M. ARCH I
hyperreality, Disneyland, wasteland, dark program, sustainable energy, politics, climate, education, global environment, architecture
This thesis deals with hyperreality as a key concept to reassess contemporary socio-cultural conditions. Jean Baudrillard once described Disneyland as one of the main examples of hyperreality. By presenting imaginary as more realistic than reality itself, Disneyland draws visitors into the world of escapism and happiness achieved through simulation; it makes the troubles of the real world less relatable. If we wear glasses to view Disneyland more closely, however, we might see many issues behind it. Dismaland is an important reference in this thesis. When asked about the idea and inspiration for his Dismaland project, Banksy stated, "theme parks should have bigger themes." This obscure and cryptic statement can be read as a critique of consumerism, and a society oriented towards spectacle and entertainment, careless about the big political and social issues of our age. Dismaland is a wasteland, a graphic and abrupt visual depiction of what we are already doing to our planet, and what might happen if we don't collectively change our behavior. It is hopeless and depressive, but our social surroundings are not so different if we decide to take off our Disney glasses and take a real look at the world we live in.
This thesis proposes using the fame of Disneyland and what it presents to us, to create a new Disneyland in New York City, but with a "dark program" that will show the opposite of Disneyland, drawing people's attention to those dark issues. The project introduces five issues in the dark program: politics, climate, sustainable/energy, education, global environment. Each of the attractions relates to one of the dark issues.
As architects, we might not be able to change everything, but architecture can affect society, and we have the responsibility to use architectural language to draw people's attention, to let them rethink the world we live in.
Wang, Lina, "Reshaping Reality: From Disneyland to Dismaland" (2018). Architecture Senior Theses. 454.
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