Disneyland Paris


<GDLP> Sep 4th 2k16

Omg so I have an actual academic interest in rollercoasters. This will be the third time writing about theme parks for The White Pube, mine and Zarina’s art criticism website lol, but they are one and the same, stick with me, cause liiiike -

I went to Disneyland Paris today and yeah it was happy and the floors were shiny; there were toffee-apples and tiny cute princess dresses with sheer glitter capes, gold moon facades and a Big Massive Parade. There is plenty to be said for corporation and utopia; for its architecture, branding, fixation, its cult of youth;;; loads and loads and idc to go there because those are all short thoughts. Instead I want to say that: today, after riding Space Mountain for the first time, a better thesis came together inside my head - of a shape formed from points and rides I’ve felt over years. I realised a better way into thinking about my day at Disney, closer to warm enjoyment and amazement (rather than the easy cynicism of Disney Seducing Kids). Oh hello kids, I think dark indoor theme park rides are spatially powerful and I’m just wondering if anyone else out there does too. I only have youtube comments for company for now. Come join our gang. These rides are fascinating.

Rollercoasters and theme park rides are generally up and through and round in air. There are Oblivions and Traumatizers, and there are slow boat tracks and caterpillar circles, log flumes, and tracks along which you shoot targets with lasers. I’ve realised through my previous writing on the ride experience that what I want from rides is to be physically reaffirmed. Maybe I'm needy, and maybe whiplash is a tether from depersonalisation and virtuality. OR I enjoy adrenaline (probably, yes). And then today happened, and I learnt the rides I find most immanent take the rider around an impossible spatial bowl, below ground, and in blackness. My important academic references for this are: Transformers The Ride 3D (Universal Studios Singapore), Revenge of the Mummy (Universal Studios Singapore), Space Mountain (Disneyland Paris), Rock 'n' Roller Coaster avec Aerosmith (Walt Disney Studios Paris). Because of their fast black hole form, the rider cannot expect their route and movement, cannot ready themselves for inversion or speed. The body is stuck in a violent contemporaneity (I think this is thrill). It is movement that discovers and reveals space - movement does this anyway, always, for all of us, but in the ride manner it is acute, dangerous, immediate, and sensitive. What a weird way to spend our human lives, what a weird situation and verb: for the body to be shot through darkness underground. I scream and laugh, I don’t know where the walls and floors are. The tracks feels too big for the hut I saw outside, the building I queued through - so I figure I must have been taken underground. How deep and far have they burrowed for this machine to stretch and breathe? I think if you haven’t been on any of these rides, you’re still (quietly) there if you’ve ever been sat on the tube wondering how all the tubes are tied together; when do you go over and under, when are you closest to water?

I’m going to hold this shape in my head. Ontological, spatial, body, machine. I want to find books, conversation, exhibition. I’m going to think about the blind Dans Le Noir restaurant in Clerkenwell; Carsten Holler at the Hayward last year. Virtual Reality pretends unreal space, and I love it for that. When I wake up to go to the toilet in the middle of the night, you know I never turn the lights on - I think I know where I am going, and I’ll know if I don’t. I need to figure out why it is important to me, this sense of immanence. I wonder if it’s about the body feeling real and swollen in air, if it’s about handing off to higher-ride-controller-powers. Is it therapy? I wonder about movement and a sense of self. Quite frankly, I wonder if I am losing the plot - but I do feel safe in this being relevant amongst art criticism. These rides have design, intention, history. They work the body. They are formal, and weighted. Shape and colour and character. Yeah. These ideas have a place with The White Pube. The exhibition space has never pulled me apart like a theme park has. I think they should meet. The exhibition would order a coffee, the theme park a large seven-up. I am excited. They have a lot in common. The two could really hit it off.

gabrielle taking a photo with a scrunched up face with an aerosmith rollercoast behind her

the outside of space mountain which is all gold and astronomical looking, pointing into a dome

a close up of the outside of space mountain where there is a sun and a moon and a golden archer