October 17, 2005
Beatlemania lives on in NYC
Site: Fab 4 New York City Walking Tour of Beatles Sites
I will be researching The Beatle Sites’ Walking Tour, a tour offered by Daytrippin’ Rock and Roll Tours, which allows the tourist to “follow in the Beatles’ footsteps” and is led by a Beatles “expert”. The tour visits NYC sites such as Strawberry Fields in Central Park, The Dakota, The Ed Sullivan Theater, Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall, etc.
Research : Looking at Pearson’s “approaches to retrieval”
Except for a few, many sites on the tour can be experienced without any connection to the Beatles. I want to look at relived memory and its connection with the present. Many of the sites that the tour visits have gone through dramatic changes since the heyday of the Beatles presence in New York. Memory, of course, is inevitably linked to personal narrative. In his text Theatre/Archaeology Mike Pearson states, “One thing that the watcher puts into narrative is time, the time of reflection of re-experiencing and inflating the fleeting image by replaying it over and over in the memory” (Pearson, 134). This is especially true for older generation Beatles fans who first experienced “Beatlemania” in 1964 and will use the tour to relive Beatle memories. And also true for younger generation Beatle fans who will utilize the tour and other’s re-experiencing for their present knowledge and memories of the Beatles.
“Meaning always precedes its own production” (Pearson, 144), and when integrating this statement into this project, I would like to know how the Beatles presence in these sites change perceptions of certain landmarks, structures, and memorials. I am curious to know if the majority of tourists are from out-of-town. How many are New Yorkers? Do New Yorkers have different connections to the sites?
Because it is a walking tour, I want to look closely at the relationship between the tour guide and the tourist. How will the tour guide incorporate architecture, space and time into the tour? I want to see how familiarity develops between the guide and visitors. Where and how does the guide insert facts, questions, personal anecdotes, jokes into his performance and how effective are they in making the visitor’s experience a more meaningful one? What makes the guide a Beatles expert?
During this process I will also look into other Beatle tours, the majority being in England.
I want to know how Day Trippin’ Rock and Roll Tours developed the Beatles’ Tour and if it is connected to or structured like any of the Beatle tours offered in other parts of the country, or those offered in England. How do other fans react to these tours? I’ve already downloaded some articles and reviews with tourist reactions from different tours around the world.
I would also like to interview some of tour guides and participants of the tour. Not knowing how willing or available these sources will be, I am prepared to heavily depend on questions asked during the tour. I would also like to interview employees of the sites visited and look into how significant the Beatles’ presence was to that specific site. With repeated visits I hope to familiarize myself with the structure of the tour and develop informed questions and relationships that will be effective for my research.
Themes that will be explored in paper
• Memory, Time, and Change : old generation, new generation
• Description of tour, sites, path
• Tour guide relationship to sites and tourists
• Tour guide’s “expertise”
I want to incorporate the music (of course!)and I'm hoping that experiencing the tour will help me find a relationship that will link all these topics together.
Cohen, Erik. 1985. The Touris Guide: The origins, structures, and dynamamics of a role. Annals of Tourism Research 12, no. 1: 5-30
Fine, Elizabeth and Jean Haskell Speer. 1985. Tour guide performances as sight sacralization. Annals of Tourism Research 12, no. 1:73-95.
Goldsmith, Martin. The Beatles come to America. Hoboken, NJ. : John Wiley & Sons, c2004.
Pearson, Mike, and Julian Thomas. 1994. Theatre/Archaeology. TDR 38, no. 4:133-61
Pond, Kathleen Lingle. 1993. The Professional Guide: Dynamics of Tour Guiding. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
Spizer, Bruce. The Beatles are coming!: the birth of Beatlemania in America. New Orleans, La. : 498 Productions, c2003.
http://www.daytrippin.com/fab4nyc.htm tour website
http://www.cavern-liverpool.co.uk/mmt/ Magical Mystery Tour in Liverpool
Posted by Alma Guzman at 2:17 PM
My two-part project will center on an endeavor of the reconstruction, retrieval and understanding of the complex and multilayered experience of tourism through the use of a particular instance of travel. I intend to use my recent one-week trip to Morocco as the focal point of this analysis. The first part of my project will explore the experience of travel, paying close attention to the ways in which the situational aspects of travel play in the tourist experience. I will consider how expectations, motivations for travel, previous knowledge and relation to the target culture shape the tourist experience.
The first part of my project will consist of written analysis and an attempt at a “thick description” of a trip to Morocco, considering several perspectives of such a visit taken from diverse vantage points. First, I will attempt to reconstruct my first time visit to Morocco, paying particular attention to how my own preconceptions and (mis)understanding of the culture shaped the tourist experience. Here, I am also interested in exploring the – not altogether reliable - role of imagination and memory in the process of understanding and making sense of the tourist experience.
Next, I will consider the experience of an expatriate Moroccan during his first visit to Morocco, after having lived in the United States for ten years. I will take into account the ways in which immigrant experience in the United States, which fashioned a new relation to himself and his homeland, played an integral role in the tourist experience.
Finally, (and this is still a provisional idea that might have to be abandoned because it is so problematic) I will briefly attempt to reflect on the tourist experience of a globetrotting 15 month old. I will explore the ways in which infants and children are treated in Morocco in contrast to the United States and how this influences their experience and perception of the world.
My analysis will explore the themes of hybridity, displacement, estrangement and belonging. In my theoretical examination, I will attempt to answer the question of how these various travel experiences were transformational. Considering a performative tourism, I will explore the ways in which acts of travel did something to the traveler.
My working bibliography includes:
Asad, Muhammad. 1954. The road to Mecca. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Hargraves, Orin. 1995. Culture Shock! Morocco: A Guide to Customs and Etiquette. Portland: Times Editions.
Kapchan, Deborah A. 1996. Gender on the market : Moroccan women and the revoicing of tradition. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Mahmood, Saba. 2005. Politics of piety : the Islamic revival and the feminist subject. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Nguyen, Tram. 2005. We Are All Suspects Now: Untold Stories from Immigrant America After 9/11.Beacon Press.
Pearson, Mike, and Julian Thomas. 1994. Theatre/Archaeology. TDR 38, no. 4:133-161.
Said, Edward W. 1978. Orientalism.1st ed. New York: Pantheon Books.
Slyomovics, Susan. 2005. The performance of human rights in Morocco. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Urry, John. 1990. The tourist gaze : leisure and travel in contemporary societies. London ; Newbury Park: Sage Publications.
Visweswaran, Kamala. 1994. Fictions of feminist ethnography. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
The second part of my project will consist in the production of an art object which will incorporate a collage of a voices and impressions of Morocco. This impressionistic montage of thoughts and reflections will be composed of mixed media and will also be a triptych of narratives. The process of creation will serve as a vehicle for processing the tourist experience. The finished object will become a souvenir, a memory trigger. It is also an attempt to construct an object that will aid in the telling of the narrative(s) of a trip to Morocco. In this sense, it is an alternative or a compliment to the conventional travel books and guides. It will show what the tourist (advertising) industry doesn’t want you to see.
I found the article Theatre/Archeology extremely useful in thinking about both the content and methodological approaches to my project. The dialectical nature of the essay, which includes a discourse between two archeologists of which one is also a theatre practitioner and theorist, is in itself a model for the multi-layered approach to description and analysis I am interested in undertaking. The article co-authored by Mike Pearson and Julian Thomas, not only shows the dialogue between two scholars, but also displays the evolution of the idea of the potential meeting points between the disciplines of theatre and archeology, as it occurs over time. Pearson in particular revises his notions of theatre archeology as a result of the dialogue with Thomas as seen in his second entry in the essay.
Pearson proposes the deployment of the terminology and methodology of description borrowed from the disciplines of archeology, forensic science, and contemporary recording practices of the music industry for the retrieval, reconstruction and (re)presentation of theatre. His discussion of “foreigners” as those “perceiving different orders of connotative meaning, albeit brief, signals potentially interesting approaches in the study and description of cross-cultural tourist experience. (134) His reflections on the reconstruction of performance such as: “One thing that the watcher puts into narrative is time, the time of reflection of reexperiencing and inflating the fleeting image by replaying it over and over in the memory”, can be useful in relation to the description of tourism.
Pearson’s suggests that the archeological “site report” might be an instructive practice for someone attempting to reconstruct ephemeral phenomena such as performance. (136) His description of the “base elements” of performance: space, time, pattern, detail and object, is can be a useful model in approaching the description of the tourist experience. (137, 150) I was particularly interested in reading his discussion of the documentation of performance as an integration of narratives vis a vis my own project of documentation of the travel experience. (146)
Posted by Dominika Bennacer at 2:01 PM
Central Park Movie Tour
New tourism studies explore various ways of constructing tours and itineraries. Different form the “old tourism,” tourists, in the newly constructed tourist productions, does not play a passive role, as spectators. Instead, tourists seek sensory experiences at their destinations. They do things, or participate in activities to experience the culture and the atmosphere of destination. No longer in search of “authenticity,” tourists now go for tours that are well-constructed and sites/scenes that are important to the deployment of plots in novels, TV series, and movies. Their willingness of suspending the disbelief enables them to enjoy the “on location tours.”
I am interested in all kinds of on location tours whose constructions of itineraries are mainly based on the shooting spots of movies and TV series. It is not too reckless to say that such tours take on the narratives of films and TV series, which, one way another, move and/or impress the viewers. Being moved, impressed, or maybe amused, these viewers participate in on location tours to experience the filmic scenes in person.
In my research, I intend to explore the narrative model of these on location tours. As I briefly mentioned in the previous response, the narratives of on location tours, to some extent, follows the narrative model proposed by Bruner in his conference paper, “The Role of Narrative in Tourism.” The concept of the pre-narrative and the meta-narrative seems to be essential to the constructions of such tours. In most cases, the participants of on location tours have already acquired the basic information and the general impression of the sites included in the itineraries. Such knowledge of the sites is from movie viewing and TV watching experiences, which they found enjoyable. They therefore want to experience the mood of the movie or of TV series in a more concrete way.
Central Park has been mythologized by numerous films and has gradually formed, drawing on Mike Pearson’s concept, a “deep map” over time. In addition to the investigation in the narrative model, I also wish to look into how Central Park is used in film-making. I think how the filmmakers depict the Park affects how the viewers perceive this space and their impression of Central Park. And the general public’s perception of the Park, I believe, to a great extent, affects how the Park is used in the filmmaking in reverse. Filmmakers convey messages by their design of scenography, use of score and other filmic elements that conform to the conventions to make the messages detectable, comprehensible to the viewers. I suggest that the tourist productions make use of the mood and impression already embodied in the space to establish their own scenography that reinforces the narrative of the tour.
My research method will primary base on my personal experience. I intend to participate in Central Park Movie Tour in person to have a better grasp of the structure of the itineraries and the ambiance of the sites under the narrative of the films. After experiencing the tour, I will design a questionnaire in reference to both my personal experience and the tourism studies theories in hope that such questionnaire can capture the experience of other people who also participate in the tour. Owning to my lack of experience in doing primary research, I will probably modify my questionnaire in process to get the most useful comments on the tour from other tourists.
If accessible, I would like to see the films whose scenes are included in the on location tour. Pinpointing the scenes helps to understand how the scenes function in the films and to carry out the investigation in how they are re-contextualize in tourist productions, the on location tours. If inaccessibility of the films occurs, I will find secondary resources that comments on, and/or deals with the films to find out where are the target scenes situated in the filmic context and also the ambiance of such scenes.
Pearson, Mike. Julian Thomas. “Theatre/Archaeology.” TDR (1988-). Vol. 38, No.4, 1994. 133-61.
Macdonald, Scott. “The Country in the City: Central Park in Joan Mekas’s Walden and William Greaves’s Symbiopsychotaxiplasm .” Journal of American Studies. 31 (1997), 3, 361-84.
Koolhaas, Rem. Delirious New York. 1994. The Monacelli Press.
Bruner, Edward M.. “The Role of Narrative in Tourism.” Berkeley Conference, On Voyage: New Directions in Tourism Theory, 2005.
Bruner, Edward M.. Culture on Tour. 2005. University of Chicago Press.
The Official Website for Central Park.
Posted by Stella Yu-Wen Wang at 9:35 AM
Leah Strigler: High School Reunions
Project Idea, Site Description and Research Focus
My plan is to attend a reunion event at an area Jewish day school – ideally a high school. These are schools which offer dual-curriculum programs in Judaic and general Studies in the context of a full-day school. They may or may not be identified with a particular Jewish religious movement. I have put out feelers to a few schools, but it is hard to connect with staff during this heavy holiday month. I hope to firm up possible sites this week. If these do not turn up likely candidates I may turn to non-Jewish schools in the area, a move which would shift some of my research interests. I anticipate that some schools may be uncomfortable with the project idea unless the identity of the school is suitably masked.
This project idea relates to my dissertation work in alumni relations. In particular, I am interested in how the representatives of educational institutions conceive of and cultivate their relationships with alumni, including but not limited to desires for institutional “advancement” (please read development or fund-raising) and institutional mission. An overarching question might be formulated as “For what purposes do educational institutions such as schools invite their alumni back for formal reunion events?
In the case of Jewish day school reunions I am interested in studying this event of a school reunion as a tourist production. I have five areas of focus for observation:
1] Alumni as return visitors on something of a “nostalgia trip” to the site of their educational experience. In a way they are more a type of honored guests rather than tourists, as well as former “members” of the institution. How do they approach this event and experience? The student organizers are in a slightly different role, serving both as visiting alumni and as event organizers.
2] The school personnel: administrators and teachers. What roles do they play in the reunion event? How do they interact with the visiting alumni?
3] The site itself: how is the school building prepared for this event? What spaces are used for it? What materials are arranged or exhibited for the purpose of this event?
4] (In the case of a Jewish day school) Evidence of Jewish expression or activity, if evident in the event or the communications surrounding it. In particular, are there any evident discrepancies between the religious philosophy of the institution and of its alumni? Are differences of philosophy, opinion or practice evident and, if so, how are they evident? This focus can be seen as an extension of my interest in how alumni do or do not embody the ideals of the institution as articulated in the institution’s mission.
5] The role of narrative in the context of the event: what “official” stories are presented or highlighted? What stories are unique to particular sets of alumni or to this event? How do multiple narratives, especially those represented by different actors in this event, become fused or contrasted via the events of the reunion? What is the interplay between students’ memories and the narrative presented by the site, the event and its activities, or the institution’s staff? What is the content of informal discussions between alumni and staff?
My intention is to see how the theoretical works of tourist studies and performance studies can help in “reading” these events and collecting data. At the moment I am most interested in considering the function of narrative in the event and most focused on Bruner’s work as a result. However, I have a hunch that once I begin my research questions of how “front” and “back” spaces are constructed for alumni will likely come up. In other words, how are such spaces demarcated when inviting “in” those who once knew the institution intimately?
I plan to collect all possible forms of communications and literature (as well as other materials) related to the reunion itself and more generally to keeping alumni in contact with the institutions and keeping them informed of institutional news and developments: e-mails, invitations, official reports, listserv, Web site. In addition I plan to collect basic literature about the school: its mission, history and current characteristics. To the extent possible I will follow communications at least through the immediate follow-up to the event itself. I anticipate that the time line of the project will not allow for much more.
I also plan to interview the school staff in charge of the event, the student coordinators, and some staff or administration who attend the reunion and/or have particular interest in the success of the event, such as the Development Director.
I plan to attend the event as well, ideally as an observer, although I anticipate that determining my exact role and how it is presented for the event may be shifted in negotiating with the particular school. I am inclined to not interview attendees during the event itself because that seems too intrusive – it will certainly shift what I am able to observe and may in fact alter the character of the event itself. Instead, I plan to focus on observing and documenting with as much “thick description” as possible the formal activities and informal interactions that I observe at the event. I will ask if it is possible to interview a few willing participants after the event itself. I also hope to conduct at least one post-event interview with a staff member who attended the event. I intend to focus my interview questions on obtaining details of the planning and development of the event, the history of alumni relations at the institution, perceived value and hoped-for outcomes. My questions will likely parallel the questions I am developing for my own dissertation research.
I should note that one of the schools I have contacted is my own alma mater; if I decide to study this institution then I will need to consider how to present my own identity and relationship to the institution. As a Jewish day school graduate myself it is possible that I need to consider this issue of reflexivity no matter what, especially since I grew up in New York City and am familiar with most schools in the area either as a former student of one or as a Jewish education professional.
My outline is constructed chronologically. Perhaps this is so because this relates most easily to the idea of narrative; it also seems to be the easiest way to introduce the reader to the institution and the context of the reunion.
1. Introduction: School Reunions
2. Background: The History of the Institution and its visiting Alumni
3. Pre-Reunion: Communications and Preparation
4. Reunion: The Event Itself
5. Post-Reunion: Evaluation and Institutional Follow-Up
6. The Reunion as Tourist Event
The Council for Advancement and Support of Education serves university professionals, including those who work in alumni relations.
