Sunday, January 31

sx | alice in wonderland research

For my research I watched the version titled "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" from 1972.  I found that the script was very close to the original book by Carroll, so it was a nice refresher. The set designs were amazing. It really makes me want to build models. Some things I noticed about the set designs were use of color and layering. The colors throughout the entire film were very soft, which helped the overall surreal vibe of the story. The colors also changed after important shifts during the story. The enviroment was made up of materials that looked flat like plants could have been made of paper, but it was layered so that it would appear more dimensional. I really like that approach to creating something surreal / imaginative. It's also interesting because this style has recently become more popular, like in Allison Schulnik's claymation work.

"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" from 1972:






Allison Schulnik's claymation:




Of course & as usual when I watched it... I initially respond to the visual / design components. But conceptually, this story can be read as a child's loss of innocence. I am uniquely drawn to the the caterpillar scene which illustrates Alice's loss of identity. (which signifies that at this time she has hit adolescence) 

"It's quite obvious I've changed, I'm not the same person I was yesterday." -Alice 

Figuring out your identity and who you truly are is a struggle that everyone can relate to. Once you define yourself as an individual, you are constantly aware of how you are suppose to act in certain situations. One idea I have is to create a space that does the reverse of this. For adults, but create an experience that takes them back into childhood and that mode of thinking. I love the details of labeling "drink this" and "eat this" onto refreshments. I want to try and prompt adults to forget who they have become and just act on playful impulse as they did when they were children.  

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"Who Are You?" "I —Hardly Know."

As Alice progresses through her dream, she loses her sense of identity, just as most people do when they hit adolescence. “When the Caterpillar asks Alice, 'Who are you,' and Alice can barely stammer out a reply, `I—hardly know' then Carroll is exposing the quintessential vulnerability of the child whose growth and knowledge of self and the world vary so greatly from day to day that a sense of answerable identity becomes highly precarious if not evanescent” (Frey). At this point in the story, Alice has reached an age where she has lost her identity: that is, adolescence.
“In the industrialized world, children must find themselves on their own… they attempt to carve out an identity that is distinct from both the 'younger' world being left behind and the 'older' world that is still out of range,” (Henslin). The caterpillar doesn’t ever give Alice any direction, and she is now forced to find out who she is on her own.
“[She] is rarely aided by the creatures she meets. Whereas in a tale of Grimms or Andersen or John Ruskin, the protagonist's meeting with a helpful bird or beast would signal his or her charity toward the world or nature” (Frey). In Alice in Wonderland, unlike other fairy tales, the story represents a child’s true progression through life. In real life, in the industrialized world a child has to figure things out on her own.
In sociology, there is a stage called transitional adulthood. This is a period where young adults “find themselves … young adults gradually ease into responsibilities … they become serious” (Henslin). By the end of the story, Alice learns to deal with her problems, and gains sight of her identity. The queen, who loses her temper and wants to kill Alice, is the obstacle that finally helps Alice to become an adult. To leap over this obstacle, she reaches into her pocket to find a mushroom from earlier, eats it, and grows to an enormous size. This most likely represents how she is facing her fear and taking on responsibility, or “growing up.”
Alice in Wonderland is a perfect, down-to-earth example of childhood through adolescence. Just as a child’s life is filled with good and bad choices, hers is too. As most do, Alice learns from her experiences and ultimately becomes more mature.Alice in Wonderland has many connections to the way a person grows and develops from childhood up through adolescence. Alice matures emotionally in the way she thinks, the way she deals with her problems, and the way she perceives different situations, all of which are encompassed in the progression of a child.

list of concepts / rough ideas: 


  • journey in reverse | adulthood to childhood 
  • "very strange, very queer"- Alice 
  • emotional rollercoaster | "I have something very important to tell you. Keep your temper." -The Caterpillar 
  • swimming in tears | woman take back the idea of being overly sensitive 
  • "time is diminishing, we must be finishing" -W. Rabbit  | explore time & time related elements to a spatial design. 
  • The other side of the mushroom  
  • mad hatter | "it's always 6 o'clock, it's always tea time"
  • Create an experience like a loop. | The yellow door in the tree takes her back to where she started. 
  • The Garden | deck of cards | wild card?
  • Maybe the space becomes a card game - guests are the players 
  • play with size, going throughout the space surroundings will get bigger and smaller creating an illusion that the people are getting smaller and bigger 
  • Alice as feminist | "hold your tongue" , "I won't." -Alice 








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