The frame held a screen flat and clear, thousands of little lights burning beneath it. People need not even push a button to change its display, just touch the face of their tiny, personal digital assistants. In an instant the frame housed a different image, anything ever created or recorded, ancient to postmodern.
When people weren’t around, the frame faded into sleep. The files of paintings for which it was initially marketed rested in waiting, all of them derived from real works locked away, never to be seen in person again.
But the frame was always there and everything was accessible: art from any culture, any year, ever. The frame had everything but in itself was worth practically nothing – a dispensable, replaceable item updated every few years.
Eventually the frame began selling with an adapter that allowed it to be used as a television. Most people used it more often as a television than for its comprehensive library of files. And when they used it as a television, they typically spent more time flipping channels than actually watching anything in particular.
Those who didn’t like to watch television, who used the frame for its primary purpose, often changed the image they kept on display. After all, with all of the world’s art pre-loaded, who would choose only one permanent piece?