Dream City - named after an amusement park in Iraq - is the result of a journey through the constructed world of amusement parks. Over a period of five years, photographer Anoek Steketee and writer Eefje Blankevoort visited amusement parks in Iraq, Rwanda, Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Colombia, Indonesia, China, Turkmenistan
and the USA.
Although the cultural, sociological and political context of each place differs, the parks’ uniform appearance forms the universally recognizable backdrop. With their twinkling lights, fairy-tale setting and perfectly manicured gardens, the parks all derive their value from the universal and timeless human need to escape from daily reality in a communal, constructed space.
During their travels, it became increasingly apparent to the authors that an amusement park is more than simply a place to have fun. Its origin, location, theme and the kind of visitors it attracts say a great deal about the socio-political relations of the country in which it is situated. Behind the innocent, light-hearted facade lurks another, more serious reality.
The series do not show the archetypal amusement park scenes of crowds, movement and enjoyment, but rather looks for tranquillity and alienation in the images of employees, visitors and attractions. The accompanying stories and titles sometimes give the images a completely unexpected context. Dream City is thus also a study of the relationship between image, text and documentary approach.