The French Time Machine

It’s certainly not a time machine, but I guess it’ll have to do for now. Santa Monica’s Getty Center is allowing art fans to jump back to a time in France’s history where Americans had yet to become the target of national ire and Catherine Deneuve had yet to be born, let alone grace the cover of French Vogue. Through Nicole Cohen’s interactive video installations, passersby experience 18th-century France via image-layering and live video manipulation. “Please Be Seated” combines footage of 18th-century French interiors, sourced from the Getty and several French museums, with live video of museum visitors, allowing them to virtually enter this bygone era — but sparing them the lack of running water, industrial pollution, and Bonaparte’s dictatorial whims.

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