Reiner Riedler

Fake Holidays ( project in progress, started in 2004)

When wishes are out of reach, simulation takes over our leisure time and our holidays. Imaginary worlds are created, often under massive technological exertion, in order to offer us an experience as reproducible merchandise. Although the quality of these adventures on demand sometimes proves to be rather dubious, the boom does shed light on one thing: the yearnings and dreams underlying people’s daily lives.

Skiing, including the whole après-ski circus, in Dubai, singing gondoliers in front of an imitation of the Campanile in Las Vegas, an indoor South Sea beach at the “Tropical Islands” near Berlin – the range of artificial attractions vying for attention is expanding every day.

Here simulation plays a key role: it produces the additional emotional value that promises to take our experiences to a higher level. Thus, the Allrounder Winterworld in Neuss, Germany guarantees to provide not only indoor skiing, but also “the enjoyment of everything that you expect from a great ski vacation.” While the facility does not create an impression akin to that of a functional skating rink, it does boast wooden huts and artificial pine trees bordering the slopes. The waitresses look like they just stepped out of The Sound of Music.

Operators like to argue that in certain respects their artificial worlds are even better than the real thing. There is sure to be snow even in summer, and the sand beach is hot all winter. No avalanches, no malaria, and getting there takes a fraction of the time. Those who want to experience fighting a fire or shooting a film can get what they want, easily and safely, at a theme park. (Jens Lindworsky)