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Saturday March 16 | Session 13:15 - 14:45 (20 min)
De Brakke Grond | Grote Zaal


Wade Hollingshaus is the chair of Brigham Young University’s department of Theatre and Media Arts. He holds an M.A. in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. in Theatre Historiography and Performance Studies from the University of Minnesota. He is a Core Convener of the Performance Philosophy research network. He is the author of Philosophizing Rock Performance: Dylan, Hendrix, Bowie. Further work has been published in Theatre Topics, Scandinavian Studies, Review: The Journal of Dramaturgy, and The Journal of Finnish Studies. His new book project discusses musician Peter Gabriel and the theatricality of his work.
While the broad appeal of Real World Experience Park will be entertainment, Peter Gabriel and his co-creators hope that the theme park makes a more profound intervention into the world. Gabriel first began plans for the large-scale theme park in the early 1970s, drawing inspiration from (1) the artistic works that have influenced and been influenced by his own artistic production, (2) his fascination with developing computer technologies, and (3) his participation with new age health practices and technologies (eg. Silva Mind Control, Erhard Seminar Training, biofeedback machines, flotation tanks) and also.

For Gabriel, Real World aspires to much more than entertainment. His hope is that it has a transformative effect on the life and consciousness of its patrons.

This is particularly clear in his integration of the new age components that he personally explored through the 1970s and early 1980s. Gabriel was never one to experiment with altered consciousness through drugs, but he actively engaged in therapies and technological apparatuses to push the limits of his consciousness. My paper considers how Gabriel implements these practices into his plans for the Real World Experience Park and how it feeds into the ideological foundation for the park at large and how the park “thinks.” Calling the park, “Real World” suggests the performance/presentation/installation of a world other than what is ostensibly our real world.

But with this comes a host of questions, questions regarding the limits of “the world” and the possibility of worlds within worlds, questions about states of consciousness and how altered states relate to “worlds” and “worlds within worlds.” Real World Experience Park provides a unique parsing of these concepts and the landscape that results from this parsing constitutes a mode of thinking, a performance philosophy. My paper begins this parsing.

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