'Civilization of replicas'1:
Disrupting multicultural pretend
Disneyland satisfies… several of the deepest needs in contemporary culture
that are otherwise not satisfied: the need for order, for mastery, for safety, and
for adventure. What is it like to be in Disneyland? We walk down ordered paths
and streets, carefully landscaped and scaled to give us a sense of variety and
discovery. Architectural focal points capture our gaze as we move, pulling us
from place to place. We travel passively through landscapes, on water, on rails,
on wheels, surveying the whole of the contained spaces with a sense of mastery,
a sense of the overall coherence of the total world.
In her visual cultural work Marianne Hirsch (1994) suggests that family pictures 'produce and reproduce dominant ideologies' and typically we enter that viewing of the family picture, like that diverse family in Figure 11.1, expecting to 'perceive what we are prepared to perceive' (ibid., p. 109). Hirsch's theoretical considerations reverberate strongly with my own particular personal and professional concerns as I consider the view (Grimshaw, 2001), what I see of the early childhood 'family picture' as one in which we also quite readily and without assumption 'perceive what we are prepared to perceive' – fixed, stable and happy, static and monolithic ideas we best know and have come to believe and be comfortable with in their various representation(s). In sharp contrast to this stance Hirsch (1994) then suggests that, instead,
we consider how the camera and the image might, in the words of
Jo Spence, be useful for its 'unfixing' rather than its 'fixing' qualities
… Here we must begin to question photographs, asking not what we
think they show us… but what they don't (can't) show us.