The relationship between tourism, the city and architecture is multiple and complex. Just as traveling and sight-seeing are inextricably linked to both architectural and urban experiences, architecture and the city themselves have long been important tourist attractions. Beyond factors such as climate, culture and leisure, tourism has come to rely on the creation of signs and marks of distinction. Increasingly concerned with image creation and marketing, cities and regions eagerly associate their names with themed attractions, such as international events or landmark buildings.
Today, the tourist does not so much behave as a deluded mass-consumer in quest of a 'staged authenticity' (MacCannell), but seems to find pleasure in the inauthenticity of 'post-tourist' practices experienced as a series of games with multiple texts (Feifer). The 'post-tourist' playfully hovers between high and low culture, authenticity and inauthenticity, production and consumption, active participation and voyeurism. With the globalization of the tourist gaze (Urry), tourism has lost its status as a distinct cultural experience and increasingly intertwines with other social phenomena such as working, shopping, education, sports and entertainment. As such it relates strongly to the emergence of new hybrid architectural types (such as the fusion of shopping mall, theme park and tourist resort) and the re-interpretation of existing ones (such as the commodification of museums). In historical city centers this linkage of urbanity and tourism often results in specific approaches to the architectural past. A veritable 'heritage industry' (Hewison) has emerged that conserves the urban past as an unthreatening relic, disconnected from the present. Supported by discourses on 'the city of collective memory' (Boyer) this industry often masks, in the name of cultural values, a shallow commercialism. The transformation of historical sites into thematic areas and the reduction of the urban past to easily consumable images are but two instances. Tourism however, involves more than an occasional practice of consumption, recreation or sight-seeing. It also refers to a specific perceptual attitude: a distracted gaze towards daily experience which flattens any critical discernment. As accidental tourists, whether visiting real sites (architectural and city-tourism) or virtual ones (web-tourism), most of the developed world has become familiar with this hybrid experience that blurs boundaries between the physical and the virtual, the collective and the individual, the historical and the current.
"Tourism Revisited" wishes to address the complex relationships between tourism, architecture and the city in relation to themes such as history and nostalgia, economy, entertainment and social behavior, the local and the global. What is architecture's role within an urban environment strongly influenced by tourism? Is architecture merely a product of tourism or is it rather a site of resistance and alternatives? Does the tourist industry, by defining and organizing tourist experiences, radically change the experience of the built environment? How can designers, planners, theoreticians, historians, citizens -- even tourists -- deal with the spectacle-ization of place?
Call for papers
Potential participants are invited to send abstracts (max. 300 words) for 'Tourism Revisited' by the postmark deadline of 30 July 2000. Four copies should include the name and affiliations, full mail address, e-mail address, fax and telephone numbers for the contact author as a first page. The second page should have the title of the paper and the abstract, which should not exceed one page. A scientific committee will blind referee the papers. The selection will be based upon the quality of the abstracts and their relevance to the theme of the colloquium.
Language (and proceedings)
The official languages of the colloquium are English, French and Dutch. Abstracts are preferred in English, but will be given equal consideration if written in one of the other languages. Presentations at the colloquium can be given in any of the three languages. It is expected that participants will be given the opportunity to contribute to published colloquium proceedings.
Network for Theory, History and Criticism of Architecture
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Tel: (32) 10 47 81 20
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