This commercial site allows individuals to post data and connect with former schoolmates.
The National Association for Independent Schools is the leading national association for these institutions.
This site is similar to classmates.com
A professional magazine for planning reunions of all kinds.
Bruner, Edward M. 2004 Culture on Tour: Ethnographies of Travel. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Fox, Seymour, et al, eds. 2003 Visions of Jewish Education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ikeda, Keiko. 1999. A Room Full of Mirrors: High School Reunions in Middle America. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
MacCannell, Dean. 1989. The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class. New York: Schoken Books.
Ortner, Sherry B. 2003 New Jersey Dreaming: Capital, Culture and the Class of ’58. Durham: Duke University Press.
Vinitzky-Seroussi, Vered. 1998 After Pomp and Circumstance: High School Reunion as an Autobiographical Occasion. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
I have been searching for citations of articles that focus on high school reunions as an object of study and analysis; I hope to read through these in the coming week.
Posted by BKG at 6:48 AM
October 16, 2005
Aniko on Stalin Park
After the change of the political system in Hungary, monumental communist statues that had characterized the landscape of Budapest for forty years were removed from their original locations. There was much debate around the future of these mementos of a shameful and accursed past, and eventually the city decided to exhibit the statues in an isolated park built for this purpose in the outskirt of the city, about twenty minutes from downtown Budapest.
Today, the Statue Park is one of the most popular tourist sites both for foreign and domestic tourists in Hungary. In this research paper I intend to examine why these statues, many of which are not masterpieces, attract thousands of people week after week to this tiny park in the middle of nowhere. My aim is to explore how foreign tourists, domestic tourists once used to these statues in their original locations, and domestic tourists of the new generation experience the Statue Park. What is the experience they share and in what sense do their perceptions differ from each other? What are the possible narratives they can read out from this collection of statues and memorials? In order to answer these questions I will analyze the Statue Park from three different aspects:
1. “site report” (after Pearson)
- description of the site
What is the “Statue Park”? Where and how can tourists find this place and what can they see / experience there? The introduction will provide the necessary background information of the park.
- perception of the site
In this section my aim is to explore the different ways tourists experience the site and the monuments. How does the space structure our visual experience? What is it that we notice first entering to the park? Why are the monuments located in this specific sequence? Can we observe any underlying structure? How does the music that we hear at the entrance of the park influence our experience? Many of the tourists touch the statues as well. What does this sensory experience add to our total perception?
- analysis/interpretation of the structure and organization of the site
- Apor, Péter, :Az „emberarcú szocializmus“: Szoborpark („Socialism with a Human Face: Statue Park”) Szocreál. Nr.8.
- Boros, Géza: Budapesti emlékmű metamorfózisok. („Memorial Metamorphoses in Budapest 1989-2000”) Budapest Negyed 32-33. (2001/2-3)
- Fairfax, John: On your Marx, get set… gone http://smh.com.au/articles/2004/11/26/1101219732785.html?oneclick=true
- György, Péter: Nixon Pajtás („Nixon Buddy”) Élet és Irodalom. 49./25.
- Kovács, Éva: A zsarnokság cinikus és ironikus emlékezete („The Cynical and Ironical Memory of Tyranny”) http://www.argus.hu/2003_10/ta_kovacs_e.html
- Krackau, Katja: Jurassic Park des Communismus („The Jurassic Park of Communism”)
- Stein, Frank N. Európa reá mene hodu utu reá I. – Szoborpark („Europe Would Go On This Road – Statue Park”) http://www.papirusz.hu/cikkek/?id=1879
- Szűcs, Gyögy: A „zsarnokság” szoborparkja (The Statue Park of Tyranny) http://www.bparchiv.hu/magyar/kiadvany/bpn/03/szucs.html
The analyses of the Park often focus on the Park, on the layout of this new tourist attraction, and they fail to examine the exhibited statues. What makes us go and see these statues? Barely the fact that they were manufactured for the Communist Party, or we also look at them as art works? In order to understand the statues’ effect on visitors, we need to study Social Realism, the characteristics of this artistic style that was an important device for the dominant power (the Communist Party) to bear influence on the people. Besides looking into art historian analyses of this period (twentieth century) and region (Eastern Europe), I would also like to take the following articles into consideration:
- Boros, Géza: Fanelin (“Fanelin”) Mozgó Világ, 2003/7.
- Rényi, András: A légből kapott Monumentum. (“The Delusive Monument”) http://falanx.dev.euroweb.hu/webhost/virtual/www.mozgovilag.hu/februa6.htm
In the third part of the essay I would like to reinterpret William Least Heat Moon’s term (quoted by Mike Pearson), the “deep map”. He claims that “deep maps” “combine the geography and natural history of a given location with accounts of the history and lived experience of its inhabitants” (151).This idea takes Pearson to the category of “second-order performances”, which I would like to reintroduce as “second-location sites”. In my analysis of “second-location sites”, I would like to take both the present (natural) location of this site and the earlier experienced or functional locations into consideration.
Pearson differentiates between perfected space and found space. The Statue Park is clearly a perfected (designed and constructed) space for the statues; however, in my opinion, it is just as important to look at the original “found” spaces in order to acquire a better understanding of Hungarian tourists’ reception of this attraction. Statues often play an extremely important role in urban space organization by becoming centers / meeting points or designated places for public events; in other words they establish a common knowledge and experience that the inhabitants of the neighborhood/district/city all share. Therefore, in the analysis of exhibited statues, personal histories in relation to the statues also need to be taken into consideration.
Once significant markers of community centers, today these statues are exiled and segregated from the city life. The Statue Park exhibits the statues without revealing anything about the statues’ past. In my paper, I would like to depict the histories of the monuments. Where did they originally stand? What were those locations famous for? What kind of social roles did they play in the city of Budapest? At the same time, we need to analyze the present location as well. What does this isolation and segregation signify? How can we interpret the fact that the statues had been relocated and closed far enough from the heart and the life of the city? These are all questions that I will attempt to answer by researching old maps, recalling my own memories and interviewing people who lived in the statue’s original neighborhood.
4. “Archeology creates identities” – different readings of the Statue Park
Since the Statue Park does not reveal any of the personal histories I aforementioned, tourists without personal histories and tourists who revisit memories by revisiting the statues will have a very different interpretation of the statue park. In the last section of the paper, I will turn to the present again, to explore to reveal how the present experience of the Statue Park shape the future of Hungarian identity. Here I would like to explore the “meaning” and the “feeling” the Statue Park mediates about the Communist era for those who never experienced life in Communism, i.e. foreign tourists and the young Hungarians.
“People experience material things, appropriate them, and produce a meaning for themselves.” (156) Foreign tourists and local Hungarians appropriate the experience of the Statue Park to very different discourses on Communism. I would like to conceptualize the foreign discourse on the Park in its relation to Communism by analyzing postings and chat rooms of popular travel websites, such as:
- virtualtourist.com (http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Hungary/Budapest_Fovaros/Budapest-436839/Things_To_Do-Budapest-Statue_Park_Szoborpark-BR-1.html)
- tripadvisor.com (http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Hungary/Budapest_Fovaros/Budapest-436839/Things_To_Do-Budapest-Statue_Park_Szoborpark-BR-1.html)
- travel.yahoo.com (http://travel.yahoo.com/p-travelguide-2781262-statue_park_budapest-i).
History and past always have a great impact on a nation’s identity-formation. Since the change of the political system, there has been an inevitable crisis in the conceptualization of Hungarian national identity. It is still an open question how the forty years of communist dictatorship can and should be incorporated into the nation’s self-identification. Therefore, collective memorial sites, such as the Statue Park, have a crucial role in forming the next generations’ judgement on Communism. In this last section of the paper, I will attempt to locate The Statue Park in the Hungarian Post-Communist discourse. I will introduce the nationalist narrative of the Communist dictatorship and I aim to explore whether the Statue Park contests or underpins this popular and populist attitude of judging the past. I hope that the following historiographical and anthropological writings will help my research:
- Romsics Gergely (2004) Mítosz, kultusz, társadalom. (“Myth, cult, society”) in Mozgó Világ 2004/7.
- Romsics Ignác (2003) Mítoszok, legendák, tévhitek a 20. századi Magyar történelemről. (“Myths, Legends, Disbeliefs about the Hungarian History of 20th Century) Budapest, Osiris, 2001
- Schöpflin György (2004) Az identitás dilemmái. („The dilemmas of Identity“) Gödöllő. Attraktor.
- Selling Communism in Poland
- Disgraced Monuments (documentary)
- Hoffman, Lily F. and Jiri Musil. 1999. Culture meets commerce: Prague and post-communist tourism. In The Tourist City, eds. Dennis Judd and Susan Fainstein. New Haven: Yale University Press.
- Boym, Svetlana. 2001. The future of nostalgia. New York: Basic Books.
- Light, D. 2000. Gazing on communism: heritage tourism and post-communist identities in Germany, Hungary and Romania. Tourism Geographies 2 (2): 157-176.
- Priban, Jiri. Reconstituting Paradise Lost: the temporal dimension of postcommunist constitution-making.
- Hofer, Tamas. Construction of the 'Folk Cultural Heritage' and Rival Versions of National' Identity in Hungary
This paper is the first research of a larger project that would aim to explore how tourist attractions conceptualize Communism in Hungary. My intention is to expand the research by including the analysis of the “House of Terror”, a museum at the location of the former secret police location in the heart of Budapest, which exhibits the two different tyranny Hungary (and the region) was subject to, fascism and communism as well as the permanent exhibition at the National Museum in Budapest on the forty years of communism. As I pointed out earlier, the conceptualization of communism in contemporary Hungarian national identity is an on-going process; therefore, my aim is to demonstrate different tendencies of interpretations and misinterpretations of Communism. It is extremely important to highlight the power of tourist attractions; their ability to manipulate the past and history in order to reshape present identities.
In the analysis of the Statue Park I primarily intend to rely on my own experiences and observations. I have already finished my on-site research, documented the park and the statues with the help of my digital camera. My only regret is that I could not record the tourists’ conversations. Watching other (both local and foreign) tourists and listening to their conversations on-site for hours and hours proved to be the most effective research tool in discovering and analyzing the Statue Park.
I got into contact with the designer (Ákos Előd) and the director (Ákos Réthly) of the park, who are both willing to answer any of my questions. I might interview them in the course of the research via email, primarily about facts and data of the park.
Although oral history plays a very important part in the second section of my research, I will have limited possibility to interview visitors in person. At the moment, my greatest challenge to find a way to interview people via email. I am still working on this concept, I am not sure how can I interview people from Hungary, how could I find and select those people who could help me in my research. Truesdell’s and Baum’s article reminded me that I should only contact people once I can clearly articulate my questions and what I expect from the Hungarian visitors. I think I would need to have an access of their process of reception, something similar to what I found in the posts of foreign tourists on the travel websites. At the same time, I need to remind myself: since I cannot interview a representative sample for this research, I will not be able to support any of my theses by empirical research. Therefore, it is important to emphasize that I am exploring my impressions, perceptions and anticipations, which may be wrong in some cases.
Posted by BKG at 10:05 PM
The Truth about New York City
Every year thousands of people visit New York City and return home with information and photographic documents. In addition to its edifying value, much of this factual information is also scandalous, titillating, and bizarre. How is the truth about New York made? For many, enlightenment is found on the upper deck of a bright red double-decker tour bus. Rocketing past the authentic sites of the different neighborhoods, this is perhaps the most efficient mode of seeing every single requisite site during a short vacation. A guru or a Beatrice-like intermediary accompanies the groups of lost souls on their pilgrimage to Nirvana (or descent into hell depending on their point of view), providing a voice over narrative that weaves tales of the past, present, and where to go for lunch in the near future.
New York City is a large and heterogeneous space --as evinced by the variety of available tours, (eg. the “Brooklyn Loops Tour,” “Holiday Lights Tour,” the “Harlem Gospel Tour,” etc). However, for many, New York City as a site is produced through the two-hour “Essential New York” bus tour, through its route, carefully plotted to connect all the major landmarks, and through the fascinating narration that combines the official facts with unexpected quirky extras -- straight from the mouth of a real live native New Yorker. I myself have been on this tour many times --while entertaining out of town guests, and when trying to shoot NYC B-roll without getting a permit from the Mayor’s office. I have been baffled, mesmerized, and amused by the information given by tour guides –for example the average cost of a Manhattan apartment, stories about “Mole people,” where to get a fake Rolex watch. These tours were not merely distinct from other city tours in content, but in delivery. This unique genre of story-telling not only creates an image of New York through its representations, tour guides perform New Yorkness for outsiders through their deviations from the official story. These racy tidbits about New York are repeated and are destined to be to be repeated “back home.” I consider these performances as a kind of Folkloric performance. And it is an art form that may be in jeopardy given the Daily News article published in September that accuses double decker bus guides of telling “whoppers,” “tall tales,” and “urban myths,” and in light of recent controversial recent legislation that requires licensed New York tour guides to pass a test, answering at least 97 questions correctly out of 150 (64.5%).
This project is concerned with the centrality of narrative and performance in producing touristic experiences and the production of “factual knowledge.” More specifically, I am interested in the factual knowledge produced on bus tours of New York.
• What types of information do the tour guides stress? (Historical events, current attractions, where to get a fake Rolex, etc.?)
• Is there a New York City tour narrative genre? How are narratives organized? How many multiple mini-stories are told on the tour? How much direct representation? Is there a structure to this?
• On what facts do the tour guides agree? About what do they disagree?
• How do stories make space meaningful?
• How people perform themselves as tourguides? What different roles do they perform? New Yorkers? Experts?
• What do the tourists remember? What do they ask about?
• What pre-existing, recurrent understandings and expectations seem to exist between tourist and guide?
• How do people perform themselves as tourguides? What roles do they perform? As New Yorkers? As experts?
• What about tips?
I will consider this performance from two perspectives: as a ritual and as a text. In order do so, I will employ two distinct approaches.
Ritual - My main method of analyzing the event that occurs through time, what Victor Turner calls a “processual form,” will be Participant Observation. As a tourist with a video camera, I will capture the sights, sounds, and stories of the tour. I will observe the interaction between the participants, the tour’s ritualized components and action chains, and try to find a predictable structure for these events. This will require an experience of multiple tours.
Textual analysis - Regarding the performance as a text, I will employ textual analysis. Following the events, I will analyze my recordings and make transcripts. I will look for reoccurring themes, and pragmatic considerations, such as events on the bus and audience that might account for deviations from the scripts. From an ethno-aesthetic perspective, I will attempt to sort out commonly employed native categorizations from these texts.
Documentation - I will make video and sound recordings of tour guides giving tours, as well as make images of the things they point to. These recordings will be made from the point of view of the tourist. Although they are recorded, they are more situated observations rather than objective recordings.
Interviews – In order to supplement my analysis of the event, I will solicit interviews. When possible I will interview with the tour guides and tourists following the performance. If they will allow me, I will record it, other wise I will take notes.
I am interested in learning from the tour guides’ perspective:
• how they chose the information they disseminate
• were they instructed to tell certain stories by the company,
• do they change their performances, and if so, why and under what circumstances,
• how they react dialogically to the audience demands and reactions.
• In their opinions, what makes a good tour guide.
Follwing the tour, when possible, I will ask audience members:
• Was this your first time to New York?
• What were you expecting to see when you got here?
• What was the most interesting thing you learned on the tour?
• What sights have you seen in New York?
• Did you manage to see everything on your itinerary?
I will elicit native categories from the ticket seller with regard to the nature of the different tours offered.
ANALYSIS AND PRESENTATION
Clifford Geertz distinction between “thick” and “thin” description is useful. Observational video is both a document and a means of presentation. Hours of unanalyzed footage provides a thin description and when analyzed and organized in such a ways as to create new meanings and interpretations, the end product is more similar to a thick description. Recordings can serve as field notes, and when edited, they resemble written ethnography. Edited film becomes a new text to read.
I will first study this footage and the transcripts to develop an understanding of the underlying conventions and structure. I will then attempt to capture this information and the indescribable feel, by creating a second-order performance from my recordings. I will edit this footage to create a video that metacommunicativly transmits the conventions of the genre, in terms of information, style.
I will follow the chronology of the tour. I hope the narrative arc of the film can utilize the narrative arc of the narrative journey on which the tour guides take the tourists. My final product will be a 10-20 minute will be a verite style documentary film edited from approximately 10 hours of video and sound recording.
I foresee two unrelated challenges and have developed a Plan B and a Plan C as a result.
1) Owing to the fact that is has been raining so much lately, this will be no easy task. I have seen the busses going by with tourists under plastic sheets. This would be tragic from a technical standpoint. It could become a sound piece accompanies by photos.
