Today a review of not a book, but an event – a Star Wars exhibition I had seen in London. A heaven for any geek, but a particular paradise for Star Wars fans – where else could you see BB-8 or Han Solo in carbonite?
The exhibition is called Star Wars Identities for a reason. Instead of just going around gawking at 200 various gadgets and props from the movies – and there was a lot to gawk at: from detailed models and sketches of starships and clothing from all six movies, through Jabba’s eyes, troopers’ armor to Yoda in all his 1 m green glory – the visitors were led through all of it on a path of various psychological choices and motivations.
A very cool idea indeed – the world of Star Wars shown from a perspective of two main characters – Anakin and Luke Skywalker. Their genetic heritage is mostly the same, their formative years – from early childhood to early adulthood – seem quite similar, yet the choices they made were vastly different. How is that possible (besides the obvious reason of the demands of a movie plot)?
So… Star Wars steeped in social psychology, genetic heritage and a bit of biology 🙂 Among all the sketches and models – some of them real rarities, showing the very first versions of Star Wars heroes, including a female version of Luke or very modernist-looking C3PO – we can learn a lot about different models of upbringing and parental control, about mentors and values and personality types, about genes, traumatic experiences and peer pressure. And it’s not some humbug, but sound psychological theories – in an easily digestible form, granted, but still quite informative. Every main character of the first six movies is described with the use of all those factors, making them more complex and more believable in the process.
Add to it a quest – did I mention a quest? 😀 Visitors coming to the exhibition are challenged with a task of creating their own Star Wars identity based on 10 main factors: species, genes, parents, culture, mentors, friends, events, occupation, personality, and values. You can choose a race, your sex and skin tone, a planet from which you hail, your upbringing model, occupation, the level of force you have, your mentor and values you believe in, a formative experience and the way you responded to it, etc. The exhibition is divided into three main themes: Origins, Influences and Choices. And yes, in the end you can give your own answer to the Emperor’s question! 🙂
There’s even a nice application of the Big Five personality model, where in 10 short answers you can learn where your character is on the scale of Openness to experience, Conscientiousness Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. The stations with your tasks are dispersed throughout the exhibition and at the end all the data you created are gathered to compute your very own Star Wars character. It can look like this:
Or like this:
At the end of the day you receive an email with a link to your Star Wars hero description site, where in a short, one-page summary you can read what you have created.
I’ve been to a different Star Wars exhibition years ago in Philly – and I can assure you this one’s much better. All in all, if you have a chance to visit the Star Wars Identities exhibition, go on and do it now :).