by Heather Kenyon

Wow! It's an interactive future!

I can't wait to go to Disneyland in forty years. It is going to be unbelievable! Already I am a huge fan of Disneyland. The best treat for me in the past has been a two day ticket given to me for Christmas. So, to read Clark Dodsworth's article "Theme Parks in the Digital Age" is exciting not only because of his predictions of the future, but also for what is already here. I realized that the Indiana Jones ride was different every time I went through but I had no idea this could be attributed to the new digital age. Who knew we were already a part of the future?

This issue of Animation World Magazine bubbles with promise, the promise of cool new inventions made possible only by the advent of digital technology. As one group of developers tops another and so on and so on, we are bound to have an abundant supply of new ways to spend our off hours and extra dollars. I also think embracing the Internet in all of these plans is notable, as it fulfills the true potential of the web as a meeting place. While many think the Internet is useless because there is no way to weed out the silly, unnecessary or incorrect content; it is actually marvelous for bringing people together. Having an outlet in one's own home to connect with people with similar interests is a treat. I recently received an e-mail in Spanish. After having it translated, I learned that this man lives in South America in an area where there are limited to no animation resources. He queried if we knew other Spanish speakers from whom he could learn more about animation and have discussions. His e-mail was so joyous at having found us. "It is nice to know I am not alone," he wrote.

We are also discussing Family Animation in this issue. Ted Pedersen & Francis Moss' "Edutainment and the Internet" proves that the Internet can be a safe place for kids to stretch their minds. The duo states in their piece that the Internet is perfect for children as, "Clearly kids today are part of a new generation -- a post-television generation." Now, I really feel old and I only graduated university in 1993. With the Internet just two years old, who thought it would be a viable place for job hunting. Indeed, I hadn't even been on the Internet! I think a few of the university libraries were connected but no one had it in their dorm rooms. Here at Animation World Network e-mails flood in from students all over the world, each with their own account.

Those not on the Internet are missing a tremendous shift for two reasons. The theme that turned up in this issue, article after article, is that the future will be interactive. Either machines or other individuals will always be there to "play." The Internet is our first foray into this interactive, available 24-hours a day world. Information is just a click away at all times and chat rooms and gaming sites also provide entertainment on demand. The other shift is a little less apparent and a little more abstract...

While many protest an individual's site is rubbish -- `Who cares what Ned Bingham in Amarillo, Texas has to say about his cat Fluffy!' -- I think it is the ultimate in realizing the Modern Era. I'll explain. For European cultures and those based on them through Colonization, prior to the Enlightenment Movement (the 18th Century philosophical movement concerned with examining previously accepted doctrines and institutions), the idea of the individual wasn't considered. In broad terms, the class and occupation that one was born into was where one stayed with no questions asked. Nobles were nobles and serfs were serfs. Only 300 years ago did the radical notions of equality, liberty, and justice for all begin to prevail (the French Revolution being the first major blow to the establishment), ushering in the Modern Age. While governments and individuals still struggle with ensuring that the above rights are given to everyone, it is a little reassuring to know that Ned Bingham can have his own web site, reconfirming that he is important and has a right to broadcast to the world. Welcome to modernity, where everyone is allowed to have an identity, and to the Internet, where everyone has free rein to broadcast their individuality.

This issue also brought to my attention the fascinating artist Harry Smith. Giannalberto Bendazzi's review of American Magus - Harry Smith - A Modern Alchemist led me to Rani Singh of the Harry Smith Archives who informed me of the new book, Think of the Self Speaking: Selected Interviews of Harry Smith. To tap into a completely different way of thinking and to connect with someone Bendazzi calls, "one of the most hidden, obscure and enigmatic figures in the entire history of animation and the avant-garde," read on about Harry Smith.

Until Next Time,

Note: Readers may contact any Animation World Magazine contributor by sending an e-mail to

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