2) The problem with many films is that they are boring. From my prior experience, about every 3rd tour guide is a dud. I would like to film 5 tours and use 3. My back up plan is to write a paper on this topic.
Adler, Judith. 1989. Travel as performed art. American Journal of Sociology 94, no. 6: 1366-91.
Adler, Margot. “Test for New York City's Tour Guides Revamped. New Exam Excites Passions over Big Apple's True Identity.” http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1277720
Ap and Wong, 2001 J. Ap and K. Wong, Case Study on Tour Guiding: Professionalism, Issues and Problems, Tourism Management 22 (2001), pp. 551–563.
Bendix, Regina. “Tourism and Cultural Displays: Inventing Traditions for Whom?” The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 102, No. 404. (Apr. - Jun., 1989), pp. 131-146.
Breuer, Franz, and Wolff-Michael Roth. 2003. Subjectivity and Reflexivity in the Social Sciences: Epistemic Windows and Methodical Consequences. Forum: Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research 4, no. 2: 30.
Bruner, Edward M. 2004. Culture on tour: ethnographies of travel. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, pp. 1-123, 191-252.
--2005. The role of narrative in tourism. Unpublished conference paper. On Voyage: New Directions in Tourism Theory, Berkeley.
Cohen, Erik. 1984. The Sociology of Tourism: Approaches, Issues, and Findings. Annual Review of Sociology 10: 373-92.
--1985. The tourist guide: the origins, structures, and dynamics of a role. Annals of Tourism Research 12, no. 1: 5-30.
Edensor, Tim. Performing tourism, staging tourism,Tourist Studies 1, no. 1 (2001): 59-81.
Dahles, 2002 H. Dahles, The Politics of Tour Guiding: Image Management in Indonesia, Annals of Tourism Research 29 (2002), pp. 783–800.
Feiden, Douglas. “Takin' tourists for a ride: News puts city's tourist guides to the truth test – and guess what?” New York Daily News. September 24, 2005. http://www.nydailynews.com/09-25-2005/news/local/story/349505p-298201c.html
Ferate, Justin.“Testing the Tourguides.” Gotham Gazette. July 14, 2003.http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/issueoftheweek/20030714/200/451
**Fine, Elizabeth and Haskell Speer, Jean. “Tour Guide performances as sight sacralization.” Annals of Tourism Research. Volume 12, Issue 1 , 1985, Pages 73-95
Franklin, Adrian and Michael Crang, The trouble with tourism and travel theory? Tourist Studies 1, no. 1 (2001): 5-22.
Geertz, Clifford. 1973. Thick description. The interpretation of cultures: selected essays. 3-30. New York: Basic Books.
Harkin, M. 1995. Modernist Anthropology and the Tourism of the Authentic.Annals of Tourism Research 22: 650-670.
**Holloway, Christopher. “The guided tour a sociological approach.” Annals of Tourism Research. Volume 8, Issue 3 , 1981. Pages 377-402.
Kirshenblatt-Gimblett,Ciraj Rassool, Lynn Szwaja, and Tomás Ybarra-Frausto.
“ “Theorizing Heritage” Ethnomusicology, Vol. 39, n.3 1995.
MacCannell, Dean. 1973. Staged Authenticity: Arrangements of Social Space in Tourist Settings. American Journal of Sociology 79, no. 3: 589-603.
-- 1999 . The Tourist. Berkeley: University of Califormia Press.
Nash, Dennison. 1981. Tourism as an Anthropological Subject. Current Anthropology 22, no. 5: 461-81.
New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. “Consumer Affairs Creates New More Accurate Professional Tour Guide Test.” News From DCA. Press Releases. http://www.nyc.gov/html/dca/html/news/tour_test.shtml
-- “Consumer Affairs Announces Out-of-Town Tour Companies Now Required to Use only Licensed Tour Guides.” January 30, 2004 http://www.nyc.gov/html/dca/html/news/pr_13004.shtml
“New York City Sight-seeing tours.” http://www.grayline.com/franchise.cfm/action/details/id/22
Oder, Norman. “The Tour Guides Complain.” Gotham Gazette. July 14, 2003. http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/20030714/200/450
Pearson, Mike, and Julian Thomas. 1994. Theatre/Archaeology. TDR 38, no. 4: 133-61.
Pearce, 1984 P. Pearce, Tourist-Guide Interaction, Annals of Tourism Research 11 (1984), pp. 129–146.
Resources for Tour Guides http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/issueoftheweek/20030714/200/456\
Salazar, Neol. “Tourism and glocalization “Local” Tour Guiding.” Annals of Tourism Research. Volume 32, Issue 3 , July 2005. 628-646.
Scannell, Paddy. 2001. Authenticity and experience. Discourse Studies 3, 4: 405-411.
Sims, Amy. “Tour Guide Testing Gets Tough.” Fox News. Monday, June 30, 2003. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,90719,00.html
Simmel, Georg. 2002. The Metropolis and Mental Life. In The Blackwell City Reader. eds.Gary
--1950 . The stranger. The sociology of Georg Simmel. trans. Kurt Wolff. New York: Free Press.
Taylor , John P. 2001. Authenticity and sincerity in tourism. Annals of Tourism Research 28, no. 1: 7-26.
Urry, John. 2002. The tourist gaze. 2nd ed. London , Newbury Park : Sage Publications.
Veblen. Thorstein 1899. The Theory of the Leisure Class.
Excavation: Her Long Black Hair
We begin sitting on the bench. Actually, we were sitting on the bench even before Janet Cardiff instructed us to. A motley crew of workday lunchers, people watchers, readers, and phone talkers brought together by a casual commonality. There are a few among us from our performance class, sitting in a row, mirroring the line of pedicab drivers opposite – a jovial group.
So we begin by sitting down. An assault of sounds from all directions augments those of the city beyond my headphones. Sirens wail, heading west along Fifty-ninth Street. Applause from an unseen audience. A lively marching bank strikes up behind me, somewhere down by the pond, and then fades away. I know that Her Long Black Hair utilises binaural recording. I laugh at Cardiff’s cleverness, aware of the technology. But still can’t help turning around to check what is (not) really there. A taste of what is to come: events from the near and far past combine with those made in the moment. Sounds from all directions – spatially, temporally – dis/orientate us to the rules of our new environment. We are going places. (Even here on the bench.)
Her Long Black Hair is a 45-minute audio walking tour of Central Park by Canadian artist Janet Cardiff, presented by the Public Art Fund originally in 2004, and again in 2005.
The aim of my project is a reconstruction of my experience of Her Long Black Hair, in order to discover how the tour is constructed, in all its complexity, from three initial players: the park, the audio recording, and the participant. That is, how is the tour working on me? My reconstruction will build on Mike Pearson’s proposal of Theatre/Archaeology, utilizing the process of excavation and synthesis. I will reconstitute my experience in multiple ways as a way of making a “creative process in the present.” (133) A working outline for my reconstruction is as follows:
1. The first account: partial rememberings
2. Excavating the layers
- The score
- Analysis of a section
3. Tempo, elastic temporality, time travel
4. Space, the park, maps
5. The body walking
6. From near and far: intimacy and synchronicity
Short reading of partial rememberings; summation of project findings; and simultaneous short video.
Archaeology will prove to be an important metaphor here. I posit that we could look at Cardiff as an archaeologist, and Her Long Black Hair as a performance of archaeological excavation and exposition. In this vein, the watcher is active participant; the tour is a production of what the participant brings to it – her physicality, her time (in a literal sense, your 45 minutes makes the performance occur, but also in terms of your previous experiences, your history) – built around the trope of travel (in time, through space, and within the self).
The focus of my study will be personal. I will be using extensive notes and written rememberings from my two experiences of the tour during Summer 2005. I also plan to transcribe the audio recording and to re-experience the walk route through Central Park without the recording. I will reconstruct a version of the tour through scoring the many threads or ‘tracks’ that are present (narratives, actions of the park, spatial relationships, stops, real time noises, recorded noises, personal memories, exercises, coincidences, sensory experiences, temporal leaps, the pulse of walking, etc), and will analyse one section (of perhaps 3-5 minutes) in detail. I have contacted the Public Art Fund regarding access to Cardiff’s recording and am awaiting response. At this time I do not plan to interview others about their experiences of Her Long Black Hair, as my study will focus on a reconstitution of my experience, however, I am aware that I have a large pool of possible interviewees available from the class.
Other research will include readings on Cardiff and her work (in particular her other walking tours, eg. The missing voice: case study b, In Real Time, her writing and interviews with her), phenomenology, space, walking, walking in the city, and other artists concerned with walking, and travel as art. I am also interested in seeing how the writing of Georg Simmel, Guy-Ernst Debord, and Allen Weiss may inform this study. I am currently working through a rather large list of readings with the hope of developing more specific questions to guide my analysis. I feel the key is in the personal, the intimate, and the physicality of walking. This may be an area in which I could use assistance.
A very large bibliography that I am currently working from, but which will be refined, includes:
Pearson, Mike, and Julian Thomas. 1994. “Theatre/Archaeology.” TDR 38, no. 4: 133-61.
The metaphor of archaeology will be a major organising idea for my study. Julian Thomas writes in his response, “Archaeology is all about absences, about writing around what is obstinately not there – which is why archaeology should be poetic. Poetics here involves a labour of production/creation/transformation, but is also means attending to things in an intimate way…” (142) How does this relate to Her Long Black Hair? How are absences and intimacy produced?
Bruner, Edward M. 2004. Culture on tour: ethnographies of travel. Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
A model for self-reflexive writing.
Travel as art
Adler, Judith. 1989. “Travel as performed art.” American Journal of Sociology 94, no. 6: 1366-91.
* Fitzpatrick, Robert, ed. 2005. Universal experience: art, life and the tourist's eye. Chicago : Museum of Contemporary Art, DAP.
* 2005. The walk book. Koln: Verlag Der Buchhandlung Walther Konig.
* 1999. The Missing Voice: case study b. London: Artangel.
* Christov-Bakargiev, Carolyn. Janet Cardiff: A Survey of Works Including Collaborations with George Bures Miller. Long Island City, NY: P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center. 2002.
Egoyan, Atom. 2002. “Janet Cardiff.” Bomb Magazine (spring).
Biagioli, Monica. 2000. “Janet Cardiff: The missing voice (Case Study B: An Audio Walk).” ArtFocus 68 (spring).
no author. Carnegie Museum of Art site
“CI:99/00: Artists: Janet Cardiff.” http://www.cmoa.org/international/html/art/cardiff.htm
“CI:99/00: On-line Forums: Ask the Artists: Janet Cardiff.” http://www.cmoa.org/international/html/forum/cardiffresponse.htm
Caspesyan, Cedric. 2005. http://zekesgallery.blogspot.com/2005/06/janet-cardiff-e-flux-canadian-art-ad.html
1919 . “The adventure.” Translated by David Kettler from Das Abenteuer, Philosophische Kultur. Gesammelte Essais, 2nd ed. Leipzig: Alfred Kroner.
2002. “The Metropolis and Mental Life.” In The Blackwell City Reader. eds.Gary Bridge and Sophie Watson. 11-19. Oxford: Blackwell.
1950 . “The stranger.” The sociology of Georg Simmel. trans. Kurt Wolff. New York: Free Press.
* Debord, Guy-Ernst.
1955. “Introduction to a critique of urban geography.” First appeared in Les Lèvres Nues #6 (September).
1956. “Theory of the dérive.” First appeared in Les Lèvres Nues #9 (November) along with accounts of two dérives.
1961. “Perspectives for conscious alterations of everyday life.”
1956. “Methods of détournement.” Les Lèvres Nues #8 (May).
* Weiss, Allen S.
1995. Phantasmic radio. Durham, NC : Duke University Press.
2002. Breathless: Sound Recording, Disembodiment, and the Transformation of Lyrical Nostalgia. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press.
1998. Unnatural Horizons: Paradox and Contradiction in Landscape Architecture. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.
Csordas, Thomas J. 1993. “Somatic Modes of Attention.” Cultural Anthropology 8, no. 2: 135-56
Howes, David, ed. 2005. Empire of the senses: the sensual culture reader. Oxford, New York : Berg. See especially the following essays: Consciousness as 'feeling in the body'; Places sensed, senses placed: Towards a sensuous epistemology of environments.
Bull, Michael, and Les Back, eds. 2003. The auditory culture reader. Oxford, New York : Berg. See especially the following essays: A rainforest acoustemology; The sonic composition of the city.
* Space, Psychogeography
Simonsen, K. 2005. “Bodies, Sensations, Space and Time: The Contribution from Henri Lefebvre.” Geografiska Annaler Series B-Human Geography 87B, no. 1: 1-14.
Casey, E. S. 2001. “Between Geography and Philosophy: What Does It Mean to Be in the Place-World?” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 91, no. 4: 683-93.
Sinclair, Ian. 1997. “Skating on thin eyes; the first walk.” Lights out for the territory: 9 excursions in the secret history of London. London: Granta.
Hou Je Bek, Wilfried. 2004. “Do-It-Yourself Urbanism: Psychogeography, Generosity, Serendipity and Turriphilia.” Archilab Catalogue
de Certeau, Michel. 1984. “Walking in the City.” The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press.
* Edensor, Tim. 2000. “Walking in the British Countryside: Reflexivity, Embodied Practices and Ways to Escape.” Body & Society 6, no. 3: 81-106.
* Careri, Francesco. 2002. Walkscapes: walking as an aesthetic practice. Barcelona: Editorial Gustavo Gilli, SA.
* Drobnick, Jim. 1995. “Mock Excursions and Twisted Itineraries: Tour Guide Performances.” Parachute 80 (October/December): 31-37.
* Chatwin, Bruce. 1987. The songlines. London : Cape.
Solnit, Rebecca. 2000. Wanderlust: a history of walking. New York: Viking.
Mauss, Marcel (1979) Sociology and Psychology. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
* Horoder, Stuart, and Judith Richards. 2002. Walk ways. New York: Independent Curators International.
* areas needing further reading.
PS – I have just noticed Tyler’s post, and am aware of one of Andre Lepecki’s students who is also studying Cardiff. It would be useful to compare thoughts – in particular, I am thinking it might be interesting for Tyler and I to compare ‘scores.’ Did we map the same things?
Posted by Justine Shih Pearson at 2:48 PM
Old Bethpage Village Restoration as an Environmentally Immersive Site
Evil avatar of capitalism at its worst or not, there is little doubting that the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida is one of the most impressive and successful business ventures of the past fifty years. Operated under the auspices of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the entirety of Disney World consists of a conglomeration of theme parks, shopping districts, entertainment/club districts, water parks, hotels, restaurants, “backstage” office buildings, and even an experimental community called “Celebration.” In many ways, then, the Walt Disney Corporation created, controls, and operates its own separate mini-nation. The micro-management of every area of this “territory” is what allows the corporation to create something more than just an entertaining theme park along the lines of a Six Flags park – rather, they create an entire experience, which has as much in common with Richard Schechner’s idea of environmental theater as it does with a park full of roller-coasters. The experience is wholly immersive, with every aspect of life (including, in the case of Celebration, such things as grocery stores and school systems) controlled by the corporation in order to create a “magical” experience that separates life inside the boundaries of the “Resort” from life outside of it. This environmentally immersive experience is, of course, brought to its biggest height inside of the various theme parks (and water parks, as well) within the Resort – fully-created worlds of fantasy, science fiction, Hollywood film sets, African safaris, etc.
This January, I will be tagging along with my family on a trip to Walt Disney World, and hope to use the information and analysis I gather at that time as a part of my spring Masters projects. I hope to use this paper as a preparation for that project, focusing my analytical and theoretical lens upon a tourist site within the New York area – specifically, the Old Bethpage Village Restoration located on Bethpage, Long Island. Like Colonial Williamsburg and Plymouth Plantation, Old Bethpage is a “heritage site,” recreating “Long Island’s past [ . . . ] closer than you think!” Through architectural recreations (or, in the terminology of the Old Bethpage website - http://www.oldbethpage.org/home.htm - “restoration”) of historic Long Island buildings (I am having trouble finding the exact date that Old Bethpage is meant to represent), and volunteer costumed tour guides, Old Bethpage attempts to create an experience inside its borders completely different from the world outside, in this case as a site removed in history rather than one removed in geography or imagination (as is the case with the Disney World theme parks). As such, and given its close location to me and easy accessibility during the fall (it is the host to the Long Island fair, and has several events recreating historical Long Island Halloween and Thanksgiving), it is the perfect site to analyze as “environmentally immersive,” as preparation for my larger work on Disney World. My general research question, then, is to explore, “How does Old Bethpage effectively create an environment to totally differentiate its internal world, entered through the visitor center, from the external world of the parking lot and beyond?”
