Theme Park | Worlds Away

Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes


Walker Art Center,
February 16 - August 17, 2008

Carnegie Museum of Art,
October 4, 2008 - January 18, 2009

Yale School of Architecture
March 2 - May 10, 2009

Because suburbia occupies a dominant presence in so many lives—a place of not only residence but also of work, commerce, worship, education, and leisure—it has become a focal point for competing interests and viewpoints. The suburbs have always been a fertile space for imagining both the best and the worst of modern social life. more

Exhibition Photos

Related Events


Drawn Here: Sean Griffiths of FAT
Target Free Thursday Nights
Thursday, March 6 7:00 pm

Family Program

Escape to the Suburbs!
Free First Saturday
Saturday, April 5 10:00 am to 3:00 pm


Next Exit: The Shifting Landscape of Suburbia
Target Free Thursday Nights
Thursday, April 24 7:00 pm

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All essays are originally from the companion book for this exhibition, Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes. Some essays appear in excerpted form where noted.

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We asked people to make a video telling us about the suburbs and put it on YouTube. Selected videos are showing in the gallery at the Walker Art Center during the run of the exhibition.

Selected Videos

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Original Submission Call

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Do you live in a suburb? Do you work or go to school in one? What is your experience of the “burbs? ”…

Whether you love them or hate them we’re interested in your thoughts on the phenomenon of the American suburb. We invite you to make a 5-minute video about strip malls, cul-de-sacs, office parks, and green lawns or whatever suburbia means to you. A select number of videos will be chosen to screen as part of the exhibition Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes in the Target Gallery from February 15 to May 18, 2008.

To participate, upload your video to YouTube and add the tag “walkerworldsaway” or post it as a response to our video above. We’ll feature all videos on the Walker’s YouTube page. To be considered for gallery screening, entries must be 5 minutes or less and be online by January 18, 2008.

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Theme Park


1: An entertainment complex, typically outdoors, containing a collection of attractions that share an overarching narrative or theme Descended from traveling fairs and carnivals, early amusement parks offered rides and attractions to visitors in one location. Modern approaches to theme parks are believed to originate with Disneyland and Walt Disney World, beginning in the 1950s in the United States.

2: A type of urban/suburban planning that combines history, architecture, entertainment, and retail to create a simulation of an idealized, city-like space examples include megamalls such as the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, Faneuil Hall in Boston, and Universal Studios’ City Walk in Los Angeles. The term came into broader use through the book Variations on a Theme Park: The New American City and the End of Public Space (1992), edited by Michael Sorkin. He writes that these new “theme park” urban environments are also notable for their consumption of imagery, obsession with security and surveillance, and lack of public space.

See also: Disneyfication, theming.


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