(This text was posted outside Small After All World to "explain" its presence)

In keeping with this year's theme of Time, the centerpiece of Cacophony's "Small After All World" facade is a clock tower. Many will compare this clock tower to the one found in the Small World ride in Disneyland. Indeed the entire façade an internationalist cityscape cynically engineered to approximate a childlike vision of global unity may strike the average viewer as a slavish imitation of the tourist attraction. But in fact, the resemblance is strictly coincidental, nothing more than the unconscious reproduction of childhood memories typical of many Southern Californians.

There are significant differences between Cacophony's installation and the theme park ride. For instance, in Disneyland, the Small World "Crazy Clock" chimes every quarter hour, producing pre-recorded sounds of broken springs and cartoonish "crazy music." In going "cuckoo," it regularly sets off an international parade of mechanical figures marching to the familiar music. Our clock at Black Rock, however, will chime only once on Friday night shortly after 8 p.m. The results will embody the explosive contradictions between the concepts of "cuckoo" and clockwork.

Between these two concepts is a mysterious void. The mechanical children that parade beneath the clocktower are actually an idea lifted by Disney from medieval clock-makers who created similar public timepieces that typically included mechanical performances by jousting knights or animated representations of local royalty. But just as typical as these mortal figures in such displays was the figure of Death, appearing to remind the pious of the immediacy of spiritual matters and the hedonist of the need to live for the day.

Death and Time (like utopianism and totalitarianism) go hand-in-hand, yet there is more to it than this. Disney's ride drifts weirdly into deathlike imagery as it attempts to suggest the annihilation of national boundaries. In the final room visited on the boat tour, we see the dolls of many nations uprooted from their lands, drained of their native colors, costumed instead in a ghostlike white, and perched in a decidedly "heavenly" environment.

Is this some unintentional implication that our real unity as mortals lies in all-embracing death? Or that unity involves "neutralization"? Along with losing their native colors, the dolls no longer sing in their native language. It's all English in the end. Disney's simplistic implication that foreign countries competing for the earth's limited resources are to be regarded as "cute" and childlike is particularly frightening in light of recent work accomplished by internationalists bodies like NATO.

But we don't think Walt was stupid. Indeed Walt accurately predicted a future in which national flags would be lowered before corporate icons like his own Mickey, a figure now as omnipresent and as inescapable as Death.

Teaser Description used on 1999 Burning Man Website
Small After All World Media Coverage
Burning Man Disclaimer

OMIT: Smalll World Pyro Choreography