"The idea of Real World began some twelve years ago. I imagined that, in the near future, people would be allowed a different kind of access to art and entertainment - that it would be possible to climb inside a book, a piece of music, a film, or a painting and experience it as a real world. These experiences would appear to be alive and respond to the person inside. With the rapid developments in information technology I believed that some strange hybrid would arise out ofthe convergence of communications, arts and entertainment and education. This could provide the raw material for new experience centres in the home, in domestic systems, in urban experience centres - the art gallery, amusement arcade and church of the future - and in large scale purpose-built "experience parks", of which Real World might be the first.
I dreamt of a beautiful landscape with water, trees and hills that would betray no sign of the underworld of experiences and adventure concealed beneath this calm natural environment.
The idea began to obsess me. In many countries I set out to meet people whose work was heading in this direction, and began to explore and expand these ideas. In 1985 an outline proposal for Sydney's Darling Harbour was created with architect Will Alsop and meeting with sympathetic minds became a regular event. Film-makers, musicians, psychologists, painters, comics, architects and technologists were invited.
Armed with food and several glasses of wine, the Dinner Club, as it became known, started to generate many wild and wonderful ideas. Laurie Anderson and Brian Eno, whose work in many media was a source of inspiration, became regular participants and I invited them to get more involved in making Real World real.
In April 1989 we were introduced to the City of Barcelona and were invited to make a presentation of a scheme for a site on Montjuic which took advantage of the topography of the old stone quarry.
In 1990, work began on a second design for Real World, on a site which the City believed would be suitable, located in the Vall D'Hebron.
This design is now in its third phase and has involved the expertise of professionals from many disciplines as well as the continued input from our creative team."
"Theme parks to date have been commercial enterprises, characterized by a high entertainment ratio and a low involvment ratio: complex tricks and a passive audience.We believe that a theme park is potentially a great new art form, an art form in which all sorts of threads that have been gradually converging in the 20th century can finally come together.
We are really looking at three major areas. The first one is the relationship between man and culture . We want to see a situation where there is not a simple distinction between artists and watchers: where people can choose their level of involvement.
The second big area is to do with the relationships between culture and nature. We are making a park. A park is a very important statement that a society makes about how it relates itself to nature, to environment. We are looking at a time where artists have begun to work with the world, where artists are starting to ignore the separation that has traditionally existed between the works of man and the works of nature.
We are increasingly aware of the manifold connections between our behaviour and our environments. Many of the artists we're involved with are interested in this area.
Thirdly, we're looking at man and nature. That is different from culture and nature. We want to make a place where people who live in the city have a chance to be confronted with nature in a way that is both more organised and less organised than they are normally likely to encounter. So we want to present nature as wilderness, as art work, and as an extended self Now of course with all this there is a technological aspect. The important point to make is that it must be kept in relationship to making a park, we don't want to just build a crowd of buildings with lots of clever tricks inside them. What we really want to start here (but it is a secret!) is a new system of education. We want to make something that people love to go to and during which they have real learning experiences, but we want them to think that they are having fun. That's all."
Some further comments can be found in an an unpublished interview with Brian Eno
Laurie Anderson also has a page up about this project at the VoyagerCo website.