Put discontinuities on view

click on images for full-size:

Two eras clashing at Tivoli in Copenhagen

Seeing and crossing the borders

Parking garage in Santa Fe

We could emphasize the fantasy by making it necessary to keep redoing it. We could encourage cross-breedings and crossings and comparisons among fantasies. We might show the ways in which the themed world is not self-sufficient. (Where are deliveries made to Disney World?) We might force the real context onto people from time to time, perhaps by making the simulation ruthlessly complete (for example, provide medieval bathrooms). Or perhaps by encouraging anachronisms (for instance, space age bathroom fixtures inside a medieval hut). Over- or under-theme things. We might encourage penetration of the fantasy by the world around it: let the cell phones ring. Or we might flamboyantly bar the contemporary: confiscate cell phones at the entry, thus assuring that the contemporary world stays present as a lack. (Many of these tactics amount to Stan Allen's suggestion about making the simulacrum function as a reality.) If the place is multi-themed, find ways to emphasize the collisions of the varying fantasies. They make us aware of theme as theme, and help us realize how our lives are wider and more complex in the very act of making a theme possible.

These suggestions sound useful for designing a theme park, but what can we do as passive visitors? But that is my point, we are not passive; even as consumers we stage the experiences of our day, and we can work at emphasizing contrasts and discontinuities, which are going on already as part of what makes the themed place what it is.