Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Models & Metaphors

The next 5 week project I've been set was based around pulling a few random words out of an envelope a theme and then a context for which to place the theme.

I picked the theme VOLCANO and the context THEME PARK ATTRACTION

At first I thought rubbish volcano and theme park means cheesy plastic boulders and a slightly small unimpressive volcano. So I started having a little look into if it had already been done before. Sure enough it had already in Paramount's Kings Dominion theme park in Virginia, USA



There are also a few videos on YouTube which show the ride but from looking at the pictures I didn’t think it looked that impressive in and in regards to a volcano I don’t feel like it’s a volcanic ride from the videos I’ve seen of it. It does look like fun though.

I thought that one way to tackle this project would be to go this a rollercoaster like this but turn it into more of a ride that a volcano might feel like if you were a piece of magma rushing with the flow of an eruption. With this in mind I sketched a bit of an idea out for a possible ride.


Another idea for an angle on this project was to have the ride like a flight simulator type pod and you could sit there and travel with the magma as it flowed through magma chambers as the magma flows all around you before the volcano erupts then follow it as the pressure forces it to explode from the top and molten lava rains down on the landscape then from the position the pod or the piece of lava you are lands it slowly flows away from the volcano as you see it erupting further. Another thing that could be added on the end of this idea is a sped up process of the ravaged landscape replenishing itself with the landscape growing back to how it was before due to the fertility that a volcanic eruption brings to the soil.

Volcano’s are usually in lush tropical places that could be a good thing to run with in my ideas to set the scene as oppose to climbing up a baron rocky wasteland, just seems a little more appealing visually.

Another idea was a kind of an exploratory journey through a dormant volcano which could go wrong and the volcano erupt. I looked into Catastrophe Canyon at Walt Disney studios in Florida for some inspiration; into creating a trip that goes wrong which I also used YouTube to enlighten me.
After discovering the work of Tony Oursler as well one of my tutors suggested the idea for possible projections of what happens inside the volcano, bubbling lava, possibly how an eruption might happen etc

Tony Oursler is a fine artist whose work mainly consists of sculptural and video instillation pieces such as his works Streetlight where he projects people’s faces onto buildings and other works such as projections of faces talking and interacting projected onto spheres to give a distorted image that engage themselves in conversation and gain an ear of anyone listening.



However after a bit of a think on this idea I decided that this idea seemed a bit soppy as such due to putting people in a position where fear and adrenaline would kick in and drive their response, but due to them not being in physical fear or excited overly the rush would be lacking. I’ve been on a little ‘ride’, using the term loosely down at the sea life on some wannabe submarine or rather a room on hydraulics, down to the depths of the ocean before all going horribly wrong when we were attacked by a giant squid. After that rather shockingly bad experience I wouldn’t really want to put anyone else through a similar scenario. As it left me a bit disappointed as they could have used the space for another tank for more fishys etc.

In my personal opinion of theme park attractions I've always found general walk thought look at this look at that maybe a bit of CG on a screen being trying to educate people a bit boring as if I go to a theme park I want to be blown away by a rollercoaster that’s going to leave me shaking afterwards as its just plummeted me down a vertical drop at 200 miles an hour. Or if I go to the sealife centre I’d go to see the sharks and crazy looking tropical fish. So in comparison to queuing up for half an hour to get on a ride which will last all of 3 minutes but blow you away or walking round a slightly educational themed attraction I'd much rather be blown away then buried in information.

After some consideration of ideas I then went back to the brief for inspiration.
And sure enough the gates opened for possibilities.

‘Digital design offers a rich source of metaphoric uses that capture the sense of ‘Future and Fashion’ for emerging markets and, in more established ones, through the application of illustration of appropriate concepts, the opportunity to enhance their potential and identity. The representation of the product, organisation or service through metaphoric references to its qualities is essential in linking aspects of ‘physical’ identification to a broader range of conceptual connotations.’

Which means:
‘Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only try to realize the truth. ...there is no spoon.’ ‘Matrix’

Or in this case there is no volcano.
Or at least no plastic physically constructed rubbish!

Definition form ‘The St Michael Oxford Dictionary’
-The application of a word of phrase to something that it does not apply to literally, in order to indicate a comparison with the literal usage,
E.g. the evening of one’s life, food for thought, cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face.

So with this in mind my mind was a bit freer to roam, with a metaphorical volcano taking centre stage as the best idea. Tony Ourslers influence seemed to fit like a glove on this idea as I’m now thinking something along the lines of a journey through the volcano as if you were lava but in the form of a roller coaster with projections on smoke and possibly the through some type of tubing with lava like liquid flowing down the tube with you as you go. The ideas a bit more thought out than list last paragraph but this is all I’ve got time to put down as I’ve got to go to work now...
So I’ll see if I can update it more when I get back.

Also I was meaning to post up about my other project I’ve just been given but time wise I spent too much time looking into volcano’s and trying to refresh my memory on the stuff I learned in geography years ago...

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