Capturing the Experience: I intend to visit Old Bethpage Village Restoration personally next weekend, along with a few friends and relatives, and to take notes on the sensory, affective, and environmental experience of actually being present there in the fall foliage. I will spend as much of the day there as I can, first recording my initial experiences as a visitor (later bolstered by interviews with the rest of my party who will not have the theoretical bias I come in with), and then later re-examining the village with a more trained, analytical/theoretical eye.
Documentation and Analysis: While at the site, most documentation will come from notes (either written into a notebook or recorded as separate MP3 files on my iPod recorder) and photographs, which I will later look at in conjunction with the official “visitor’s information” – maps, schedule of daily events, any gift shop items with an informational quality to them, etc. However, the question of, “How is the experience produced?” is a bit too complex for me to answer just yet, because that is, indeed, the central question/quest of my paper, discovering how Old Bethpage structures, creates, and produces its immersive experience.
Interviews: I have already contacted Old Bethpage, although have received no response, about organizing an interview with a costumed tour guide, a member of the architectural restoration team, and a curator/director of some sort for the site. Following the guidelines laid down by Barbara Truesdall and Willa Baum, I will prepare an organized, structured series of questions in advance based on continuing specific research about Old Bethpage gathered in the next few days. Additionally, I hope to interview the friends and family members who will accompany me to the site, focusing my questions on how they were affected by what they experienced at the site.
Ephemera, Material Culture, Documents, Other Sources: Again, I hope to attain a great deal of information by visiting the site, but I also can hopefully search through old archives of Long Island’s NEWSDAY daily newspaper for old articles about the conception, building, and opening of Old Bethpage. I also intend to engage in the classic “gift-shop research” method of purchasing any informational brochure/booklet/book at the actual site that I can, for later reading and analysis. Of course, I also intend to take a great deal of photographs on my visit.
Difficulties and Help: So far, most of my work has been simple preparatory tasks of contacting Old Bethpage for an interview, gathering books of interest, and some theoretical thinking/musing. In terms of difficulties, I have to wonder if I’ll actually be able to organize an interview or not, and whether one visit to the site will be enough to actually gather all the data I require. As such, some help I might be able to receive is volunteers to come with me to the site, take pictures, record their sensory experience, submit to interviews, etc.
Annotated (To A Degree) Bibliography
*Disney World – These are books I have already gathered for my upcoming Disney World project, several of which (such as the Baudrillard and Schechner) utilize theoretical lenses that can easily be applied to Old Bethpage
Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation. Sheila Faria Glaser, trans. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. 1994.
Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World, 2006. Birnbaum/Disney Editions, 2005.
Doctorow, Cory. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. New York: Tor, 2003.
Koenig, David. Mouse Tales: A Behind-The-Ears Look at Disneyland. Irvine, CA: Bonaventure Press, 1995.
Schechner, Richard. Environmental Theater. New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc. 1973.
*Heritage Sites – These books examine other, similar heritage sites, and several – particularly Kirshenblatt-Gimblett’s chapter on Plimoth Plantation and Handler/Gable’s entire study – serve as examples for my study, though none fully examine these sites as sources of “environmental theater,” which is the focus of my own study, a sort of remix of various studies (though similar, in a certain degree, to Tucker’s study on Flintstones theming in Turkey).
Handler, Richard & Eric Gable. The New History in an Old Museum: Creating the Past at Colonial Williamsburg. Durham: Duke University Press, 1997.
Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara. Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.
Lippard, Lucy R. On the Beaten Track: Tourism, Art, and Place. New York: The New Press, 1999.
Old Bethpage Village Restoration Homepage. http://www.oldbethpage.org/home.htm.
Last consulted on 9/16/05.
The Restoration of Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. New York: F.W. Dodge Corporation, 1935. Reprinted from The Architectural Record, Issue of December,
Tucker, Hazel. “Welcome to Flintstones-Land: Contesting Places and Identity in Goreme, Central Turkey.” In Tourism: Between Place and Performance, Simon Coleman and Mike Crang, ed. New York: Berghahm Books, 2002.
Posted by Andrew Friedenthal at 1:44 PM
Yochi's Project Proposal
The Merchant's House Museum
29 E.4th Street
Merchant’s House Museum was built in 1832, located on Bond Street area (now E.4th Street), as one of the most well-preserved residence of the mid-19th century. At the time when the House was built, the area is one of the fashionable locations, which provide the successful merchants to escape from the noise and congestions of the downtown area. In 1853, Seabury Tredwell, the merchant in furniture import business moved in with his wife, Eliza, and seven children. Mrs. Tredwell gave the birth of their eighth child, Gertrude, in this house. Unlike the most of their neighbors, who moved uptown in search of more elegant residence the Tredwells stayed in the Bond Street area. The family resides in this house for almost one hundred years at the time Gertrude, the last child of the family, died in 1933 at the age of 93.
The House Itself
The Merchant’s House stands along as a survivor of old New York of 19th century. The formal Greek Revival double parlors with marble mantelpieces, Ionic Columns, mahogany pocket doors, elaborate ornamental plasterwork and gas chandeliers demonstrated the life in the 19th century. Many of the personal belongings of the family members are still in the house, unfinished needlework, family photographs, chamber pots and clothes. This is a house filled with the memory of the old New York architecture and also the memory of a no-longer-exist family.
From residence to museum
After Gertrude’s death, one of the family’s relatives realized the importance of the preservation of the house, and therefore asked professionals to precede renovation and set it up as a museum, which opens to the public. In order to be more authentic, they tired down Gertrude’s restroom, which she added in the last renovation by the Tredwell’s family. Although the museum served as the demonstration of the Tredwell’s life in the mid-19th century, they also accept free donations from public, which means not necessarily all the items we see in the house belonged to the Tredwell’s. The Museum also staged itself as one of the most haunted house in the New York City, which I will talk about more in the following paragraph. The most recent exhibition is called the Coffin and Crepe, which they brought in the coffin and black drops to imitate the scenario of the house when Mr. Tredwell past away in 1865. Mr. Tredwell past away in his bedroom on the second floor and his funeral was held in the front parlor. The Museum even used one of their staff’s faces to mold a wax statue as the dead Mr. Tredwell and put him in his bed, which surrounded by chairs that explains the social customs of bereavement and death. They way they exhibit the death in the house, where the death really happened also enhanced the quality of death and memory of the Tredwell family, who is still occupying the house.
Haunted house legend
There are rumors that Gertrude is still roaming in the house after her death in 1933. The Museum took the advantage of this and set up a series activity, which related to death and spiritual experience, such as the exhibition I mentioned above, the Coffin and Crepe, the Ghostly Tales and Tours by Candlelight and the Psychic night. With the coming of Halloween, the season of ghost is in town, these activities reflect the way of exhibiting death and memory, with the comparison of different kind of narrations of ghost story, I believe the merchant’s house can be a very interesting spot of dark tourism.
I am expecting an appointment arrangement in the following week, in order to talk to the director of the museum. And I would also like to talk to other staff in the Museum, one of them is the costume conservator Helen Kapodistrias, she is continuing working on the conserving the costume collection of the Tredwells, I would also like to talk to Alison Clark, who is working on the items unearthed in a dig in the early 1990s, and the book collection, which includes many of the Tredwell family inscription.
In order to compare different kind of ways of exhibiting a residence, I would like to join the tour of the Tenement Museum, which I would like to examine the morality of different places in exhibiting authenticity, and the commodification of the memory. In the ghost season, I am also planning to join several ghost tours in order to find more similarities or difference in different kinds of haunted stories, which also reflected the richness of urban legend and the quality of memory.
1999 “The Haunted House in Literature, Popular Culture and Tradition: A
Consist Image.” Contamporary Legend. (2) 1999
Lennon, John and Malcolm Foley
2000 Dark Tourism. International Thomson Business Press.
1992 Capital. Penguin Classics.
1998 Destination Culture. University of California Press.
1976 The Tourist. University of California Press.
Yates, Frances A.
1966 The Art of Memory. University of Chicago Press.
Posted by Yo-Chi Li at 12:50 PM
The Soundwalks of Hasidic Williamsburg
The Hasidic community of Williamsburg is a stronghold against the forces of assimilation within the metropolis of New York City. Started by ultra-orthodox members of the Eastern European Jewish population after they came to the United States in 1945, the Williamsburg Hasidim has managed to create a self-sustaining and flourishing community. This community recreates many aspects of their Eastern European homeland, in terms of dress, customs, etc. Analyzing the soundwalks both for women and men of Hasidic Williamsburg, the film Divan (2003) by Pearl Gluck, and interviewing Pearl Gluck, I will explore how the soundwalks create an experiential tourist production. How is this tourist production created and how does it functions within a “closed,” or “insular” community? How do you make a tour for “outsiders” when the outsider/insider distinction in actively enforced by the community? How is the soundwalk format helpful (or not) in providing an experiential understanding of this insular community? In addition, I will explore the differences between the male and female soundwalks and how these differences reflect the separate roles for men and women within the Hasidic community. In order to bound my research I will choose one of these two themes to focus on, insider/outside, or gender, depending on what I discover.
In terms of documenting and analyzing the site I will first go to Williamsburg at a time when many people in the community will be out, for example a Saturday morning before synagogue. I will walk around neighborhood getting a feel for different sections. I will take notice and record my visceral reactions to the site: how to I feel in the neighborhood? Am I drawn to certain areas? What strikes me? Surprises me? To capture the experience I will use a small microphone, worn discretely, to record words or images, “memory triggers,” that will allow me to remember my experience. After getting an intuitive feelings for the area, I will do the soundwalk for women and the soundwalk for men. I will analyze the particular construction of this walk in the context of experiential tourism and soundwalks in particular.
Bruner and Kirshenblatt-Gimblett’s framework for analyzing a site in Culture on Tour of the Mayers Ranch Massai Production will be helpful for analyzing the soundwalk within the context of Hasidic Williamsburg. What narrative is being created? What historical context is it framed in? How is the Hasidic community framed within the larger community of Williamsburg?
Watching Divan, I was struck by its humor and self-reflexive tone. Was the tone necessary to provide a protective layer for Pearl in the precarious position she was in between these two worlds? It will be interesting to see whether the female soundwalk has a similar tone. In the examples of “progressive tourism” we have looked at -- Bruner in Culture on Tour, Lippard in On the Beaten Track and Cardiff’s Central Park walk -- tone and a recognition that the boundaries between the tourist and the tourist attraction are more malleable that at first glance have been key elements. Using Divan as an example of progressive tourism, or progressive travelogue, I will explore how it compares with the soundwalk in terms of its self-reflexive qualities and malleability of narrative. Bruner’s “The role of narrative in tourism” will provide a helpful lens to examine narrative construction.
I will interview Pearl Gluck; Barbara Truesdell’s “Oral History Techniques” and Willa Baum’s “Tips for Interviews” will be helpful for how to prepare, conduct and process the interview. In my interview with Pearl, I will explore what experience she wanted to give the listener and how she dealt with the questions of insider/outsider and gender. Maybe I will also interview a man that used to live in the Hasidic community and does not anymore, or the man who narrates the men’s tour, Joseph Piekarski.
It is important that I keep my project bounded and to that end I will focus on either the insider/outsider or the gender question. After I walk around Williamsburg this week and do the soundwalks then I will have a clearer idea of exactly how I want to focus by research. I am in email correspondence with Pearl; she is excited about the project and has forwarded my email to the soundwalk people about being a beta-tester.
On the one hand, I am Jewish so I have a certain amount of access to and a background in Judaism, on the other hand my knowledge is not as extensive as some and therefore I can augment my knowledge as need be as my project progresses.
Sklar, Deidre. “Can Bodylore Be Brought to Its Senses?” The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 107, No. 423, Bodylore (Winter, 1994), 9-22.
Using embodied knowledge to conduct research
Bruner, Edward M. 2005 The Role of Narrative in Tourism unpublished conference paper.
Bruner, Edward M. 2004 Culture on Tour: ethnographies of travel. Chicago : University of Chicago Press
Helpful for research methodology and the use of narrative
Hildegard, Westerkamp. “Soundwalking” Sound Heritage, Vol. III Number 4, Victoria, B.C. 1974, revised 2001
provides an overview of soundwalks, including how to make your own and is helpful to inform how soundwalks are constructed
Egoyan, Atom. 2002. Janet Cardiff. Bomb Magazine (spring).
Biagioli, Monica. 2000. Janet Cardiff: The missing voice (Case Study B: An Audio Walk). ArtFocus 68 (spring). -- Both articles deal with Cardiff’s work and will inform my analysis of the soundwalks
Hasidic Community of Williamsburg
Poll, Solomon. The Hasidic Community of Williamsburg
Kranzler, George. Hasidic Williamsburg: A Contemporary American Hasidic Community.
Kranzler, George. The Face of Faith; An American Hassidic Community.
These books will provide background knowledge about the Hasidic community.
Harris, Liz. Holy Days: The World of a Hasidic Family
This book will give me some background knowledge about the Hasidic world. It will also be interesting to see what her tone and narrative is as a non-Hasidic woman.
Photography of Irving Herzberg (1915-1992)
Photographed Hasidic Williamsburg community, question of representation
Zakutinsky, Rivika and Yaffa Leba. Around Sarah’s Table.
10 Hasidic women’s stories -- helpful in my exploration of gender
Posted by Sarah Zoogman at 12:47 PM
Siobhan's research proposal: Slavery in New York
For most of its history, New York has been the largest most diverse, and most economically ambitious city in the nation. No place on earth has welcomed human enterprise more warmly. New York was also, paradoxically, the capital for American slavery for more than two centuries. In October, 2005, The New York-Historical Society begins an unprecedented two year exploration of this largely unknown chapter of the city’s history. http://www.slaveryinnewyork.org/tour_galleries.htm
Slavery in New York, is the first of two exhibitions spanning from the 1600’s to 1827 when slavery was legally abolished in New York State. This exhibit focuses on the rediscovery of the collective and personal experiences of descendents of the African Diaspora. I will begin this project by first visiting the exhibit, not as a researcher but simply as an African American visitor interested in seeing such an interesting display. After this initial visit I will record general observations of what my experience was like. Upon the second and consecutive visits I will begin to analyze and record the exhibit. In Destination Culture the chapter on Ellis Island, Plymouth, and Secrets of Encounters gives me a great example of how to analyze an exhibit. I will be looking at factors such as space, narratives, the way materials are installed, the way the visitors are dressed, etc. I find that observation and experience are the basis of my project, much of which is incorporated into my research questions.
(R1) How did the exhibition come to be?
(R2) What was the process of creating it? For this question I would like to explore the input of communities, controversies, and debates.
(R3) Who designed the exhibit? What plans of the designers were not used? What were the designer’s instructions on creating the exhibit?
(R4) How do the creators of the exhibit understand their audience?
(R5) What are some current events (like hurricane Katrina) that shape the way the exhibit is perceived?
(R5)What is the press coverage saying concerning the exhibit (ie: NY Times, African American Press)?
These questions will guide my research and my overall analysis of the exhibit. I am looking at this exhibit as a kind of theater performance, and I found that Mike Pearson gave some objectives in theater archaeology that are explicit in my research. One of the objectives of theater archaeology is finding useful ways of describing what is going on in a performance. I attempt to do this in the initial observation process when I visit the exhibit as an interested member of the community. The second objective incorporated in my research is to achieve a synthesis of the narratives of the watchers and the watched. The watchers are basically everybody including myself. They are the press, the visitors, the guards, the community, and even the creators. I feel the watched will only pertain to those people visiting the exhibit. What narratives come from their viewing from those who are viewing them? I think this is an interesting aspect to explore.
Site and context, of course, are an integral part of my research. Site is defined as a locality with limited boundaries. The New-York Historical Society is located at 170 Central Park West. I have not yet visited the museum, but I am sure, tantamount to any other museums, that there are parts of it which cannot be explored, or parts that are prohibited for visitors to go (a place where only staff are allowed) that make the site a limited boundary. I think a confined space to explore something like slavery is ideal for my project. It pushes the audience to confront a phenomenon that most people, black and white alike, do not wish to explore. I find that most people either want to be alone or in a spacious setting when confronting the atrocity of slavery so their emotions, discontent, or contentment can be expressed freely without others noticing. Being in such an enclosed space pushes a level of discomfort for the performed and the performed to, which could be interesting for me to study.
Context is seen as the political or social setting of a performance. I will be looking at both. The political aspect will be incorporated when I start looking at issues like hurricane Katrina and its relevance to the Slavery exhibition, what the press is saying concerning the exhibit as well as what the community is saying. Slavery has always been a hot political topic that most people try to avoid when in “mixed” company, and I think it would be beneficial to the research of my project. The social setting of course is explicitly inherent in my research questions. It will begin with what the visitor experience is like. Do people go to the exhibit with friends, family, or “mixed” company? How does this setting change the dynamics of such groups? Do people general go with people of a similar cultural, racial, or ethnic background? All of these will determine the social setting of the exhibit.
