These images were taken in China both at World Park in Beijing, and Window of the World in Shenzhen. They are both essentially architectural amusement parks featuring scale model versions of some of the world’s iconic buildings or landmarks. I found these parks fascinating on many levels. I saw the absurd mash-up of nations, cultures, and monuments; Big Ben placed yards away from the Arc de Triomphe amongst Chinese high-rise condos standing in the background or the placing of the US Capitol at the foot of Mount Rushmore which are thousands of miles apart. Other oddities arise in the translation of some of the monumental names; in particular The Grand Canyon of Colorado. As a native of Arizona, I found this translation humorous as well as oddly logical as the Colorado River is what runs through the Grand Canyon in Arizona. In addition, buildings like Angkor Wat, which is roughly 213 feet at its tallest point, being constructed to be as tall as I am struck me as overtly humorous.
The question of a person’s experience kept running through my mind as I was traveling between monuments from all parts of the globe. Does a person enjoy the experience more / less by seeing a replica in a comfortable environment while eating a Magnum bar rather than missing the visceral experience of being at the actual Parthenon? After having seen the pyramids at World Park, would a person feel it necessary to travel thousands of miles to experience the authentic sight? And what is a ‘real’ experience? Even though it feels odd to experience the world in this way, is it really any different than going to grab a meal at a Rainforest Cafe with the expectation of experiencing the rainforest? Or going to Disneyland and expecting to experience the Matterhorn by way of a rollercoaster? Although we have many amusement parks in the U.S. that use fabricated places or monuments to augment a ride or attraction, the main thrust of large amusement parks in the U.S. is typically the rides. At World Park / Window of the World, the rides are secondary. Yes, you can sit on a live camel near the Pyramids of Egypt or take a water ride through the Grand Canyon and end up in Niagara Falls but the main attraction is to see the world. For me, both are real experiences but offer very different perspectives.
**All images for this body of work were taken with a Holga.