Whereas hallucinogenic drugs used by the beat generation express a denial of surrounding reality but offer critical potentiality, the America of Las Vegas and the oversaturated and excessively digitalized photographs of Paolini reduce the deformation of reality to a simple game. Instead of disputing the social order, this game reveals the ability to produce dreams, fantasies and imaginary life on an industrial scale by recycling the desire for overblown senses into a hygienic and social value – entertainment – with:
- on the one hand, the set idea of a critique of everyday banality;
- and on the other, the form of a simple recourse to a collective fantasy limited to a given time and space.
An experience of limits, but within the limits of experience. There is a fine line between the serious and the amusing, the everyday and the playful. Not only does entertainment absorb all other cultural forms here, it tends to remodel everything that belongs to civilization.
For its centenary celebration, the city attempted to set down the story of its legend in a museum of American pop culture. This open structure is located mainly in Downtown-Las Vegas. Paolini stepped off the beaten track to explore little-known yet patrimonial places such as “Nevada’s Newest Scenic Byway”, the “Arts District History Tour”, the “Arts Landscape of Las Vegas”, the “Cultural Landscape of Downtown Las Vegas” or “Neonopolis”, without forgetting to visit one more time the famous Strip that created city’s reputation and image. Through excess, Las Vegas and Paolini’s ART-ertainment and ART-chitecture both defy the imagination laid down by reason and in turn that of comprehension. But what do they have to offer? Dreams! Not the dream of success, but the success of the dream. Vegas and the author are not pushing the idea that any dream can suddenly become reality and turn into an instant fortune. The only perceptible reality is the very act of being able to dream.
And if you dream, you’ve already won!
Let’s come on in dream...