In conclusion, I would like to say that I do not just consider this a research project, but also an oral history project. I will be collecting many stories from everyone directly and indirectly involved in this project. It is my hope that this project will contribute to some body of literature in history, oral history, performance studies, or a range of many other disciplines where slavery in New York has never been explored. I use the term explore quite often because that is the way in which I am approaching this project. It is completely exploration, and upon the ending of this exploration, I will have hoped to contribute to a field currently undiscovered.
Apel, Dora. 2004. Imagery of Lynching, Black Men, White Women, and the Mob. Rutgers University Press.
Baum, Willa. Tips for Interviewers. http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/ROHO/resources/rohotips.html
Hartman, Saidiya. 1997. Scenes of Subjection. Oxford University Press.
Kirshenblatt-Giblett, Barbara. 1998. Destination Culture Tourism, Museums, and Heritage. The University of California Press.
New York Historical Society Website.
Pearson, Mike, and Julian Thomas. 1994. Theater/Archaeology. TDR 38, no. 4: 133-61.
Truesdell, Barbara. Oral History Techniques.
Posted by Siobhan Robinson at 11:51 AM
The Hornbill festival that has been taking place annually since the year 2000 in Kohima, the capital town of Nagaland (a state in the north-eastern tip of India bordering Myanmar). A 5-day festival instituted by the Government of Nagaland, it represents the sixteen tribes of Nagaland through display of architecture, handicrafts, dance, music and cuisine. Over the past five years the festival has progressively become bigger and more popular. After the first two years of using an outdoor stadium as the site, the festival has found its permanent ‘home’ on the side of a mountain, now called the festival complex. The latest press release from the Government on October 13 of this year announces plans to turn the Hornbill Festival into a “commercial hub with the aim of recreating a ‘Mini Nagaland’. A permanent shopping arcade to sell and promote indigenous produce with an adjacent food court, complete with all traditional delicacies is also in the offing.” http://www.kuknalim.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=2076
Traditional festivals in Nagaland have never been inter-tribal, and always centered around harvesting, planting, nature cycles. The Hornbill festival for the first time brings all the tribes together to display, and perform their customs, for the purpose of boosting the economy, national identity, and ‘recovering’ past traditional forms of art and dance.
What else does this festival represent consciously or unconsciously? In what other ways can the festival be vital? Is the festival with an implicit intention of reversing the decline of traditional practices of dance and art actually an explicit instrument of alienation for the Nagas? A representation of alienation or of revitalization? Does the participation in a collective existence within the framing of the festival event, affect other forms of cultural expression outside of the festival boundaries? How does it contribute to historical revaluation? Is a new art form in the process of being shaped? With a christianized colonized transformed people, how is this ‘Naganess’ experienced, and is it fragile or taking root? Is ‘Naganess’ being made ‘fashionable’? Is the festival a ‘stabilizing’ agency amidst political turmoil, insurgency, disappearing past memory? Can it be the voice that gives expression to common ideals? Does it reveal the culture’s truest character or is it the opposite? What is the promise of the Hornbill festival to participants and ‘spectators’? Does it threaten to become a theme park? Is it a primordial experience or a contemporary experience given that the Nagas are popularly known for being headhunters? How does the atmosphere of the festival seep into the affect of the performance and thereby the affect of performance and practice outside the boundaries of the festival? And in turn how does affectual constructions transform a genre and how does expression itself restructure and reshape experience?
As a methodological lens I would actually like to focus on a documentary film that was made of the ‘Hornbill festival’. I particularly want to focus on the sounds of the film – the background and the foreground sounds. The seemingly incongruous juxtapositioning of music in this film (background music of Swanee River and Camp Town Races) accompanying the actual sounds and traditional music of the festival, provides for me an entry point as well as an interesting commentary on ‘capturing the experience’ of the festival. Given that the festival is a reconstruction and a recontextualization of Naga life and culture, how is this encoded and narrated in what I want to think as the extended ‘site’ of the film itself? What else is the film consciously or unconsciously communicating through the conjunction of visual and auditory signals both non-verbal systems of communication?
I am interested in understanding culture and experience from a sensory perspective. When I study music I want to study it from the emotive, affectual point of view, likewise when I study festival I would like to look at it from the point of view of bodily, multi-sensory affectual experience. One of the many questions Lippard raised was just how feasible is it to separate tourist culture from ‘real’ embodied culture? I would like to examine the continuing threads of ‘feeling’ and experience in the constant metamorphosis of cultural practices.
Documentation and analysis
I will begin with documenting my own thoughts and reflections on the Hornbill festival (as I have indeed already started in the questions I have raised), its literature, pamphlets, advertising on websites and blogs such as this http://www.greatoutdoors.com/published/travel/international/journeytonagaland/, wherein this traveler calls the Hornbill festival the ‘great’ festival of “bizarre rituals” completely lost in his own exoticization of the Nagas ending off his blog with what he calls a return back to civilization leaving the headhunters behind! The more perspectives the better. Various articles of BKG that I just read gives me great ideas of how to approach an idea and articulate it clearly through rigorous research and perspectives, and importantly to see how tourism structures experience, to recognize culture transmitted as a series of dispositions, to recognize distinctions between desired and manifested outcomes, the various factors at play coupled with economic arrangements that creates ‘heritage’, the varying quality of experiences in events and performances, all the while never losing sight of my main thesis and question. I would like to follow Bruner’s example of looking at various perspectives, and importantly, look at tourist practices as social practice to be studied in its own right, and not something as a representation or metaphor. I would like to keep in mind the role of the narrative for the Hornbill festival itself and the film that I want to focus on. How does the narrative begin and end or continue outside of the borderzone of the festival. And in the process, what is being created materially, physically, as a community like Franklin and Crang suggest, and most importantly for my own research, what kinds of affectual sensory changes happen or are created. I believe my approach will be more interrogative and suggestive examining varying insights. Eventually as Csorda suggests I would attempt to understand the body as the existential ground of culture, not necessarily the Hornbill festival or the film. To understand this process more I will read more of Merleau-Ponty’s work to get a grasp on the body’s intentional grip on its physical and social environment, and the bodily orientations and sensations that direct experience. I am interested in the “unconscious” processes, as opposed to the conscious models that are intended to explain and perpetuate a phenomenon as seen in the festival. The film and the experience it engenders strikes a curious balance of the unconscious and the conscious processes. I want to explore Raymond Williams work and I expect it will guide me in looking at art and culture as always a formative process in a specific active present, and to perhaps look at the articulation of feeling and affect always emergent and primary in cultural transformations.
I have tried to put together a bibliography that I expect will help me understand culture from a sensual context, the interior dimensions of perception, as well as examine the potential for individual variations within a society. I am increasingly aware of the sensory value of perception and the sensuous interrelationship of mind-body-environment, and the affectual processes that are systems of learning, transmitting and storing knowledge. I want to be aware at the same time of what kinds of sensory awareness are privileged in the competing layers of conscious and unconscious experience at a time when Nagas want to think globally and act locally.
I will interview the film maker Temjen, and ask him about his intentions in the film making and the background music, the distribution of his films availability etc. I will also interview other Nagas in Nagaland about their experience of the festival, their reaction to the film (via telephone, email or skype). I would also like to interview a couple of people here in NYC to see what they think about the film after giving them a background of what the festival is about. They would probably be fellow grad students.
Most of my interviews will be long-distance.
I do not have first-hand experience of the festival. I am relying on secondary sources.
The main thesis.
How is tourism reshaping a Naga’s experience of being Naga - the shifting sensibilities towards an ever-forming feelingful generation.
Bruner, Edward M. 2004. Culture on tour: ethnographies of travel. Chicago : University of Chicago Press.
Csordas, Thomas J. 1993. Somatic Modes of Attention. Cultural Anthropology 8, no. 2: 135-56
Geertz, Clifford. 1973. Thick description. The interpretation of cultures: selected essays. 3-30. New York: Basic Books.
Howes, David, ed. 2005. Empire of the senses: the sensual culture reader. Oxford, New York : Berg
Hufford, Mary. 1994. Conserving Culture. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.
Katz, Jack. 2001. From how to why: On luminous description and causal inference in ethnography (Part I). Ethnography 2, no. 4: 443-73.
Katz, Jack. 2002. From how to why: On luminous description and causal inference in ethnography (Part 2). Ethnography 3, no. 1: 63-90.
Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara. 1998. Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage. Los Angeles and Berkeley : University of California Press.
Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara; Goldberg, Harvey and Heilman, Samuel. The Israel Experience: Studies in Youth Travel and Jewish Identity (Jerusalem: Studio Kavgraph, 2002).
Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara. Sounds of Sensibility. Judaism; Winter 1998; 47, 1; Research library page 41.
Lanfant, Marie-Francoise. Allock, John B., and Bruner, Edward M. 1995. International Tourism; identity and change. London: Sage Publications Ltd.
Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. 1963. The Structure of Behavior. Boston: Beacon Press.
Pearson, Mike, and Julian Thomas. 1994. Theatre/Archaeology. TDR 38, no. 4: 133-61.
Taylor, Diana. 2003. The Archive and the Repertoire. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Turner, Victor W. and Bruner, Edward M. 1986. The Anthropology of Experience. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.
Williams, Raymond. 1977. Marxism and Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Posted by Senti Toy at 11:22 AM
Pier 21: Canada's Immigration Museum
Often billed as “Canada’s Ellis Island”, Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is an Immigration museum housed in the “last standing immigration shed” in the country. Between the years of 1928 and 1971, the immigration shed processed over a million immigrants who arrived in Canada by boat. After plane travel became widely available, Halifax (a port city) was no longer a hub for immigration and the shed was defunct. Until 1999, Pier 21 was basically an abandoned building, reportedly overrun with rats and disintegrating, like many buildings along this part of the Halifax waterfront. The waterfront is now being developed at an increasing rate, and the ‘restoration’ of Pier 21 6 years ago was an early part of this development.
I visited Pier 21 several times last week to gather data for this project. I experienced the museum, as suggested, first as a tourist myself; I followed a short guided tour and saw the ‘main attraction’, a multimedia theatrical film presentation housed in a mock-up of a ship at the back of the exhibition space. I wandered the exhibition. On subsequent visits I spent more time listening carefully to the audio features of the museum, which were both played over speakers near the ceiling, or stimulated by the push of a button. I later made my research motives known, and requested an interview with a staff member.
I recorded two interviews, keeping in mind the guidelines outlined by Barbara Truesdell and Willa Baum. I suppose the latest visit was the “recording” visit - I recorded interviews, gathered materials such as flyers and questionnaires, and took notes and photographs. I have made a valuable contact (Carrie-Ann Smith, manager of Research) who knows and has access to a lot of information about the history of Pier 21 the immigration shed, as well as the more recent history of Pier 21 the Immigration Museum, and the Strategic Plan for expanding Pier 21 in the next 2 years. She works in the resource center, where many people come to look up their names or the names of their family members in immigration records.
I have isolated four areas which I would like to investigate further in my research and thinking.
1. The history of the Pier 21 Museum in context: the larger development of the south-end waterfront, (related) increasing numbers of cruise ships, the “saving” of Pier 21 from disrepair, the debates about the displacement of artists whose studios had been housed in Pier 21 until the restoration began.
2. The construction of the Pier 21 visitor experience. Some interesting aspects I have isolated so far: the explicitly stated attempt to ‘recreate’ the immigrants experience, through the narrativization of the space with the use of audio, photo, video, models and paper sculptures; the ‘Pier 21 Alumni’ program (for visitors who actually came through Pier 21 between 1928 and 1971); activities to engage children (such as buying a ‘passport’ at the admissions desk and later getting stamped with a ‘landed immigrant’ stamp; and the hiring policy (a partnership with the government’s “Welcome Home to Canada” program) which serves as a job-training-and preparation program for young immigrants to Canada - the young international staff embody the link between immigration past and present. These are just a few experiential/dramaturgical aspects of the museum that may prove interesting for my paper, but I will not list them all here.
3. Pier 21 as a multi-purpose facility with competing uses and narratives. In addition to being a museum, the building rents space for special events such as weddings, proms, and conferences. As it is a non-profit society, this dual function of the space helps to sustain the museum. In addition to this, it is also a site for political leaders to speak. Because of its location, its structure, and its Canadian history content and relevance, it has served as a stage for both Prime Minister Paul Martin and President Bush. The many types of users makes for some interesting if surreal moments; you will have older visitors who came through Pier 21 (“Pier 21 alumni”), for whom visiting the space may be a very emotional experience; you will have a corporate party mingling in the area between the exhibit and the rental hall, and you will have tourists fresh off the cruise ship, who have wandered in from the cruise ship arrival facility, likely have a very limited amount of time before there bus tour or ship departs, and generally do not know that the museum is there, or what it commemorates. You may have all three at once - one day that I was there, my contemplation of the video testimonies of Pier 21 alumni was interrupted by a photographer who wanted to take a portrait of some people associated with the wedding party inside the train mock-up where the videos are played. I asked around to find out if the wedding party had any connection to the Pier’s immigration history, and staff either answered that they didn’t know, or that there was no connection. It seems that this type of multiple-use or flexible-use facility is becoming more common for the construction of new museums. Down the road, on the northerly end of the tourist portion of the waterfront, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic has plans for expansion which includes a conference center - not only does the revenue from “unrelated” weddings or conferences help the museum, but visits from high profile politicians gives the site wide exposure and connects its own nation building message with current national and international politics.
4. The plans to expand Pier 21’s exhibits to include the “broader” Canadian immigration story - starting with the first “immigrants” to Canada, the indigenous people who crossed the Bering Strait thousands of years ago. In the Pier 21 Strategic Plan there is acknowledgment that the expansion of the idea of immigration presented in the museum must be carefully implemented so as not to disturb the integrity of the site AS the site of immigration to Canada between 1928 and 1971; I am very interested to gather more information (hopefully with the help of Carrie-Ann Smith) about the ideas and plans for how these two immigration narratives are to cohabitate.
I have already completed as much on-site research as will be possible (for this incarnation of the paper at least), and I hope to obtain more information through communication with Carrie-Ann, especially for the areas described above - the history of the museum, the multi-purpose space, and the plans for future expansion. She spend a month at the Ellis Island Museum researching, and I have to double check, but I suspect that it was research, at least in part, for the expansion plan (which among the other things I described, will include an expansion of the resource center). It may prove useful for me to visit the Ellis Island museum, not as a comparison per se, but because it may illuminate the ways in which Pier 21 has been modeled on this influential american site.
As you can see, I am a bit overwhelmed with information at the moment, so I’m still stuck somewhere between the ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions. It is also possible that the areas of investigation I describe above are too broad-ranging to fit them all in - but I hope to narrow the scope a bit as I continue working. In terms of a bibliography, much of what I have found so far that relates directly to the site are newspaper and magazine articles, which can be useful both for outlining the debates that formed prior to the restoration of the pier, and as exposure/promotional material (press releases, reviews, documentation of politicians’ visits etc.). As you will see, I still need to build out the theoretical side of my bibliography. I have found two dissertations on Pier 21, but this is the only academic writing which relates directly to it that I have found so far. It is unlikely that there will be much more, but I need to collect more writing that may not be directly on the topic of the site, but on topics such as history, memory and site, the narrative uses of space in museums, and multiple uses of space and competing narratives in contemporary museum production.
Pearson, Mike, and Julian Thomas. 1994. Theatre/Archaeology. TDR 38, no. 4: 133-61.
Pearson’s notion of second order performance may prove useful in this research, as a double archaeology is happening here; the museums’ restoration and reorganization of images and objects relating to the site’s original role as an immigration center, and my reorganization of the materials and experiences of visiting the museum.
Bruner, Edward M. 2005 The Role of Narrative in Tourism unpublished conference paper.
Bruner, Edward M. 2004 Culture on Tour: ethnographies of travel. Chicago : University of Chicago Press
Bruner’s examination of competing narratives at a site may help my investigation of narratives of multi-purpose space.
Zorde, Izida. 2001 Constructing National History at Pier 21 (an MA thesis at OISE, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)
Vukov, Tamara. 2000 Imagining Canada, Imagining the Desirable Immigrant: Immigration Spectacle as Settler Postcolonialism. (an MA thesis in the Dept. of Communication Studies at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)
These two MA theses may give me insights into possible methodological approaches to further investigating Pier 21 (beyond site research).
(Author unknown) The Pier 21 Strategic Plan 2003-2007 (a power point presentation for funders and partners of the Pier 21 society)
Various Newspaper articles:
(I am not sure how to do newspaper citations but will learn by next class but here are two examples)
Nickerson, Colin, from the Boston Blobe, August 13, 1999: Canada reopens gate to the past; refurbished Pier 21 celebrates nation’s immigrant history.
Adilman, Sid, from the Toronto Star, November 9,1996: ‘Canada’s Ellis Island’ gets powerful support.
Posted by Sarah Klein at 10:48 AM
Sepharad ’92 – Commemorate or Celebrate?
