Hi there, dear reader! Welcome to my blog once again. This week I’ve been on a school trip to Paris!
For our new school project we are tasked to make a ride-like experience in eight weeks. This time we are allowed a lot of freedom in how we work this out, digital or physical, in any way, shape or form. The important thing was that there would be some kind of interaction. With this freedom and rule we were taken to Paris, city of love!
We arrived at Halle Saint Pierre where they had an exhibition featuring a lot of underground art. I some beautiful pieces, but many of them were simply awful. Many were crude and vulgar, featuring people drawn in the most surreal ways. They weren’t crafted with skill, but with an idea. Sometimes I had a hard time appreciating the pieces because I was annoyed by the poor craftsmanship. I believe it is not new that modern art features a lot of artists that work from an inspiration, instead of from skill.
To an artist like me, it feels like you’re being cheated. Yes, learn all of your skills. Yes, study and practice. In the end, you better be a drug addict with sociopathic tendencies, otherwise you won’t be featured in an art gallery. It is true that those people have visions. They look with eyes that see different things. You might say that that is what makes the artist. Some work with little skill, but incredible creativity and yet others with incredible skill and little creativity. I believe the true artist lies somewhere in between. However, it doesn’t work that way in art. People have made pieces that were indiscernable to photo’s. There are works out there that have taken entire lifetimes to perfect. People have seen these works, they know them. Realistic works indescernable with photo’s aren’t that special to look at, but the story behind it is interesting. People like stories more. Stories of pain and suffering, of victory and defeat. But just a painting of something that doesn’t look remotely human? Not that interesting.
I was really inspired by many macabre works of art in the Halle Saint Pierre. Some pieces gave me the idea that the artist had drawn what he dreamt or what made him wake up, bathing in cold sweat. My and my team will probably make a scary game for this project and we certainly found ideas. Later on I tried to capture some of the strange styles that I had seen, but it was really hard. Here two pages from my dummy.
The second day we went to Disneyland in Paris. We had beautiful weather and I had a great time with my classmates. The first thing that I noticed was the scale. Disneyland Paris is huge. It is like trying to fathom the universe. There were roads and shops and little houses and gardens and everything, everything was designed for the visitors. Every nook and cranny was made to give you the real Disney feeling.
Even waiting in lines before every ride was designed to prepare you while waiting, to get you immersed in the setting of the ride. I went to Space Mountain where I had to walk about a kilometer through the dark before I got out into the open again where I got on the rollercoaster.
It was very interesting to see how the rides were built. There was a lot to see that had no influence or meaning to the ride itself, but it added to the experience. The amusement park was perfected to give people the sense that they were someplace else, that they were somewhere where magic is real.
Personally, I didn’t like it that much. I know people have fond memories of watching the amazing animated movies and that people love going on a cool ride in the park, but it didn’t feel it. Everything was very expensive, which is to be expected, but shops were everywhere and filled with low-quality souvenirs and dolls. Every item was a set of a whole, so that it could be collected when people came back for more. This all gave me a bitter taste in my mouth. Nothing felt personal. Everything felt mass produced and sold in batches, like we weren’t in France or even in a magical place, but in an American mall. The Dutch park “De Efteling” does this better, in my opinion. All in all, a great day with my classmates anyway.
The third and final day we went to the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, which is the biggest science museum in Europe. Just like Disneyland, the sheer scope amazed me. I went to the Planetarium exposition first, where I loved to see beautiful paintings and pictures of the galaxy. There were a lot of things about geology and the origin of the universe. I actually learned why scientists believe the universe is expanding by an interactive piece of media. When I learn something, I love it, so the Planetarium was something I really liked.
Other parts were about genetics and optical illusions, both very interesting, but all information on the signs was in French, so I was left with guesses about the facts of most things. Some pieces were interactive and a lot of fun. It was a shame that there was no real route through the assets. We were left to wander around, and because it was so large, I got lost easily.
Some expositions were extra. We had to pay extra to get into these. It felt a lot like DLC for a museum. These were the most interesting. Luckily, I didn’t have to pay an extra dime because of some special circumstances, one time an employee took pity with us and let us into a submarine. The submarine was very interesting to explore, as it was incredibly narrow and filled with all kinds of gears and levers. There also was a piece on games. It was meant for the people who knew little about games, not for a bunch of Game Design students who know most games and pieces there by heart. It was a beautiful building with too many interesting expositions to see! We had about 5 hours there and I felt like I had too few eyes. I love science and I love learning new things, so I had a great time at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie.
After The Ride
After a midweek of art, design and science I was incredibly exhausted and inspired. I rallied my little team the day after to start off early. We will probably make a scary game, which suits a ride pretty well. My whole team has great, interesting ideas and is motivated to get to work on it all. I can’t wait! I will keep the blog updated regularly, maybe not about the project every time. I might get another Fantastic Fictional up, who knows.
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