le plus loin le plus serré

le plus loin le plus serré
mourning art

in memoriam

"yet I tell you, from the sad knowledge of my older experience, that to every one of you a day will most likely come when sunshine, hope, presents and pleasure will be worth nothing to you in comparison with the unattainable gift of your mother's kiss." (Christina Rossetti, "Speaking Likenesses," 1873)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Magic Kingdom in miniature, OR how my inside mind sees the world

Since one of my dissertation "texts" is Disneyland, I spend a fair bit of time thinking about/reading about/looking at images of Disney parks.  Disney (big corporate monster) launched a blog of their own this fall, and one of the earlier posts on it was this amazing little video of the Magic Kingdom in Florida. It's done using tilt-shift photography, which I have researched and still don't quite understand (my technical cognition skills are terrible). I don't really need to know how they do it, though; the result is awesome. What tilt-shift does is create the illusion of miniaturization - the scenes shot through the day look like they are happening inside a model Magic Kingdom, a tiny, miniaturized version of the real thing. 

The tilt-shift world basically looks like an elaborate dollhouse or model train set come to life. It's amazing and neat and fun, and is worth the two or three minutes of your life it takes to watch the video. Obviously, it's a promotional tool for CorporateDisney, but it's also a very interesting and accurate reflection, I think, of what the Magic Kingdom really is.

Walt Disney was heavily influenced, in his invention and planning of Disneyland, by miniatures: model train sets (he was an avid train nerd), dollhouses and other miniature sets from various fairs and expositions, Colleen Moore's famous dollhouse. He commissioned Disney Productions artists to craft him a series of small miniature dioramas, and at one point contemplated a kind of peep-wall for his park, in which guests would look through a peephole into one of his elaborate miniature sets.

When the park was constructed, it was built to a reduced scale; the buildings are all something like 4/5 of "real" buildings. Walt Disney even describes Main Street as specifically toylike, and goes on to say:
"the imagination can play more freely with a toy"

I've been interested in toys and play worlds, academically, for some time now (and I've been interested in toys and play world personally for my entire life). The rendering of the Magic Kingdom in tilt-shift photography transforms the park back into its originary form: the miniature. It's a lovely visual way of encapsulating my Magic-Kingdom-related dissertation ideas, as well.

and - hmmmm. I detect a paper (conference paper? or dissertation smidgen?) in the works here.

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