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Monday, December 06, 2004
Apologies for the paucity of posts.

Disney's Tomorrowland: then and now (via i like, via basic hip). Could you envisage a contemporary theme park creating a world of tomorrow? On the surface, the theme park is a space dedicated to entertainment, about providing a personal experience. But arguably, the ability to control a large area of space to a degree impossible in the 'real' world makes them intensely political places. Disneyland has its own largely unwritten set of rules (and myths - like the Matterhorn basketball court), explored on this Snopes page (via Jessica) that guests agree to abide by, a code of behaviour that is in addition to the existing laws of the land.

Rampant futurism used to be an integral feature of theme parks, often sponsored by industry giants as a means of promoting their products. The sponsorship remains, but thrill rides based on entertainment commodities are more popular than presentations on the House of the Future. At the other extreme, there is the forthcoming Answers in Genesis Creation Museum, which uses the theme park as a metaphor for a space dedicated to an ideological position (unlike the much-vaunted Stalin World in Lithuania, otherwise known as Grutas Park, is little more than a sculpture garden of Soviet-era monuments).

Today, corporations use the scale and visual language of the theme park as a matter of course. In countries where heavy industry has declined spectacularly, elements of theme park design are used to reinvigorate public interest. The motor industry is especially keen on this; Volkswagen's Autostadt and Audi's Forum are good examples. In cases where the industry has vanished altogether, the theme park remains behind as a memory trace, like Magna (more). Increasingly, designed public space is not social, but political, the physical used to reinforce the mental.

Elsewhere. Hyperkit in Surrey. We almost can't wait until next May for this book: The Modern Movement in Britain / hidden messages and references in the music of Boards of Canada / so, what is electronica, anyway? /Finland looks nice, if cold. It's also where Foe Romeo is based / thoughtful essays at Social Fiction, e.g. Computers, Architecture and the Sun, which speculates that the computer is a direct descendent of the sundial.

Very beautiful views of Italy: their circular life (requires flash) / cartoon skeletons / Capelabranca make delightful cardboard playhouses for kids / sadly, the wonderful Maison Neuve 2004 boxset is only available to people who live in North America / Popgadget, 'personal tech for women' / the 213 things Skippy is no longer allowed to do in the US Army.

More flash fun at Evil Pupil. Like many intensive flash-based sites, I'm not entirely sure I know what's going on. But it's fun, for a while, to watch. There are a host of amazing sites linked in this discussion of 'organic flash' at me-fi. En masse, it's a bit like stumbling into one of those London newsagents that stocks magazines from every country in the world, with shelf after shelf of thick-covered fashion titles, all of which scream for your attention, then struggle to hold it for more than five minutes at a time.

French sites featuring daily images / Fulton Chain has postcards from the attic / posters from Poland / illustration at Scrawl Collective / Opacity, urban ruins.