The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020 - 8
their immersive potentials are re-focused on topics ranging from environmentalism to
genocide, among other harrowing topics - are reminders of how virtual technologies
may be leveraged to deal with pressing social issues, including pandemics.6
Reconsidering Dark Experiences
Serious gaming, as well as the growth of dark tourism, suggests that spaces of entertainment do not necessarily have to be focused on happy or comfortable contexts.7 As
Disney's America and Dismaland illustrate, there is no guarantee that dark topics or
contexts will be considered by the public to be acceptable material for consideration
in theme parks or related spaces. As architects and spatial designers work on future
projects in the aftermath of COVID-19, they will likely want to consult the rich material
related to the presentation of dark topics common to the worlds of museum design
and the pavilions of world's expositions. One indirect value of the global pandemic
is to challenge the idea that serious topics should only be considered in educational
spaces like museums. Pressing crises of pandemics and those of other origins will
likely necessitate a more global and connected engagement with the public, including
connections in popular and entertainment spaces.
While the causes of COVID-19 have not been identified as of 2020, a number of
scientists have connected the pandemic to contexts of the Anthropocene, the era in
which the primary impacts on the environment and climate are caused by humans.8
The impacts of the virus on the future of architecture, city planning, and themed
entertainment design are surely to be massive. Previous pandemics and health crises
have influenced the architecture and city planning of the past, and it is likely that
COVID-19 will impact the design and operation of spaces of the future, notably as
concerns about social density and contagion continue.9 LEED (Leadership in Energy
and Environmental Design) efforts in the United States could be expanded in terms
of increasing the sustainability of constructing, and operating, buildings and public
spaces. We may also imagine ways in which architecture may be redesigned in technological senses, perhaps expanding understandings of the public to more virtual
realms. Architects and city planners will also likely play a vital role in the remaking
of cities and public spaces that will result from unfortunate losses of business and
closures of spaces as a result of the economic effects of the pandemic. Revitalization
and remaking of such spaces will be important processes in the reimagining of our
As Nietzsche has reminded us, the happiness that may result from feelings of comfort may not be desirable if that existential state leads us to ignoring the pressing,
and uncomfortable, issues and conditions that are in front of us. The architecture and
spatial design of themed and consumer spaces of the future have a vital role to play
in imagining our shared and challenging futures.
SCOTT A. LUKAS is Faculty Chair of Teaching and Learning at Lake Tahoe Community College. He has edited
and authored numerous volumes on themed and immersive spaces and has worked as a consultant in the
themed entertainment industry.
1. Online Etymology Dictionary, www.etymonline.com
2. Scott A. Lukas, "Should Architecture Be Entertaining?" OAA Perspectives: The Journal of the Ontario
Association of Architects, Fall 2016.
3. Scott A. Lukas, "Dark Theming Reconsidered," in A Reader in Themed and Immersive Spaces, edited by
Scott A. Lukas, Pittsburgh: Carnegie Mellon: ETC Press, 2016, 225-235.
4. Scott A. Lukas, "A Consumer Public Sphere: Considering Activist and Environmental Narratives in the
Contexts of Themed and Consumer Spaces," forthcoming in Environmental Philosophy, Politics, and Policy,
edited by J.D. Duerk, Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2021.
5. Jane Archer, "Cruise Lines Turn to Virtual Cruising to Give a Taste of Life on the High Seas," The Telegraph,
April 10, 2020.
6. Jane McGonigal, Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World,
New York: Penguin, 2011.
7. Scott A. Lukas, "Controversial Topics: Pushing the Limits in Themed and Immersive Spaces" (Masterclass),
Attractions Management 20 (Quarter 4, 2015): 50-54.
8. Scott A. Lukas, "Heritage as Remaking: Locating Heritage in the Contemporary World," in The Oxford
Handbook of Public Heritage Theory and Practice, edited by Neil Asher Silberman and Angela Labrador,
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.
9. Vanessa Chang, "The Post-Pandemic Style," Slate, April 19, 2020.
8 | Read The Right Angle Journal online www.therightanglejournal.com
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020
Index to Advertisers
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020 - Intro
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020 - cover1
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020 - cover2
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020 - 3
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020 - Discomfort
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020 - 5
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020 - 6
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020 - 7
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020 - 8
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020 - 9
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020 - 10
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020 - 11
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020 - 12
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020 - Index to Advertisers
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020 - Locations
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020 - cover3
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020 - cover4
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020 - divider1
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020 - divider2
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020 - 19
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2020 - 20