Just as most perversions emerge from half-remembered pasts (either our own or imagined pasts). Just as most fetishes colonize the recently obsolete (canes, stockings, dungeons and so on). So it was for the idea of work. The freedom that technology and economic structures gave us, it turned out, also alienated us from the act of work. And we found ourselves trying to fill that void with things that could give us a sense of realness. The great authenticity drive, the great leap backward.
It began innocently enough: Artisan loaves and heritage tomatoes on the menu, the uninvention of the derailleur gear on bicycles, city traders retiring at 30 to become beetroot farmers, gigantic summer festivals with primitive facilities from which you would return dazed and caked in mud back into that place we thought of as modernity, referenda whose subconscious dream was to turn back time to an imaginary past.
Obsolescence didn’t consign things to history. Instead, released from utility and purpose those very same actions gained symbolic and ritualistic importance.
Had we seen this before? Wasn’t this just the same dream as William Blake’s Albion? Or William Morris post-revolutionary Neo-Medieval London? Or Banham’s techno-rural Environment Bubble?
Well, yes and no. These were all moments when, faced with ultimate modernity (the industrial revolution, the heights of Victorian industrialism, the white-hot heat of technology, when looking backward offered a different way of moving forward. But this was also different. Those past dreams of the past were to varying extents political – visions of whole societies.
This was different, now that modernity was all-pervasive – had colonized the very air that we breathe with its electromagnetic pulses, where even the most remote corners of the planet had been remade as dream destinations, these new dreams of the past were existential, not even spiritual. They were there to fill our own internal voids, the gaps within our sense of personality that we filled with mindfulness apps and celebrity yoga classes. This wasn’t a revolution or a journey of self-discovery. It wasn’t political or cosmological.
It was less than that: A reenactment of a thing that we couldn’t remember. Performance in both roles and actions. Released from purpose, utility and from progress, we could finally just perform: the action not the act.
Starting from a text by Sam Jacob, we tried to tell a story of these rituals of the habitual. We conceived the luna park and the carousel as the formal expression of an ephemeral satisfaction, in contraposition to the ordinary life. For this reason, we chose the carousel as an allegory of the ephemeral needs. The big carousel is a nomad structure, that goes once a year all over the world. It is designed as an event-maker, a centralizer of temporary entertainment for all the people who want to replace their sense of void. It’s a machine of fun, made of different levels with different amusements, a transposition of illusions. The itinerary goes through different activities and spaces overlapped: a thin and tall leg, a stomach made of a roller coaster in a huge and mysterious cave, a pulsating and rotating heart made of an exciting wheel, two strong arms that stand out from the body with a crazy frisbee and an aeroplane for a fabulous flight experience. Finally a big globe with a chairoplane as the head of the monster. This structure is the materialization of temporary fun and of the ephemeral. Join this fantastic experience and forget for a while your problems, just think about having fun.
“ENJOY YOUR RITUAL”
Tiziano De Venuto, Marco Galloni