Every night during Taylor Swift’s 2015 world tour, the runway sticking out from the stage would take off and rotate like a propeller, carrying Swift and her dancers over the fans’ heads. At the 2016 Oscars, five glittering towers of statuettes loomed behind the host, like skittles made of crystals, then turned into video screens. On Broadway and around the world, Aladdin continues to fly on his magic carpet with no strings attached. At the Omnia club in Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, the punters are greeted by what is believed to be the world’s largest chandelier, made up of moving parts that double as LED displays.
On U2’s Innocence + Experience world tour (also in 2015), the video screen was a giant translucent billboard, slicing through the auditorium and incorporating a walkway that allowed Bono to stroll into an animated re-enactment of his teenage bedroom. In 2015, the Pope celebrated mass at Madison Square Garden, New York, beneath a 12-ft sculpture of Christ on the cross. He liked it so much, the Vatican asked if it could be shipped to Rome.
All these creations spring from one place: Lititz, a small town in Pennsylvania’s Amish country, with a population of 9,400. Turning off the freeway on a bright day shortly before the US presidential election, I pass dozens of neat timber houses with posters for Trump, and only one for Clinton. This is a reactionary corner of the US, yet it is also the global hub of a relentlessly innovative industry, one so young that it has no name. In Los Angeles, they make movies; in Nashville, they make country music; in Lititz, they make the things that make the people who go to stadium shows go: “Wow!”
Read The Guardian’s full article here.