University Of Tasmania
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Pebbles to postcards : an investigation into the activity of tourist art, souvenirs and other artefacts of travel

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posted on 2023-05-26, 17:37 authored by Hume, DL
This project explores the expression of place as it is made manifest in the tourist art and souvenirs of formerly colonial cultures. Susan Stewart, On Longing 1985, sets souvenirs into two categories, the Sampled which include things like sea shells, pebbles, dried flowers; and the Representative which includes miniatures, postcards and other artefacts. This project refines this grouping to reveal a third category, the Crafted which consists of artefacts made from endemic media by artists and crafts people of the souvenired destination. This investigation explores the function of souvenirs as representative of the producer's environment, the exchange of that representation through the activity of tourism and the structure of the subsequent narrative invested in the artefact by the tourist. It begins with an overview of tourism, the history of tourism and souvenir collecting. The thesis then investigates the European collection of 'other' cultures, exploring the reception of exotic artefacts gathered by very early explorers and their relationship to fine art. It goes on to examine the meaning of these collections and the way they enhanced the collectors social status in the light of the developing colonial project. The thesis then examines the relationship between tourism and anthropology and identifies common links between ethnographic artefacts and souvenirs. Citing examples from anthropologist, working in Australia during the first half of the last century, this thesis argues that the relationship between anthropology and tourism is sustained in the activity of present day tourism. Positing the idea that tourism and souvenir collection is structured along the same lines as the fetish, this thesis then shows how fetishistic desire is the structural cornerstone in the activity of souvenirs. In chapters 4 and 5, utilising primary research conducted in Australia, the thesis examines the serial production of souvenirs and makes clear by examples the process by which culture is inscribed and perceived by the maker and collector respectively. This is demonstrated by bringing together a number of case studies, looking at a range of artefacts presented within the museogallery system. Starting with an example of Aboriginal art from Alice Springs it shows how the tourist' demand for 'authenticity' is established according to the location and display of the artefact. A second case study closes in on the questions raised by the first through a study of indigenous artefacts from the Canadian West Coast. Both studies involve the transition of moribund tools into representations of culture and place and the replication of ceremonial art object, for the satisfaction of the Western and/or tourist gaze. Finally this thesis expands upon Stewart's binary classification of souvenirs as \Sampled\" and \"Representative\" and establishes a new category of the \"Crafted\" souvenir. This is achieved by presenting examples gathered in the course of my research from various parts of Australia and assessing their souvenir potential according to five key characteristics identified through the course of this project. They are: Medium: Assesses the importance of the raw material that constitutes the souvenir and the significance of this in the object/artefacts activity as a souvenir. Maker's mark: Assesses the level of human intervention that the object/artefact has undergone and how important it is to its function as a souvenir. Relational: Defines what the object/artefact relates to. Invitational: Measures the object/artefact's capacity to absorb the tourist's narrative. Iconofetish: Investigates where the inherent narrative of the object/artefact resides. Each narrative component is shown to be present to varying degrees in each category of souvenir. These expressions are shown as axis points along which the volume of the souvenir's expression may be charted. The thesis provides a thorough understanding of the cultural exchange that takes place between tourist and host culture. It demonstrates the different styles of narrative generated by and subsequently attached to different forms of souvenir and provides an understanding of how different places are interpreted by host and visitor alike. It is envisaged that this thesis will lead to the development of a new way to understand the function of souvenirs that will be of benefit to those involved in the arts culture and tourist industries."


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Copyright 2004 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2004. Includes bibliographical references

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