Friday, April 24, 2009

not so empty meeting grounds

“In the establishment of modern society, the individual act of sightseeing is probably less important than the ceremonial ratification of authentic attractions as objects of ultimate value, a ratification at once caused by and resulting in a gathering of tourists around an attraction and measurable to a certain degree by the time and distance the tourists travel to reach it. The actual act of communion between the tourist and attraction is less important than the image or the idea of society that that the collective act generates. The image of the Statue of Liberty or the Liberty Bell that is the product of visits to them is more enduring than any specific visit, although, of course, the visit is indispensable to the image. A specific act of sightseeing is, in itself, weightless and, at the same time, the ultimate reason for the orderly representation of the social structure of modern society in the system of attractions.”
Dean MacCannell, The Tourist (1976)

(Post modern theorist Dean MacCannell (1992) sees tourism as a process whereby people search for the authentic in a modern world where authenticity has ceased to exist.  The world to be explored becomes a world to be collected, consumed and objectified through photography, stories, postcards and artefacts.)  Actually this post is just an excuse to post pictures of "one thousand roses", a Chilean woman we met on the cruise, touring with her husband.  She comes from Antofagasta, a town where it rains once every ten years. I loved her green eyeliner and wide-eyed stare. Her husband Fernando was also very lovely and we still stay in touch from one hot place to another.  

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