As it goes, in 1492, Columbus backed by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, set sail to discover America. In 1992, several communities marked the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ discoveries. While the Italian and Spanish communities of the world sought to celebrate Columbus’ accomplishments, many communities viewed the anniversary with a more somber tone , the world Jewish community being one of those groups. The year 1992 also marked the 500th anniversary of King Ferdinand’s and Queen Isabella’s Edict of Expulsion which forced the removal of 200,000 Jews from Spain. Spain, Israel and the United States joined cultural forces to create Sepharad ’92, an international collaboration of year long events designed to mark the 500th anniversary of Jewish expulsion from Spain.
Sepharad ‘92 was at once a festival, an exhibition, cousin to a world’s fair, a historical recreation, an international committee, and overall, a tourist production. If one were to plot the events and locations of Sepharad ’92 on a map, they would end up with a densely marked network of sites that all together form a tourist production of great magnitude. The programs of Sepharad ’92 included: educational events (curriculum design, student exchange, seminars, lectures, academic publications), political events (policy changes); performances (cooking events, concerts, multimedia shows, dance productions); exhibitions (photography, art, ethnography); movements (interfaith gatherings, tours, travel programs, processions, parades); and art production (manuscript facsimile, sculpture, commemorative poster). What was produced in sum out of the parts? By who was it produced? And to what larger function did the production of Sepharad ’92 fulfill?
Stated in press publications from 1987 through 1992, the objectives for Sepharad ‘92 were for Spain to publicly and politically reconcile with the Jewish community and for the Jewish community to commemorate painful communal memory through a celebration of Spanish Jewish heritage. The irony is evident immediately. Using the story of religious intolerance, forced conversions, subsequent expulsion, and probable death to celebrate cultural flourishing, or vice versa, is oddly paradoxical. Despite stated intentions, the byproduct of these commemoration/celebrations, was dissemination of a Sephardic Jewish image based primarily on exotic cultural characteristics, characteristics that offered a less banal version of Judaism to the masses, characteristics that emphasized cultural Judaism and not spiritual Judaism. Emphasis on art and freedom implies de-emphasis on scripture, discipline, and the appearance of a rigid religion that may not have been resonating with Jews of the time. Borrowing from Said’s Orientalism, I’d like to label this process by which Sephardic Jewry was presented as an exotic option to world Jewry as “Sephardiism.” Just as Said describes the Orient as having been created or orientalized, Sepharad was created or Sepharadiized. The image of Sepharad created in modernity, as portrayed in Sepharad ‘92 is one in which culture was used to create an other that might better solidify a Jewish community in need.
In Iberia & Beyond, Hispanic Jews between Cultures, a collection of essays published from the Proceedings of a Symposium designed to mark the 5th centennial, techniques for academic wrestling with Spanish Jewish history are revealed. Bernard Dov Cooperman, the editor, introduces the volume as a critical look at what is often portrayed as an overly optimistic period of history, coined the “Golden Age” of Jewry, a moment contemporaneous with a uniquely peaceful interfaith coexistence in Spain. As shown in this collection, academia works to chip away at this myth and demystify “this historiographical overstatement” (Dov Cooperman, 3). I use the academic output of the time as a springboard for contrast. Comparing the content of essays in such volumes, or the history, to the theme and feeling of the events of Sepharad ’92, or the heritage helps to reveal the myth making involved in the celebration. The marketing becomes clearer. The shallowness of Sephardic description becomes clearer. And the need for popular consumption of the myth becomes clearer. In Sepharad ’92 history was fabelized to invent heritage.
I have already put together how Sepharad ’92 was organized in practical terms, physical and economic. Five separate groups with individual plans for marking the occasion formed: The Spanish government sponsored Sepharad ‘92 led by Manuel Sassot; The Spanish Jewish community’s Sepharad ‘92 National Jewish Commission; the World Sephardi Federation’s International Jewish Committee Sepharad ‘92 headed by Mauricio Hatchwell Toledano; Israel, Europe and the United States’ International Jewish Forum formed by former Israeli President, Yitzhak Navon; and the Quincentennial Foundation of Istanbul (Kreimerman 28). How Sepharad ’92 meandered through a religious space, a cultural space, a political space is what I will set out to describe. What did a participant in a Sepharad ’92 event get from the event and how much of what was extracted was deliberate vs. incidental?
There are several possible ways for this project to unfold and it seems to me that I am sitting on multiple paper topics. I need help narrowing in on the topic and setting the argument within a context of the correct theoretical literature. I can either empirically gather information regarding the events and locations that took place, evaluating trends and making conclusions based on trends of exposure and reaction to exposures. Or, I can narrow in on a few key events that exemplify particular themes. One possible focus event is: "Golden Threads: A Tapestry of Sephardic Experience," the exhibition that began at the Smithsonian and traveled to Spain, Israel, Turkey, France, Canada, and S. America. This event exemplifies the use of art, object, and museum in constituting a cultural statement. It would exemplify the overly exotic emphasis employed in portraying Sephardim. And it would discuss the role of art versus ethnography in portraying Sephardi Jews. The second possible focus event would be the Sephardi Odyssey Cruise sponsored by the American Sephardi Federation. I would look at who this event was marketed to and what sites were included. I would relate this cruise to a larger trend of Jewish heritage tours in Spain analyzing what is included in tours and why, utilizing travel guides for analysis as well. In this focus, I would factor in several press publications from 1992 that detailed Jewish archeological sites of interest in Spain.
I am simultaneously interested in the worldwide events as a map, as well as the events on an individual basis. I want to explore the global impact of the events, yet the individual experienced Sepharad ’92 on an a site by site basis, probably more from a bubble perspective related to the local community than to the overall package I want to describe. How did the impact of the event change when perceived as an isolated site as opposed to the distanced global image I am looking at?
Potential interviews include leaders of the organizations involved, those involved in events on the local community level, and participants in the events. Perhaps ambitious, from the senior organizational level this could include: Manuel Sassot, Head of the Spanish organization Sepharad ’92; Mauricio Hatchwell Toledano, Head of International Jewish Committee for Sepharad '92; and Hal M Lewis, Chair of international committee for Sepharad ’92 and EVP of the American Sephardi Federation. I will attempt contact with people who had active roles in lower level planning and organization of events. I would like to speak to a planner of the Smithsonian exhibition; to Raphael Abecassis, the artist chosen to create the poster representing Sepharad ’92; and to Deborah Kaufman, co director of the San Francisco Jewish film festival that traveled to Madrid. Information I will gather will be about issues that came up in planning; goals that were trying to be achieved, and factors that determined the format for which things were designed. Crucial to the study is impressions from participants, how the events were digested. What did they take away as memory? What were the impressions of the participants/viewers?
As such an elaborate production, I will explore the relationship of Sepharad ’92 to two main theoretical arenas: a border zone of Tragic Tourism and Heritage/History Tourism; and the constitution of an exotic denominational (religion/cultural) option. References include:
1. Kershenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara. Destination Culture, Tourism, Museums and Heritage. University of California Press: Berkeley, 1998
Since “representations are constitutive” (Kershenblatt-Gimblett, 80), what was Sepharad ‘92 able to constitute through its representation of Sephardic Jewry? What issues arose from how the Jewish community displayed themselves and to whom? What specific decisions were made regarding the form of the events and exhibitions based on agenda?
2. Said, Edward W. Orientalism. Vintage Books: New York, 1979
Said describes “configurations of power” (Said, 5) involved in cultures and histories. Sepharad ‘92 may have been sponsored by Sephardic organizations but where it took place, who hosted the events and who viewed them were not dominantly Sephardic. What power configurations were at work in order to invest Sephardic culture with enough worth to commit international personal leisure time to?
3. MacCannell, Dean. The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class. New York : Schocken Books, 1989
MacCannel argues, cultural productions establish a model worth copying or present new combinations of culture. In Sepharad ‘92, a model worth copying is established out of a new combination of elements; the pain of expulsion is combined with the pleasure of material culture, the historical blemish is combined with the cultural accomplishments in order to devise a new format for Sephardic culture that could better be appropriated and digested by the world’s Jewish community. How this new Sephardic picture was digested by multiple groups needs exploration. What were the affects on Israeli Jews, American Jews, Spanish Jews, Ashkenazim, Sephardim, and non Jews?
Anguilar, Manuel. Jewish Spain a Guide. Altalena: New York, 1984
Biederman, Patricia Ward. “Artist Uses Historic Year to Commemorate Sephardic Jews' Expulsion Columbus: Raphael Abecassis recount events in Spain, where a century of persecution culminated in forced conversion, exile or death in 1492.” Los Angeles Times 2Feb. 1992: 5
Chaim, Raphael. “Sepharad '92 Observations” Commentary 93:3 (1992:Mar.) 44
Cooperman, Bernard Dov. In Iberia & Beyond, Hispanic Jews between Cultures. University of Delaware Press: Newark, 1998
Hargrove, Cheryl M. “Celebrating the Quincentennial.” APT Bulletin 22, 3 (1990), 5-6
Shohat, Ella. “Rethinking Jews and Muslims: Quincentennial Reflections” Middle East Report 178 (1992:Sep./Oct.) 25
Shohat, Ella. "Sephardi in Israel: Zionism from the standpoint of its Jewish victims" Social Text 19/20 (1988:Fall) 1-35
Posted by Erin Madorsky at 10:22 AM
Producing Park Slope: A Case Study of Place-Making
The scene is set in Brooklyn, right outside my window, in fact. Park Slope, a physical space that can be described through geographical coordinates in relation to meridians and poles, a set of streets, parks, buildings and people that can be located on a map, but also a neighborhood, a community that is alive, a social being that is experienced daily by its present inhabitants, remembered by its former “natives”, traversed on the way to somewhere else by casual subway users, as well as visited and toured by curious strangers. This is what makes Park Slope a “place” and a collection of places all at once. It is a place that functions as a “locus of narratives,” historical and contemporary (Pearson and Thomas 1994: 152). It is discussed in the local press, inscribed in memory, debated on blogs and online forums, peppered with official and less official landmarks, trekked by locals and visitors during various walking and bus tours of culinary treats, historic sites and ethnic beats. It has maps, histories, many lives. It is loved, hated, envied, desired. It evokes multiple meanings and feelings for individuals and groups alike.
The borough itself, as well as several community based initiatives and non-profits working in the New York area have attempted to trace, or at least survey how Park Slope, one of many neighborhoods in Brooklyn, becomes a meaningful place. Some look to history, architecture, urban beauty, ethnic exoticism or esoteric lore, while others seek explanations within the fluid and nebulous realms of identity, memory, affect, and longing. Some function as money-making tourist productions, others as virtual paths in space and time, and others yet as activist databases. By documenting and analyzing these different projects that produce Park Slope, I hope to gain a better understanding of the various ways a place can be created, experienced, resignified, and recontextualized. I hope to detail the ways in which these productions “work”, what they do and how they do it. Important questions that I expect to touch upon, are: what places matter? Why do they matter? To whom do they matter? And hopefully what places don’t matter and why? In other words, by exploring several layers of narratives on Park Slope as a place, I hope to shed light on the different value systems of place, of history and of heritage, that function to recreate it as such in the eye of the beholder. I will briefly describe initiatives that I have selected in order to explore how Park Slope is experienced and described as a place.
The first initiative to mark Park Slope as a place seems to have happened during the early seventies when the Park Slope Historic District was created, a zone delimited on the map and physically marked with landmark signs that still stand proud on the sidewalks, providing information on buildings, neighborhood who’s whos, and general trivia. The signs are there to be glanced at during a Sunday walk, or can be followed in an ordered manner as guides to the district. A similar but different way of marking space through walking is provided by the many walking tours of Park Slope that are organized by companies such as Big Onion and New York Like a Native, where a guide takes walkers to the main sites while providing eclectic narratives about Park Slope as a place. More specialized tours include a New York Architecture tour with an online catalogue with photographs and architectural information of many of Park Slope’s buildings, and Exploring the Park Slope Religious Community, also an online tour of the multiple churches that have baptized Brooklyn as the “Borough of Churches.”
The internet seems to be an important way in which residents can express how they experience place, as in the Forgotten NY webpage where Kevin Walsh posts his personal memories, pathways and finds around the city, including a section called 5 Alive, about Park Slope’s Fifth Avenue that figures photographs, community history, and personal memory. Two other online projects stand out as interesting ways to look at how place is interpreted and experienced: Place Matters, a project co-produced by the Metropolitan Arts Society and Citylore; and PPS or Project for Public Space, a nation-wide non-profit. Both organizations focus on mapping space through alternative senses and value systems of place. Place Matters has created an online census as a tool for place preservation and revival in New York City, where anyone can nominate a place that matters to them or their community, document and propose ways of protecting it (according to this census, 9 places “matter” in Park Slope). Project for Public Space functions in a similar way, offering people a site where they can nominate “great” public spaces that build community. Such a nomination is considered a strategy that is generative, a form of place-making, but also a way to motivate preservation (Park Slope in its entirety has been nominated with a list of its important public spaces and sites).
In order to complete this project, the research methodology that I intend to follow is firstly that of my own experience of these different recontextualizations of Park Slope, using writing and photography as my mediums to record, describe, analyze and compare how each initiative creates a sense of place. Thus, I will aim to produce a “site report” in the sense discussed by Mike Pearson and Julian Thomas (1994: 150, 158). I will tour the neighborhood following the paths designed by the different productions, either through walking guided tours, ordered landmark signs, casual markings on the urban landscape, or virtual tours and printed maps. I would also like to interview both producers (tour operators and guides, people who run or work in the organizations, individuals who create webpages and virtual tours) and participants (neighbors, tourists, walkers, nominators), although I realize the first will be more accessible than the latter, since they are a larger sample, and require quite a greater deal of participant observation than this project allows for. Perhaps inviting colleagues, friends and other neighborhood acquaintances on these Park Slope adventures might be a way to remedy this difficulty. Finally, I hope to look at some of the documents that have been published on Park Slope as a place that matters, such as guidebooks, historic district maps, local media, etc.
I would also like to use this project as a case study to discuss some of the literature that exists on sense of place and local heritage, mostly in the fields of anthropology, geography, sociology and philosophy (see proposed bibliography). I am not familiar with this literature and would welcome any suggestions that anyone in the class would have on where else to look. My wider interests concern issues of local/national/global heritage and the importance of tourism in defining place in any of these frames, so if this does not make the project too wide in scope, I might look at some of the literature on global projects of heritage/place-making such as the UNESCO world heritage sites initiatives as a comparative model to the Park Slope projects.
Park Slope Historic District Designation Report. City of New York, Parks, Recreation and
Cultural Affairs Administration, Landmarks Preservation Commission, 1973.
Benjamin, Walter. “Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth Century” in Reflections: Essays,
Afforsims, Autibiographical Writtings. New York: Schocken Books, 1978.
Çelik, Zeynep, Diane G. Favro, and Richard Ingersoll, eds. Streets: Critical Perspectives on
Public Space. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.
De Certeau, Michel. “Spacial Stories” in The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley:
University of Claifornia Press, 1984.
Feld, Steven and Keith H. Brasso. ed. Senses of Place. Seattle: University of Washington
Gupta, Akhil and James Ferguson. “Beyond Culture: Space , Identity and the Politics of
Difference,” in Cultural Anthropology Vol. 7, n. 1, 1992.
Hayden, Dolores. The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History. Cambridge,
MA: MIT Press, 1995.
Hirsch, Eric and Michael O'Hanlon. The Anthropology of Landscape : Perspectives on
Place and Space. New York : Oxford University Press, 1995.
Jackson, John Brinckerhoff. A Sense of Place, A Sense of Time. New Haven, CT: Yale
University Press, 1994.
Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara “World Heritage and Cultural Economics” Forthcoming in
Museum Frictions: Public Cultures/Global Transformations, edited by Ivan Karp and Corinne Kratz, with Gustavo Buntinx, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett,Ciraj Rassool, Lynn Szwaja, and Tomás Ybarra-Frausto.
“ “Theorizing Heritage” in Ethnomusicology, Vol. 39, n.3, Autumn 1995.
Posted by Sandra Rozental at 9:48 AM
Attunement: The Ground Zero Memorial Soundwalk
Described the New York Times as a “funeral march for the World Trade Center, with stops along the way for eulogies,” the audio walking tour of Ground Zero is a 50-minute guided experience issued by the company Soundwalk. Soundwalk claims to “bring tourism to a new level” by appealing to the individual rather than the group by allowing the “non-tourist” to enter into the narrator’s mind through is voice. “For fifty minutes,” states the website, “one is immersed in a subreality of sounds, smells, and sights.” I am in interested in investigating these claims, especially the ones that propose to push conventional tourism to a new level via holistic bodily experience. Here, the question is fairly straightforward: what sort of “experience” (collective or individual) is the Ground Zero Memorial Soundwalk? Furthermore, as ongoing news reports suggest, the entire effort to rebuild the World Trade Center site is one plagued with political and social contestations. At the center of this national and international conflict is the pressing question pertaining to memory: how is this socially sanctified space to be remembered? Therefore, I am interested in how the soundwalk contributes to this process of consolidating or, possibly, fragmenting the memorial space. How are memories mediated, managed, and produced by the soundwalk? Lastly, along the lines of inquiry initiated by our discussion of “Her Long Black Hair,” I would like to investigate the soundwalk space as a “borderzone” of creativity that is conditioned by what we bring to it. If, as Lucy Lippard states, “the tourist experience is a kind of art form if it is… its own way of organizing the landscape and our sense of it,” can the soundwalk provide a “sensualized” space for a different kind of knowledge acquisition, one that is predicated on an intimate artistic experience?
