medium and message – Disney

We are visiting Disneyland – it always fascinates me.

Last night – World of Color – a spectacle.

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N¸rnberg, Reichsparteitag, Lichtdom

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Cathedral of Light, Lichtdom – as Albert Speer, Hitler’s architect, called his great stagings of the gathering of the people before their leaders (the images above are of Nuremberg in 1936).

This is not to say that Disney is fascist, though the Third Reich did aspire to Disney’s magic.

What are the features of this media work, this experience of the crowd, this gathering of attention?

  • the sound systems in Disneyland are extraordinary – ubiquitous high amplification with complete clarity – no space to hear anything else – and it sounds great – as if you’re in a movie
  • and smart – a performer passes by and the speakers broadcast their voice and then fade as they pass by – complete ambient control
  • just as the sound is always around you, the eyes are always on you – the gaze of the cartoon character – as you stare at the spectacle
  • in the chaotic crowd nothing is actually out of place – you are where you should be, and nothing is left to chance
  • the spaces are aurally and materially saturated – as you wait interminably in the crowd, details of the environment divert – no boredom, but complete distraction
  • but there is no distracting narrative to puzzle over – there are only familiar scenario components – “this is bravery”, “this is love”, “this is persistence”, “this is adventure”.

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