Joel Zika

The founder of the Dark Ride Project on documenting Spook-A-Rama and other historic dark rides

Joel Zika is a multimedia artist, a lecturer in Creative Arts at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, and the creator of the Dark Ride Project. Using a Virtual Reality 360- degree video camera, his mission is to document the dwindling number of vintage dark rides in operation in amusement parks around the world. "We fetishize their facades and their exteriors but we don't have any documentation of what happened inside the ride," says Zika. "This project has come from the desire to document not just what it looks like inside but the actual entire experience -- the pace, the speed, the sound, the shake, and the wriggle."  Only about dozen dark rides created up to the third quarter of the 20th century have survived in the United States, Zika says, and in October 2016, he visited Deno's Wonder Wheel Park in Coney Island to document the park's 1950's Spook-A-Rama dark ride.