Alice’s adventures in global market

Posted by Aspasia Stephanou on February 18, 2009 in Blog tagged with


Contemporary culture is a vampire that feeds off its stories, consumes like a monster the products of the past. Alice in Disneyland, Alice in Sexland, in Otherland, Alice/Lolita, Alice on drugs, Alice’s Misadventures Underground, Alice in Cyberia, Alice role-played… and of course anyone can become an Alice in Wonderland or a Gothic Lolita Alice in Malice land just by buying a “candy stripper burlesque Gothic Lolita in Wonderland” corset or any other so called attire from the net. “Alice in Wonderland” is also the name for a syndrome, in which the patient infected with the Epstein-Barr virus (or due to migraine, epilepsy, schizophrenia etc.)has strange feelings and illusions about colours, shapes and size of objects and body images. The fictional Alice from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has crossed the borders of Wonderland and entered all sorts of fictional, media, virtual, consumer, and cultural worlds. What are interesting are the dark and gothic elements found in modern transformations of the original novel. In Jan Švankmajer’s (some of his short films are influenced by Gothic: Horace Walpole’s The Castle of OtrantoOtrantský zámek, 1973/79, Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall of the House of UsherZánik domu Usheru, 1980 and The Pit and the PendulumKyvadlo, jáma a nadeje / The Pendulum, the Pit and Hope, 1983) 1988 feature film Alice (NÄ›co z Alenky), the heroine enters a surrealistic gothic world:


And in Mitch Cullin’s 2000 novel Tideland, Jeliza-Rose, like an Alice in not such a wonderful land, narrates her surreal and dark adventures in Texas. Terry Gilliam’s 2005 film adaptation of Cullin’s novel, is a grotesque, fantastic and surreal documentation of a world that is filled with hallucinogenic substances, sadness, isolation, and dead corpses preserved through taxidermy.


In the 2000 computer game American McGee’s Alice, an insane Alice fights the dangerous monsters of a corrupt Wonderland with a blade:


In Tideland and American McGee’s Alice, the heroine is fighting her way through a dangerous and inhospitable landscape, where boundaries dissolve and imagination reigns. Like Carroll’s Alice, Jeliza-Rose and virtual Alice anticipate “appearances to alter, expecting that one will turn into the other, is already the other” (Irigaray 1985: 10). In this unstable world where everything changes, these postmodern metamorphoses of Alice reveal the character’s confused personality related to her abandonment in a cruel and terrifying world where unknown creatures play mind games and inanimate objects become animate. Wonderland is a world of surfaces, as Deleuze reminds us, and our own contemporary world is a seductive, smooth surface.


The gothic monstrous machines and worlds that Alice’s multiple transformations through the years inhabit, manifest the ruins of a contemporary society that loves and commodifies its monsters. Gothic arises or is regenerated at times of socio-political/ economic changes and anxieties and especially now, where consumerism and economy are the bases of modern living, we, like Alice, should fight our way through in this land of money or the virtual space of consumption.


For the funs of Burton and Alice, a Tim Burton film adaptation of Alice in Wonderland will be released in 2010.








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