Capturing the Experience: As the conventional experience of sightseeing turns into a kind of “place-sensing,” I anticipate that the work of phenomenology will become relevant to this element of my project. With this mode of place-sensing in mind, I will perform the soundwalk while using a method of thick description in noting and charting my own observances, thoughts, and feelings. This, of course, cannot be the “ethnography of one.” Therefore, I’d like to be able to “capture” the experience of others who have performed and participated in the walk. Pearson and Thomas’ notion of recording “observations which focus tightly and sensitively on particular conjunctions and instants” rather than seeking to construct a total narrative of a singular experience seems helpful here (12). Being attuned to the flow of sounds, sights, and environment in this way opens up the possibility of thinking of the soundwalk space as inherently creative and disruptive. (Incidentally, I have downloaded the recording and listened to a small part of it – I am reluctant to listen to it in full until I can take a trip down to the site. I am sure I will have a better sense of my entire project once I have performed the walk myself).
Documentation and Analysis: Here, the question of site mediation becomes relevant. I will look at the promotional literature for the soundwalk, as well as the downloadable text that was purchased from the soundwalk site. Most importantly, I will analyze the recording itself – how do sound and space merge? What are the sensual, emotional, and memorial effects of listening to actual cell phone calls saved by Verizon on the morning of September 11th of 2001? How is the story of the site being told, narrated, lived and relived and how is the past being retrieved in the present? In formulating a connection between archeology and theater, Pearson and Thomas note that every site generates multiple narratives; these narratives are synthesized in a second-order performance that reconstitutes and re-imagines the past in the present moment (14). The question, then, is how does the narrative of September 11th, 2001 replay and re-enter the present moment through the soundwalk? How is it retrieved and how are memories consolidated through sensing, listening, walking, and watching?
Interviews: All “significant” sites are somewhat sacralized by their human sensors (the ones moving through the site). I would like to conduct interviews with persons who have participated in the soundwalk. What draws these people to an audio-guided tour experience? And what draws them to ground zero in particular? More succinctly, I am interested in whether or not the soundwalk is perceived as a more “authentic” (immediate, moving, or “real”) tour of the World Trade Center site. I would also like to investigate National Public Radio's Lost and Found Sound project, directed by Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva, who created the “Sonic Memorial Project” upon which the soundwalk was based. It is pertinent to get a sense of the original intentions of the makers of the soundwalk, where they receive funding, and how the project came into fruition.
Ephemera, Material Culture, Documents, etc.: My project – my reconstitution of the site and the soundwalk – will involve what Pearson and Thomas refer to as “deep maps,” those retrieval techniques that “combine geography and natural history along with lived history (20).” Though my “maps” won’t be incredibly deep, I do like this archeological idea as an organizing principle. In this vein, I will address the significance of the site, the making and remaking of the land, and the different interests converging on this “hallowed” ground, as one journalist called it. I will rely on recent news reporting to trace this narrative strand. A “touristic” device like the soundwalk memorial is all the more interesting considering the ways in which meanings are constantly being contested at ground zero.
Outline and … Any Suggestions? I am still a bit unclear as to how I would like to construct my project. On the one hand, I could start with the background of the site/walk, pose theoretical questions, move on to a description of the walk itself, and interpret and analyze the site/walk. On the other hand, I am interested in staging my own report as a performative piece of writing, one that brings a poetics and a sensitivity to the phenomenon at hand. In writing about the soundwalk, I am converting sounds and experience into words and typeface – my perspective of the site and narrative I tell about it is but another voice vying for place on the table of traces, artifacts, and evidence. I’d like to follow Pearson and Thomas’ lead and stay true to the idea of creative (yet thorough) reconstruction.
Lastly, does anyone know Paul Auster? : ) As I am continuing to formulate and flesh out my project, I would welcome any suggestions. Particularly, I would like to acquire a better understanding of “dark” tourism, audibility/orality, and phenomenological aspects pertaining to being-in-the-world through the immediate senses. It also seems that upcoming course literature will become relevant to my inquiry. Basically, I am in need of more theoretical grounding and I am searching for other case studies that parallel mine.
Boxer, Sarah. “An Audio Walking Tour of the World Trade Center, With Stops for Eulogies.” New York Times. 9/11/04.
Casey, Edward. Between Geography and Philosophy: What Does it Mean to be in the Place-World? Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 91(4), 2001.
Connerton, Paul. How Societies Remember. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1989.
Debord, Guy. "Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography.” Les Lèvres Nues #6 (September 1955).
Fine, Elizabeth and Jean Haskell Speer. 1985. Tour guide performances as sight sacralization. Annals of Tourism Research 12, no. 1:73-95.
Howes, David. Empire of the Senses: The Sensual Culture Reader. Oxford and New York: Berg. 2004
Lippard, Lucy R. 1999. On the beaten track tourism, art, and place. New York: New Press.
MacCannell, Dean. 1989. The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class. New York: Schocken Books
Scott, Joan. “The Evidence of Experience.” Critical Inquiry 17.4 (Summer, 1991): 773-797.
Pearson, Mike, and Michael Shanks. 2001. Theatre/archaeology disciplinary dialogues. London, New York : Routledge
Posted by Brynn Noelle Saito at 1:53 AM
Hot-dogs? Sunbathing? Holocaust?
Case Study: Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin, Germany.
Historically, most memorials have been asked to perform one main task: perpetuate the memory of those who died in a tragic event, whether a war, an accident or a natural disaster, whether the victims were soldiers or civilians. Holocaust memorials often include an educational dimension and carry the message “never again” [will such a tragedy happen], and may act as a surrogate cemetery to mourn the victims whose bodies were never recovered.
Numerous Holocaust memorials exist all over the world, and the most recent one was built in the land of the perpetrators, Germany. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, designed by American star architect Peter Eisenman and unveiled in May 2005, is the first national monument dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust in Germany, and is located in the heart of Berlin, a stone-throw away from the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate, Unter den Linden, and Western embassies. Since its opening to the public, it looks like this memorial is not only performing memory and serving as an educational site, but has been assigned new functions by the hundreds of visitors who come daily: a playground, a meeting place, a tourism attraction, a recreation area, and a political statement. Can a memorial handle so many different tasks? Are some conflicting with others, and how? How is the performance of memory transformed by the other performances taking place on this very site? Should the activities unfolding at a public Holocaust memorial be regulated, and how? As a concluding question, we will see if Eisenman’s design succeeds (or fails) at performing old and new functions, and how his memorial differs from other Holocaust memorials that preceded it.
James Young’s work on Holocaust memorials serves as a good model of analysis for a start, but his literary and historical approach needs to be supplemented by other perspectives, such as tourism studies, postmodern architecture, urban studies, and performance studies. My paper will also benefit from extensive fieldwork that I conducted last May in the few days before, during and after the unveiling of the memorial (observation, interviews, visits of local Holocaust memorials in Berlin, collection of press clips and monitoring of German press online on this subject). I have also collected almost every article and book in English and German that examines this memorial but that, to my relief, follow traditional patterns of analysis such as history, art history, I hope to use this paper as a laboratory experience for my larger dissertation project, and take the opportunity to synthesize notes, theory, and empirical research: focusing on one site in order to explore all its dimensions, complexities and contradictions will hopefully allow me to create a model of analysis for other contemporary memorials that deal with the delicate issue of absent bodies and, at the same time, are trying to fulfill a number of social, psychological, political and esthetic functions. Whether they are successful or not remains the essential question I will try to answer.
While memorials (and especially Holocaust monuments) have been extensively analyzed, I hope to offer a different and original perspective to the field with a performance studies approach, which borrows from various disciplines, combines theory and fieldwork and dares juxtapose, unpack and confront findings that can inform a known site with a fresh look. At the same time, I think that performance studies could benefit from research traditionally examined by other disciplines (in this case history, art history or trauma studies), and also be enriched by the study of hybrid sites and events that stand at the intersection of the mundane and the solemn, the secular and the religious, the public and the private.
1. Introduction: brief survey of existing Holocaust memorials in Berlin and brief history of the process that led to the Eisenman memorial
2. Eisenman Memorial: How is it different from other Holocaust memorials? (architecture, location, national dimension, information center, etc.)
3. What does it intend to do? (Eisenman’s vision, political statements, press releases, rules, monument v./and information center)
4. What does it actually do? (violation of rules; tourism; entertainment; public discourse, Jewish discourse)
5. Confronting intention and reality: dilemmas and possibilities
6. Conclusion: Is the memorial a success or a failure, and if partially so, how?
• Georges Bensoussan: Auschwitz en Héritage? Du bon usage de la mémoire. Paris: Mille et Une Nuits, 1998.
• Caroline Gay: “The Politics of Cultural Remembrance: The Holocaust Memorial Monument in Berlin”. International Journal of Cultural Policy, vol. 9 (2), 2003, p. 153-166
• Shelley Hornstein: “Grounds for Mediation: The Marked Field and Eisenman’s Paths in the Present” in: Peter Eisenman, Two Projects, Catalogue to the exhibition at Temple gallery/Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, 2002.
• Rudy Koshar: From Monuments to Traces: Artifacts of German Memory, 1870-1990. Berkeley, University of California Press: 2000.
• Claus Leggewie & Erik Meyer: “Ein Ort, an den man gerne geht”: Das Holocaust-Manhmal und die deutsche Geschichtspolitik nach 1989. Munich: Hanser, 2005.
• John Lennon & Malcolm Foley: Dark Tourism. London: Continuum: 2001.
• Materials on the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Berlin: Nicolai, 2005.
• Pierre Nora: “Entre Mémoire et Histoire,” and “L’Ère de la Commémoration,” in: Les Lieux de Mémoire. Paris: Gallimard, 1997. p.23-43, and 4687-4719.
• Oren Baruch Stier: Committed to Memory: Cultural Mediations of the Holocaust. Amherst & Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2003.
• Karen Till: The New Berlin: Memory, Politics, Place. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005.
• Gérard Wajcman: L’Objet du siècle. Paris: Verdier, 1998.
• Caroline Wiedmer: The Claims of Memory: Representations of the Holocaust in Contemporary Germany and France. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999.
• James E. Young: The Texture of Memory. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.
Posted by Brigitte Sion at 12:40 AM
October 15, 2005
Michelle Brown: Seward Park Urban Renewal Area
Seward Park, located on the Lower East Side, contains the largest city-owned underdeveloped site in Manhattan south of 96 St. Plans for Seward Park affordable housing have been abandoned, ceasing the Economic Development Corporation and the Housing Preservation Department’s construction of 400,000 square feet of affordable housing and 400,000 square feet of commercial space in the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. The proposal includes 400 units of housing for low-income tenants earning approximately $20,000 a year and middle-income tenants earning between $40,000 and $80,000 a year. The city’s proposal also included a 66,000 square feet community facility for the Seward Park Urban Renewal site between Grand and Delancey Streets.
The Downtown Express newspaper’s reporter Brenda Kaysen attributed the failure of the execution of the proposal, first presented in November of 2003, to a lack of community consensus and support. She also reported that Mayor Blumberg is not the first mayor to fail in his attempt in developing this site, which is a part of the mayor’s commitment to residential development.
Frustration over affordable housing in Seward Park dates as far back as 1967, when 2,000 apartments in the renewal area were demolished. Most of the displaced tenants at this time in this area were low-income persons. They were promised in writing that they could return upon the building of new housing, however, after three decades, only a portion of the site has been rebuilt with affordable housing. Five remaining vacant sites in the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area are used for parking. As of yet the city has not unveiled an alternative to the mayor’s latest proposal.
Upon analysis of Mayor Blumberg’s proposal, I propose a mixing of both worlds. Why not include residential development as well as commercial development for the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area? This would enable investors and others in the economic market to tour the site and propose new commercial developments. This is reflective of advocacy tourism. At the heart of my proposal is breathing economic life back into the Seward Park area so that even individuals in the lowest-income bracket, $15,000 a year, will be helped. This proposal will engender the evolution of Seward Park into a mini-tourist attraction complete with new housing, unique restaurants and shops.
The biggest achievement, however, will be the gateway this proposal attempts to open up with employment or job opportunities for the current residents, primarily low-income persons in this area. This approach will resemble that of interpretive anthropology, making answers available that others have given (Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture). This new proposal will also include construction of a website, which will present before and potential after pictures of the new Seward Park area. I would also model my posters after posters used for Mayor Blumberg’s proposal in 2003, and ultimately model this proposal after Blumberg’s with the addition of commercial development.
In order to have a successful adoption of the proposal, community support and cooperation is crucial. Lack of community support was reported to be the demise of Blumberg’s proposal. In fact, critics from both ends voiced concerns. Those in favor of the low-income housing expressed that Mayor Blumberg’s plan did not do enough. Downtown Express reporter Ronda Kaysen documented Margaret Hughes, the executive director of Good Old Lower East Side, a neighborhood housing and preservation organization, as saying, “ Overall, Mayor Blumberg’s plan [for affordable housing] has not reached down into the lowest income bracket (Volume 17, Issue 32). In this same issue, Councilmember Margarita Lopez stated, “What is needed is a mixed-use plan for low- and middle-income housing interspersed with retail development. We need to be very smart about how we develop that site.” Others, like resident William Rockwell, did not support the proposal or the city’s plan for low-income housing, because he felt that “ We already have a huge amount of low-income housing. Without market rate, we will never have proper development that other neighborhoods have” (Downtown Express, Volume 16). Following suit, a portion of residents feared that the low-income housing would “ghettoize” the neighborhood.
I would like to interview Councilmember Lopez and the reporters of both Volumes of the Downtown Express from 2003. Ideally, I would interview Mayor Blumberg, but I believe that this might be difficult to do. The individuals sited in this proposal would make for nice interviews. I anticipate difficulty not only with getting an interview with Blumberg, but also with the focus of this proposal.
Although my outline is tentative and the proposal rough, I do not want to ‘bite off more than I can chew.” This project must be something I can engage in for a short period of time. I will incorporate the interview tips and even conduct my interviews in such a way to reflect a narrative. I admit that I need help in my hypothesis for this project proposal and defining a concrete tourist angle in my approach for the proposal.
Therefore, I will utilize the article by Barbara Truesdell on Oral History Techniques, the website for ROHO (Regional Oral History Office) at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, and I still need help in finding theoretical literature on advocacy tourism. Overall, this project proposal is embedded with huge implications for the future of the Seward Park area. I desire to be knowledgeable of its history, present, and future. I particularly want to focus my attention on the residents, being that I am an outsider. I believe that many of them, especially those in the housing projects in the area, have powerful stories to tell. I have a passion for capturing or bringing to light, their voice. I will use the utmost precautions to have a productive research project when entering areas that I am not very familiar with.
A. Seward Park housing plan
1. Failed attempt/Reasons for failure
2. Past of Seward Park’s housing and commercial development
II. Best of both worlds: Analysis of Proposal for Development
B. Advocacy Tourism/Hypothesis for Developed Site
1. Residential Development
2. Commercial Development
3. Gathering Evidence/Documenting the Development of Site
III. Obstacles that hinder development of site
V. Anticipated Difficulties
D. Previous studies/Theoretical Literature
Posted by Michelle Brown at 11:54 PM
Lisa's Proposal: Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park is a sight of intangible cultural heritage that has sparked recent debates over its planned $16 million restoration and reconstruction. While plans are close to finalization, the controversy has already lasted over two years (with some sources carrying the controversy back forty years). What are the various competing values that Washington Square Park holds and how are those values being negotiated in the planning phases of the renovation? These questions will be the focus of my research, however I also plan to examine how the values of the park have changed over the years, paying particular attention to the observations recorded by Sally Harrison-Pepper from the years 1980-1984. For this later area of research, I plan to replicate the area studies done by Harrison-Pepper, as well as interviewing park residents to find out the different usages of the park.
Currently, the major changes to the architecture of the park are being negotiated between Community Board 2 and George Vellonakis, the Parks Department landscape architect in charge of the renovation project.Numerous coalitions have formed to voice their opinion on park changes. I contacted Jonathan Greenberg of the Open Washington Square Park Coalition, who feels that there is no need for a major renovation of the park.“What’s wrong with the existing design of the park?” he asks.
