[Editor: You never know where references to Foucault’s name will pop up…]
Todd Martens, Meet Disney’s philosopher king: the brain behind ‘Avatar’s’ Pandora and Marvel’s ‘Guardians’ ride, Los Angeles Times, May 25 2017
When visitors set foot into Pandora — The World of Avatar at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., they will find glowing plants and floating mountains.
Opening Saturday, the lush, forest-like setting of Pandora obviously takes its cues from James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster; more unexpected is the subtle nod to the Italian Baroque art of Gian Lorenzo Bernini seen in the entangled vines descending from the apparently hovering mountains.
On the other side of the country, fans of “Guardians of the Galaxy” films will find much that’s familiar in California Adventure’s new Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout attraction, which also opens Saturday.
Art history majors, however, may also notice the high-tech influence of architect Renzo Piano, who worked on France’s Pompidou Centre.
These cultural mash-ups, which herald a new age and aesthetic for the two Disney parks, are compliments of the complicated mind of one man: Imagineer Joe Rohde.
During his nearly 40 years with Walt Disney Imagineering, the company’s highly secretive arm devoted to theme park experiences, Rohde has emerged as something akin to Disney’s philosopher king, working from a deep belief that Disney parks are cultural institutions as much as they are places to ride alongside pirates or buy a churro and a lightsaber.
But Rohde is more likely to cite Michel Foucault than he is Uncle Walt.