Summer is on its way and Blooloop has been lucky enough to receive a clutch of new books. For this year’s beach reading, three very different publications have grabbed our attention.
PGAV Destinations on the Art and Science of Storytelling
“Storytelling: it can change your mind” from PGAV Destinations looks at the power of the story, drawing on the latest research in neuroscience, theories about the importance of stories from the social sciences and quotes from some of the world’s great storytellers.
Human beings have been telling stories since the dawn of civilisation, with the arc of obstacle, danger and redemption as a universal structure. Now researchers at Washington State University have discovered that we respond to stories with more of our brain than we use for just say a list of facts. Reading a story stimulates our minds as if we were actually taking part in the action or experiencing the sensory inputs. This allows us to learn from other people’s experiences.
Our minds are also actually shaped by stories – when presented with an unfinished plot our brains seek resolution – we want to know what’s beyond the cliff hanger!
Stories make facts accessible and memorable and can be used to help us see how we fit into the world.
Packed with examples of PGAV Destinations’ award winning work, where stories have been used to enhance the visitor experience, this beautifully presented book is highly recommended for would-be destination designers.
Electrosonic: From Greenwhich Vegetable Market to Harry Potter
Few people in the attractions industry can be unaware of the contribution made by Electrosonic to AV technology over the last 50 years. In fact one of Blooloop’s most read articles is “The History of the Video Wall” by Electrosonic co-founder Bob Simpson.
“Electrosonic: 50 Years on the Audio Visual Frontline” , also by Simpson, is a must for professionals in the attractions industry. The book tracks the evolution of Electrosonic from a start-up in two rooms in Greenwich Vegetable Market to a multimillion dollar business headquartered in Burbank CA, as well as some of the people who have contributed to that success. However, AV professionals will be most interested in the comprehensive Products and Technology section which runs from slide projectors to 4K projection and network technology. The Projects section is also a treat with a selection of Electrosonic’s projects over five decades.
Although we can’t claim to have been completely on top of all the technical information in the book, it was fascinating to see how quickly technology has changed – the images of video recorders which seemed so high tech in the 1980s now look like museum pieces.
Also in terms of the attractions themselves, it’s interesting to see the evolution of the visitor experience as technology delivers more in tune with visitors’ expectations. This is particularly evident with the EXPO projects which have evolved from slide projections for the UK Pavilion at EXPO 67 Montreal to personal ICT mobile devices allowing interaction with exhibits at the ICT Pavilion for EXPO 2010 Shanghai.
A copy of an article about The Amazing 3D Adventures of Spider-Man from 1999, also makes for interesting reading on an influential and ground breaking project. Sadly restrictions on reporting in recent years mean that we are unable to have access to similar details about the newer rides.
In summary, packed with information and images, “Electrosonic: 50 Years on the Audio Visual Frontline” is not only the perfect gift for the AV specialist in your life but will also interest anyone interested in theme park history and technology in general.
Disney Making the Guest a Hero
With countless Disney guide books offering comprehensive previews and reviews of the parks and their attractions it is not easy for a writer to find a new and unexplored angle when discussing the Disney theme parks.
With Every Guest is a Hero: Disney’s Theme Parks and the Magic of Mythic Storytelling, theme park designer and attraction show writer Adam M. Berger of Berger Creative Associates has both found a new approach and written an engaging and diverting review of the Disney theme park guest experience. Uniquely, he discusses the way in which the Walt Disney Imagineers carefully guide guests through a journey in both the parks as a whole and the individual attractions, making each individual guest the hero of their own story. Berger’s analysis helps us find the “’mythic source code’ that is hidden in plain sight”. It is an intriguing idea and Berger backs this up with a dissection of the visitor experience on ten key Disney theme park attractions.
The devil is in the detail at Disney and it is fun to explore the subtle ways in which the Imagineers steer guests through their very own “mythic journey”. This book tells us not just how visitors enjoyed the ride but why they enjoyed it and how this enjoyment was brought about. Whilst no doubt one for the fans (and we are guessing that Berger is one of many in the business who is also very much a fan) Every Guests is a Hero makes fascinating reading for aspiring theme park designers, psychologists and anyone interested in the visitor experience.