GOING ON TOUR: ART & TOURISM

Projects

1.
Attracting Sights (individual):
What: One of the ways that sites become sights is through the creation/presence of attractions and what MacCannell calls "sight sacralization" and "differentiation". Some attractions are inextricably tied to a place, others have a more arbitrary relationship to their natural and social surroundings. Almost always, however, representations of the attractions precede any direct experience of them. For this project, you will produce an itinerary of attractions for a sightseeing audience, through a familiar form of representation—the postcard.
The itinerary should be formed around a theme that connects at least 4 different sites. Your theme (and supporting attractions) can be phenomenological/experiential, biographical, historical, pop-cultural. Your created attractions can be rooted directly in a location (think: landscape feature) or more arbitrary (e.g. honorary memorials), but they must be already present (i.e. you cannot fabricate new objects that form the attraction itself). However, the attractions should not already be considered attractions, or at least should not exist as an obvious preexisting group of sites (e.g. public sculptures, museums, 19th century buildings). No particular proximity is necessary, but you should have access to them enough to produce your own photographs.
How: Document the attractions in photographs. Look up existing postcards and tourism images that relate to your theme and type and attraction, use these as references for producing your photos. and write a 300-500 word narrative statement that introduces your itinerary package (what is the theme), and brief descriptions of each attraction (100-300 words). Put each photograph on Flickr, organize into a set with a title and description (both for the set and each photograph). So you, should end up with 4+ individual photographs, with descriptions in a named/described set on Flickr.
* due in 2 weeks

2. ***(WE ARE SKIPPING THE EXERCISE)
Getting Behind Authenticity (completed by groups of 2-3)
What: Produce a video document or slide show presentation that employs the notions of "front" and "back" space, to produce a sense of "authenticity". This can focus on any subject (tell us about a place, a person, an event, and object), but must rely on some conventions of "front" and "back" (as discussed in MacCannell's text) to deliver two perspectives on the same subject. You can develop this as a complete fabrication (as in the mocumentary tradition), or a more serious exploration of a topic (as in investigative or "behind the scenes" journalism/documentary).

How: 5-10 min. video or illustrated presentation (slide show)
*due in 1 week

3.
Mobilities: Guiding Scales (completed by groups of 2-3)
What: This exercise will be completed by small groups and will address the concept of mobility at different scales. Each group will select a location that will serve as the content for tour at 2 different scales: 1) embodied movement through/within the location 2) through the virtual vantage point of satellites and aerial imaging (Google Earth).

For the embodied tour: Craft a walking tour, where the touristic experience is based on the mobility of walking, rather than on discrete sites. Emphasis should be on the movement of the tourist/audience and significant thought should be places on the linear, sequential aspect of space-time experience. Your guided walks must be designed to function in your absence using either a) audio OR b) written/designed instructions. The content of your walk is entirely open, but you must provide all instructions that are necessary to complete it. The location(s) involved in your walk must be accessible to you/us, without requiring great physical travel, although you can creatively interpret "accessible" outside of physical constraints.
Pay special attention to the role you play as a guide, and how that creates a relationship between the tourist and you, the guide. Will you be authoritative? Friendly? Judgemental? Indecisive? Conversational? Mysterious? Informative?
How: Printed/electronic written (or designed) instructions OR audio track(s) that serve as instructions for your walk. (if printed, bring 3 copies in class)

For the virtual tour: Using Google Maps/Earth, make a custom map of the same location explored in the embodied tour. Using the simple graphic/interactive tools available, create a narrative guide to the location that uses the perspective privileged by satellite imagery. Your guide can extend beyond the boundaries of the location, but must use it as a starting point.

*due in 2 weeks
Everyone will "perform" 2 different tours and report back to the class the following week.

4.
Liminal Leisure (FINAL PROJECT)
This project will be developed through discussions in class, and may end up involving small teams producing individual projects, or the entire class developing one larger project.
Whatever the project(s) end up becoming, a few key directives will guide us. These are:
A) We will address topics/features/concerns present in our immediate surroundings, but ones not already present as tourist experiences
B) These topics/features/concerns will be explored through methods of traditional and participatory research.
C) The final production(s) will use appropriate media to facilitate the experience of the topics/features/concerns for others - something like a guide or kit.
D) These productions should take into account the critical readings on tourism we have done as well as our experiences "in the field."
* due last week of classes