cuba TV

By Simone Lueck Mark
Batty Publisher, New York
80 Pages
8.5 ? 8.5 inches
Color
Casebound


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And now for a completely different take. Out with the scenic old building, out with the beautiful young people and out with the ballet dancers, old cars, tobacco, Tropicana dancers? .It would seem that a book showcasing Cuban televisions ? and not the programs but the television sets themselves would be somewhat limiting.

Actually this book is absolutely illuminating and brilliant in its inception and execution. The introduction reads:
?During broadcast hours, all TVs in Cuba are on, no matter if they are being watch or just serving as background noise. The actual television sets are outdated relics imported from America or Russia close to twenty years ago. Convulsing static pictures in off-color hues, the sets are jury-rigged with computer parts and other discarded technological talismans; they are adorned like religious altars.?

That this happened by chance, as Simone explains that she had ?tagged along with a good friend on a two-week trip to Cuba. I took my 35mm camera and a bunch of film?, makes it more impressive still.


Photographs by Simone Lueck, © All rights reserved.
 
 

In her own words:
It happened by chance. In 2000, I tagged along with a good friend on a two-week trip to Cuba. I took my 35mm camera and a bunch of film. The first thing I noticed in Havana was that the city was dark at night. There were no streetlights, porch lights or living-room lamps. It was pitch black except for the faint colorful glow spilling out of open doors everywhere, and it came from the TVs. The light captivated me. For the next two weeks I wandered around, slipping in and out of strangers' living rooms. Each time I came across an open door and a working TV set, I would ask if I could take a picture of it. The answer was always yes. Nobody seemed to think it was an odd request and it was usually accompanied by a Cuban coffee or rum.

There were some fascinating developments in the living rooms of Old Havana. Many of the sets that I saw in 2000 ? 1980s Russian models and mid-century TVs from the U.S. ? had been replaced with shiny new imports from China. The cheap, new TVs were surrounded by the same vintage fans, rickety ornaments and faded family photographs. It seemed the only thing that had changed was the TV itself.

In Cuba, TV seems to carry even a weightier cultural role than it does in the U.S. During broadcast hours in Cuba, all TVs are on. The TV is on during the day, when it is background noise or the main event. At night, each airing of the latest telenovela is like a sacred viewing party when friends and neighbors gather. My sense is that watching TV is a cherished activity that everyone looks forward to, especially when favorite telenovelas and Hollywood movies are aired. ...

The stories that I take from Havana are mainly in the photographs. I was welcomed without hesitation into so many living rooms, which is telling of the openness and generosity of the people I met. My living room stays were often brief, as I don't speak much Spanish. The encounters consisted of animated gestural exchanges fueled by the ubiquitous cafe Cubano, almost always offered by my host.

People introduced me to family members in framed photographs who had left for the U.S., and who remained perched on top of the TV set. I often watched a little TV with my hosts in between making photographs, because it was a shared experience and almost a form of communication, as we could all react to the broadcast. After a final smile and thank you, I would take off down the street in search of another glowing TV set and an open door.

About the photographer:
I am a Los Angeles based photographer originally from St. Paul, Minnesota. My work is marked by an interest in looking at an American cultural territory colored by notions of identity, performance and glamour. I received a Masters in Fine Art from UC San Diego in 2005. My work has been exhibited in Los Angeles, New York, Tijuana, Madrid and Belgium. I recently completed a body of work featuring older women posing as glamorous movie stars.

The Once and Future Queens has been shown at Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles and Mus?e de la Photographie in Charleroi, Belgium. My first book, CUBA TV, was released August 2nd.
Simone Lueck?s Cuba TV
July 2011
all photographers
  Zoe Álvarez
  Cesar Augusto
  David Bailey
Rafael Bautista
  Ernesto Bazan
  Gianni Basso
  Susan Banks
  Virginia Beahan
  Luciano del Castillo
María Cienfuegos
David Creedon
Rose Marie Cromwell
  Malcolm David
Vincent Delbrouck
  Michael Dweck
Michael Eastman
Abel Ernesto
Johnny Frattasi
Colin Franks
  Alejandro González
Biel Gomes
  Caroline Glasius-Nyborg
  Cecilia Habanera
  Alex Harris
Eduardo Hernández Santos
  Allan Jenkins
Charles Johnston
  Jesper Damsgaard Lund & Lasse Bech Martinussen
  Stelios Karastamatis
Eddy Kohli
Jack Kenny
Kevin Kwan
  Craig Ligibel
  E. Wright Ledbetter
  Simone Lueck
  Marlies van der Meer
Annie Miller
Sandro Miller
  Jeffery Millstein
Omar Miranda
  Byron Motley
Andrew Moore
João Moura
Louise Morgan
  Martien Mulder
René Peña
Jorge J. PĂ©rez
  Brian Phillip
Roberto Polidori
Rebecca Radmore
Claudia Raymat
John Michael Rusnak
María del Pilar Rubí
  Havard Solstad
  Sam Tyler
Richard J. Wiebe
 
 
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