Friday, May 22, 2009
With Disneyland's storytelling rides , Walt Disney not only invented interaction with fantasy, but with contemplation and, in an indirect way, with the exact processes of technology.
A traditional Disney storytelling ride is stage to be watched, to be part of and to be awed by all at the same time. Stage becomes life in its most pungent and healthiest characteristic: the reconciliation of extremes, of reality with fantasy, contemplation with action, awe with fun. With this , Disney was also, even if indirectly so, not only playing with the relativity of the real but with that of time and space: the ground to step on is also the ground to act on ; the moments to just have fun are also those to be carried away.
There are direct descendants of this breakthrough in life and in art. In life, it concerns the thematic experience in trivial, everyday contexts, like decorations, parties and celebrations in accordance with a theme, that which, supposedly, immerses one in something like a story line. In art it has been developed in contemporary shows like Fuerza Bruta, which, immersing the audience in its heavenly images, play with the relativity of gravity itself, making stage horizontal as well as vertical or diagonal, close to the ground as well as above spectators heads. The audience, in constant movement so as to be able to see where the action will occur, has also its share of aesthetic interaction and of touch. Another artistic contemporary show that requires the presence of the spectator to reveal effects of beauty and awe, is Olafur Eliasson's display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Like in a Disney ride, you interact with the setting without having to do anything other than bring your presence to it. You can appreciate its beauty, be engaged in the fantasy that is revealed by your simply being there .
Disney, in a few words, planted the seed of "contemplative interaction", that which joins real physical presence with fantasy, aesthetic appreciation with movement, the artificial with the visceral.
Contemplative interaction is the result of a freedom the immensity of which knows no limits of categories, concepts or utility. Textures and colors escape their once fixed type of materiality, objects become other objects, action merges with performance, surfaces loose density and fantasy acquires body.
The time we live in is one that sky and ground can become one and the same. It took roots from the Disney essence.
A little of this freedom will be expressed in what follows. A contrast, rather than a mutual representation, between the evocative nature of the images with the abstract content of the words.