Angela Ndalianis: Las Vegas as a Neo-Baroque City

The Friends of the Gallery Library

Associate Professor Angela Ndalianis

Cinema Studies Program, School of Culture & Communication The University of Melbourne

‘Las Vegas as Neo-Baroque City’

Thursday 29 April 2010, 6pm for 6.30pm

Emerging in the mid twentieth century (when Disneyland opened its doors in 1955) the theme park created the ultimate trompe l’oeil effects that “collapsed the screen frame” by extending the fictional world of Disney animation into the social sphere. In researching the design of Disneyland and how its spaces would reach out to its navigators, Walt Disney learned many lessons from the urban design practices of earlier European traditions, including Le Notre’s axial designs for Louis XIV’s Versailles residence and gardens. But whereas the vast landscapes and buildings of Versailles stood as monuments to the grandeur of their aristocratic patron, King Louis XIV the Sun King, in the twentieth century Disneyland stood as a monument to the nascent Disney corporation and the masses who navigated its worlds. Disneyland and the theme parks that followed aim to produce a networked environment that conjures wondrous spaces that both perform for the audience and which are for performing within. This lecture focuses on these spaces as neo-baroque places of performance and theatricality. While touching upon the theme park and one of its influences – the movie palace – this lecture will focus primarily on the city of Las Vegas as a themepark-city. Epitomising the current rise in developments known as Urban Entertainment Destinations, post-1990s, Las Vegas has transformed the strategies used by the theme park and shifted the sense for the theatrical into the wider social realm. It will be argued that twenty-first century Las Vegas articulates its spaces in ways that rely on a baroque pansemiotic logic that depends on the associative powers of sight.

Bookings essential 03 8620 2331

Cost: Friends of the Gallery Library Free,Guest: $15 (includes refreshments on arrival).

Venue: Clemenger BBDO Auditorium NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road (enter North entrance, via the Arts Centre forecourt)

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