Posts Tagged ‘amusement parks’
East Berlin’s Kulturpark Plänterwald had been the only amusement park in the German Democratic Republic (GDR)– a kind of Coney Island for socialists. There was no real coordination nor theme – it was a mix of attractions and rides. But when the GDR collapsed in 1989, Kulturpark Plänterwald– suddenly exposed to market forces– quickly followed. It had a brief renaissance (as “Spreepark”) in the early 90s– but promptly fell victim to a lack of available parking.
Since then, the park has been closed… and the dinosaurs that “roamed” its expanse have fallen victim to the German version of “cow tipping.”
As we keep watch for falling comets and asteroids, we might recall that it was on this date in 1916 that Robert Stroud stabbed and killed a prison guard at Leavenworth Penitentiary– resulting his being moved to “segregated” confinement for the balance of his sentence. While serving his solitary tme, Stroud– who’d been assessed by prison psychologists as “a psychopath with an IQ of 134″– began to work with birds (largely canaries). Ultimately his research, conducted entirely in his cell, resulted in two books, Diseases of Canaries, and a later edition, Stroud’s Digest on the Diseases of Birds, with updated specific information. He made several important contributions to avian pathology, most notably a cure for hemorrhagic septicemia.
In 1942, Stroud was transferred to Alcatraz, where policies against animals in cells meant an end to his research. Still, he is remembered as “The Birdman of Alcatraz.”
“Euthanasia Coaster” is a hypothetic euthanasia machine in the form of a roller coaster, engineered to humanely – with elegance and euphoria – take the life of a human being. Riding the coaster’s track, the rider is subjected to a series of intensive motion elements that induce various unique experiences: from euphoria to thrill, and from tunnel vision to loss of consciousness, and, eventually, death. Thanks to the marriage of the advanced cross-disciplinary research in space medicine, mechanical engineering, material technologies and, of course, gravity, the fatal journey is made pleasing, elegant and meaningful…
Julijonas Urbonas is a designer, artist, writer, engineer and PhD student in Design Interactions at the Royal College of Art.
Since childhood, I have worked in amusement park development. In 2004, I became a managing director of an amusement park in Klaipeda, Lithuania, and ran it for three years. Having worked in this field – as an architect and engineer but also in ways that are artistic and philosophical – I became fascinated by what in my research I am calling the bodily-perceived aesthetics of “gravitational theatre”…
As we buckle our seat belts, we might spare a memorial thought for Fifth-Century resister of the Roman Empire (and Caesaropapism) and reformer of the Catholic liturgy, Pope Hilarius; he died on this date in 468… presumably laughing.