Walk in the Forest

Sally Jo 2020

Snow White dreams that “someday, my prince will come…”, princess Aurora sings to the prince “you’ll love me at once, the way you did once upon a dream”, and Cinderella tells you that “if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish can come true”. According to Anna Kérchy in Postmodern Reinterpretations of Fairy Tales, early Disney princess have passivity of the ‘active dreaming’. However in this new landscape, there is no magic, no charming animals, and no prince to help her achieve her Disney princess dreams. 

Mainly interested in the uniform narrative of Disney princess animations where a beautiful female figure is left alone in the often danger-lurking forest, I have built an interactive game landscape based on forests from four of the earliest Disney princess movies : Snow White (1937), Cinderella (1950), Sleeping Beauty (1959), and Beauty and the Beast (1991). The landscape images in the game have been produced with runwayML, a software which utilizes AI training model to create new images based on input images.

​Early Disney princess animations have very selective narratives, stripping away the details of the original fairytale by writers such as the Grimm brothers and Giambattista Basile, in order to churn out stories that homogenize and commodify the character to the consumers. The princess is not intended to be a role model but a product to be played with. When the targeted audience of these fairytales, mostly female children, grow up, they don’t even realize that they now have become the plaything, trying to dress herself in different colors and expectations.

Text by Sally Jo