George Vellonakis, however, feels that there are a number of problems that need to be fixed. These problems, he says, are addressed in his plans. “It hasn’t been repaired or renovated in 40 years, so there’s so much that needs to be done,” Vellonakis said. Yet, many feel that changes to the park are merely arbitrary and capricious. I hope to continue my interview with Mr. Vellonakis on another day when he is less indisposed due to the flooding problems of the past week.
My primary modes of investigation will involve interviews with various people connected to the controversy. I plan to speak with more representatives from the various coalitions, including The Mounds People (in favor of saving the concrete mounds found in the southwest section of the park), as well as those concerned about the dog walks and playgrounds.
In addition, I want to interview Luther Harris, park historian and primary spokesperson for The Emergency Coalition Organization to Save Washington Square Park. This group filed a lawsuit, which has since been dropped, to stop the renovation of the park. In a newspaper interview Luther Harris said, “The general opposition is based on the fact that what Parks is trying to do is impose a Disneyfied design that has about as much to do with Greenwich Village as Wal-Mart” qtd. in Montefinise A8). Hopefully I will be able to make necessary contacts at the monthly Community Board Meeting that deals with Washington Square Park matters.
Beyond exploring the needs that each interviewee wants the park to fulfill, I will also examine how the current park fits those needs, and where those needs fall short. In addition, I will look at the various iterations of the proposed designs. In looking at the numerous changes in plans for Washington Square Park, I hope to discover the factors that caused the inclusion and/or deletion of various park elements.
While it will be tough to work out the chronology of the plans made, I should be able to come up with a rough idea using newspaper articles and Community Board 2 meeting minutes before further contacting the architect.
History cannot be divorced from this project since controversy is not a stranger to Washington Square Park. Throughout its history, the space has gone through various iterations, including a potter’s field, public hanging site, and parade ground, before it officially became a park in 1827. More importantly, perhaps, is its history of successful community resistance. In the 1950s, the community stopped the plan, by Robert Moses, to direct more car traffic through the arch. In the 1960s, community efforts closed the arch completely to any further traffic by denying bus route access into the square. Also, in the 1970s, there was a bid by the Parks Department to install more fencing, but this bid was eventually defeated. The controversy concerning the fence is still a hot topic today, as public outcry has already prevented gates that would allow the park to be locked, and the Parks Department is still receiving complaints about the fence that will be added to surround the perimeter of the park.
Parks are frequent sources of contention within New York City. Looking at the history of city parks, one can find recurring subjects of dispute. These hot spots include dealing with the ownership, occupancy and use of private and public space, the control of individual behavior, and the role of regulatory authorities like the police and parks department. Underlying the skirmishes that take place are deep cleavages of personal and social morality, the meaning of community, the nature and power of rights, and the proper role of the state. While my project will not be so wide in scope as to cover all of these areas, I feel that examining the process of a park in the midst of massive changes will provide a kind of perspective that is needed when dealing with contested sites.
Working Annotated Bibliography
Abu-Lughod, Janet. From Urban Village to East Village: The Battle for New York’s Lower East Side. Cambridge: Blackwell Publishers, 1994. Deals with Tompkins Square Park controversy, and provides some insight into the roles that parks in the East Village have served throughout history.
De Certeau, Michel. The Practice of Everyday Life. Trans. Steven F. Rendall. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984. His concept of the local authority as well as limiting access to the
local authority may prove useful for dealing with movement within the park, and the power of the community in park affairs.
Harris, Luther. Around Washington Square: An Illustrated History of Greenwich Village. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003. Contains the history of Washington Square Park and is written by one of the coalition leaders.
Harrison-Pepper, Sally. Drawing a Circle in the Square : Street Performing in New York's Washington Square Park. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1990. She has a detailed study of how Washington Square Park was used during the 1980s.
Montefinise, Angela. “City’s ‘Arch’ Foes; Group Sues to Block Washington Square Park.” New York Post 24 July 2005, A8. Just one of a million useful articles which together may provide an evolutionary chart to the controversy.
Posted by Lisa Reinke at 9:01 PM
Scott's Project Proposal: Lower East Side Tenement Museum
Lower East Side Tenement Museum's: The Confino Family Apartment, located in an historic tenement building at 97 Orchard Street.
The 1 hour apartment tour, described as a “living history,” is based on a Sephardic-Jewish family from Kastoria who immigrated to the U.S. in 1913. A costumed interpreter performs the historical character of teenage Victoria Confino. She welcomes museum visitors as if they are recently arrived immigrants, teaching them how to adapt to America. The production is interactive with the opportunity to touch items in the apartment, dress in period clothing, and dance to period music. The tour ends with an optional hour discussion of experience in a nearby kitchen with snacks.
Capturing the Experience
I plan to visit the site multiple times, first as a regular museum patron in order to gain an overall organic and personal response to the experience. I will then return with colleagues from our Tourist Productions seminar where I will be able to engage in a more reflexive analysis (i.e. looking at myself and others experiencing the production.) Following the tour there is a post-tour kitchen conversation—which in itself could be viewed as a production—that I will utilize to gain insight into others’ reported experiences of the Confino tour. In addition to these conversations I will solicit individual interviews with colleagues and/or friends who are willing to share their thoughts and experiences with the production. I will also request an interview from the museum employee or employees who perform the role of Victoria. Finally, I will attempt to contact the director/curator/supervisor of the production in order to obtain data regarding the museum’s “living history” philosophy, educational and other goals of the production, and preparation for and maintenance of the site.
I have read over the guidelines by Truesdell and Baum regarding interviewing, and plan to prepare questions as well as provide general topics of discussion to interviewees before the meeting. I think that I will wait until I first tour the site before compiling the list.
Documentation and analysis
Drawing from the Theater/Archeology proposal by Mike Person, I will attempt to recognize and record the site by categorization or “track laying” with the delineated concepts of space, time, pattern, and detail. I will attempt to do this in a systematic manner as opposed to looking for data through a lens of site analysis. This data will then be available for analysis through various modes: Schechner’s Restoration of Behavior and Environmental Theater, Kirby’s Continuum of Acting, Kirshenblatt-Gimblett’s Objects of Enthnography, the art of mimesis, and concepts of exhibition of the fragment in situ, MacCannell’s ideas of authenticity in response to Goffman’s concept of Backstage/Front stage, Goffman’s performance of everyday life, and finally Bruner’s use of narrative in constructing meaning and experience in tourist productions. This list contains, of course, too many different approaches to flesh out in one paper. However, I will wait until I first experience the production and begin collecting data before deciding which modes to emphasize.
In Between Theater and Anthropology Schechner discusses a frame of analysis toward performance where “strips of behavior” can be considered independent of the casual systems that brought them into existence. In this manner, human action can be studied in a “processual” manner and describe emergent behavior as developing out of rehearsal. This will be useful in viewing the tourist production from various angles, such as history, ethnography, education, authenticity, and environmental theater. This method of analysis has been useful in viewing other tourist productions such as Plimoth Plantation. Comparing the Tenement Museum to this Plimoth Plantation and others may be helpful in understanding similarities and deviations.
Kirshenblatt-Gimblett’s work on objects of ethnography, the art of mimesis, and exhibition in situ can be used to shed light on the site production’s goals and accomplishments. What meaning and value is attributed to the objects and room itself when they are framed as “living history?” How does theatrical spectacle play against or with curatorial intentions? Although the site offers a “complete” historical environment, the fact remains that it a reconstruction, not true restoration. How were the choices made regarding what to include and what to leave out of the room? Merging this approach with Schechner’s, one may apply this question to behavior and acting choices as well.
Schechner’s Environmental Theater work will be particularly useful since the “watchers” of this site are actively creating the experience. As they move through the space, trying on clothes, dancing, and apparently acting in fictive narratives with the interpreter, the audience becomes authors of the site as well. In order to investigate this, the production must be considered in terms the role of the space, audience/performer interaction, and group dynamics. This approach can also enter in dialogue with exhibition in situ. What happens when the tourists become de facto curators? Finally, perhaps the main “star” of the show is the building itself. How does the building as a museum or historical marker take on meaning? Through architectural distinctness? Because it is exhibited in context? Does the contextual meaning of the space add flavor to the performance?
Since the production relies heavily on narrative, Bruner’s work in this area will be helpful. In “living history” productions, narrative is central to meaning. There appears to be multiple narratives running simultaneously throughout the Confino Apartment Tour: historical narrative embodied in primary documents of the historical Confinos, created narratives of the general immigrant experience held by museum staff and visitors, created narrative of the character Victoria as interpreted by the museum employee, narrative of immediate experience created in real time, pre-tour narrative as offered by website and instructional materials to be given to teachers and students before arrival, pre-tour narratives manufactured by individual patrons, post-tour narratives created during Kitchen conversations, and post-tour narratives individually created each time a patron relates the experience to a third party.
Finally, authenticity is central to museum productions and tourist productions in general. Everyone wants to know that they are seeing authentic or “accurate” presentations. The desire for authenticity works with and against a “living history” production where one strives for truth and seamless representation but in doing so may actually obscure facts or fabricate falsehoods. Goffman’s work on frontstage/backstage, and his general approach towards everyday life behavior as performance may be helpful in this manner of regarding the site. How does the issue of authenticity impact the site’s goals and the patrons’ experiences? How does the museum use patron willingness to perform in the role of immigrant create empathy towards those who perform the role in real life? Also, how do the various roles performed by actor and visitor relate? Is it always clear who is performing what at any specific time (e.g. museum employee performing role of employee, Victoria, personal self, entertainer, or educator; visitor playing role of museum patron, immigrant, peer in kitchen while discussing playing other roles?)
I hope to organize and display the information in various ways, including floorplans, movement scores, time-line, relational diagrams, and photos.
Ephemera, material culture, documents, other sources
Data will be collected in the following modes: personal writing of first-hand experience by researcher, quotes and paraphrases from fellow patrons, audio recording of formal interviews from employee/actor, administrator, and patrons; photos of production, primary web-site information, and printed material available to visitors. I will also request the museum administrators for access to strategic and operational material regarding site preparation, interpreter training and supervision, and data on demographics of visitors.
At this early stage, I do not know what specific assistance will be needed. I hope to provide a working draft of the paper before it is due for submission in order to get critical feedback on use of theory, organization of ideas, and clarity.
I have not yet come up with a systematic approach to data collection that would be faithful to Pearson’s concept of forensic site collection. Hopefully we will talk about this on Monday.
Regarding Relevant Literature
I have a basic understanding of most of the following work, but will need to closely revisit everything. I have not yet read Destination Culture, but it appears to be quite promising for this project, since the title alone addresses three main components of the site. I have also not read Goffman (although have read several others referring to him) and thus believe it is high time that I did so. I have only briefly scanned Scannell’s (ha!) thoughts on authenticity, but it may be helpful to the site study, and appears to be relevant to my theater work in general.
Tentative Outline of Paper
I’m a little unsure about creating an outline this early into the project. However, I think that a straightforward, detailed description of the site would be the first component. A “site report” would include demarcation of locality and context within larger community and society. I would then include data in the form of “track laying” as mentioned above. Pearson ambitiously calls for a “retrieval and reconstitution of performance” that includes two narratives. The first, of the watchers (patrons), would include oral description and opinioned values of experience and the site. This section would also include my experiences as a watcher. The second, by the watched (employees), would include strategic and operational documents, oral narratives, official information released for public, and perhaps instructional information for other curators and museum projects. I don’t know if I should color the site description immediately through the analytical lenses mentioned above or wait to do that afterwards. I assume that the paper should include a research question to be answered. Currently, my goal is to document the site (what is happening, how is it being done?) and then discuss how this can be seen through various lenses that may draw out relationships that might otherwise go unnoticed. So, aside from what I mentioned above regarding analysis, I don’t know how I would frame a hypothesis or research question. Happy to hear suggestions!
Baum, Willa. “Tips for Interviewers” http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/ROHO/resources/rohotips.html
Bruner, E. (2004). Culture on tour: ethnographies of travel. Chicago : University of Chicago Press.
Bruner, E. (2005) “The Role of Narrative in Tourism” Berkeley conference, On Voyage: New Directions in Tourism Theory, October 7-8, 2005
Goffman, E. (1959) The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Garden City, NJ: Doubleday.
Kirby, M. (1987) A Formalist Theatre. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, B. (1991) “Objects of Ethnography” in I. Karp and S. Levine Exhibiting Cultures. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press
Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, B. (1998) Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage. Los Angeles and Berkeley: University of California Press
MacCannell, D. 1999 . The Tourist. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Pearson, M, and Thomas, J. 1994. “Theater/Archeology” TDR 38, no. 4: 133-61
Scannell, P. 2001. “Authenticity and Experience” Discourse Studies 3, 4: 405-411.
Schechner, R. (1985) Between Theater and Anthropology. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvanina Press.
Schechner, R. (1994)  Environmental Theater, New Edition. New York, NY: Applause.
Truesdell, B. “Oral History Techniques: How to Organize and Conduct Oral History Interviews” http://www.indiana.edu/%7Ecshm/techniques.html
Posted by Scott Wallin at 8:24 PM
Taking off our Glasses and Putting our Headphones: Tourism of the Ear and Janet Cardiff's "Her Long Black Hair"
Tourist Studies and the Arts have long privileged vision. However, Janet Cardiff’s “Her Long Black Hair,” billed as both a walking tour and an artwork uses sound as its primary medium. Cardiff’s work doesn’t negate one’s sense of sight. Instead, she uses sound as a means of expanding one’s vision and heightening one’s engagement with and observation of the world around them. Paradoxically, one of the most intriguing aspects of Cardiff’s work is its ability to hold participants’ attention while simultaneously slipping into the background. Participants focus more on their surroundings than on the recording, though the recording is the catalyst enabling them to mentally transcend time and space, reality and imagination, the fantastic and the everyday, all during a walk in the walk in the park.
I hypothesize that Cardiff’s work manages to be so affecting due to the floating nature of the recording, which is only loosely tied to one’s physical surroundings. Cardiff’s use of binaural technology; a wide range of musical genres; a cinematically non-linear narrative structure; a layering of temporally diverse narratives; and a profound knowledge of the walk’s route that leads to uncanny coincidences, combine to provide participants with an episodic experience not unlike the natural function of one’s perception and memory. Like few other artistic experiences, the sound walk can lead to tears, elation, or harsh denunciation, but doesn’t leave participants ambivalent. I aim to examine the methods Cardiff uses in constructing her recording in order to develop a better understanding of precisely how the sound-walk works, and why it’s so powerful.
My primary site of investigation will be Cardiff’s audio recording for the sound-walk, with the photographs and actual walking route playing a secondary role. In documenting these “sites,” I will utilize personal experiences from two previous trips, in addition to a close analysis of the sound recording outside of it’s intended environment. Obviously my sense of hearing will be most useful in pursuing these studies, though visceral and emotional responses, as well as paying close attention to my thought patterns while listening to the recording will also prove of service.
I present the following as a preliminary framework for my investigation. First, I will revisit my notes and memories of the sound-walk to generate a list of particular areas of investigations and specific questions. For example, what effect, if any, does Cardiff’s use of a wide range of musical genres from Opera to Indie Rock to Gospel serve? Armed with this set of inquiries, I’ll closely examine the recording itself, dissecting its different threads in an attempt to map its structure and reverse- engineer a “score” of the piece for further analysis. This will include diagramming the structure of the recording and possibly overlaying a “map” of the recording unto a map of the walking route. I’ll then use these items as touchstones for the development of a list of interview questions. In order to broaden my discussion, I’ll interview others who have taken the tour.
That I might take into consideration as many experiences as possible, I may create a questionnaire to be circulated via e-mail in addition to conducting interviews in person. I should also like to interview someone at the Public Arts Fund to discuss how the piece came into being, and to garner a more general sense of how it has been received. It would be interesting, for example, to obtain a clearer picture of how the piece was brought back for another season, how many people wrote the P.A.F., and the nature of their reasoning. In all of the former endeavors, the writings of Truesdell and Baum will provide useful guidelines. I should also like to situate this sound-walk within Cardiff’s greater oeuvre, and potentially alongside other sound-walks, such as the one at Ground Zero. Having collected a large of body of data and a deeper understanding of the work itself, at this point I shall begin the bulk of my theoretical analysis, bringing in secondary sources and expanding my discussion of the artwork to include its theoretical resonances in the areas of phenomenology, the social construction and use of space, and conceptions of the body-image. The thrust of all this work is to better understand how Cardiff has created such a powerful work, how it differs from other artistic media, and why it is so effective.
Thus far, I have taken a substantial amount of notes on the sound-walk after two trips. I have read several articles germane to my investigation, conducted background research on Cardiff’s work online, and written a short paper on the sound-walk to begin exploring some of my ideas. In addition, I have contacted the Public Art Fund’s archive center by both e-mail and phone, enquiring as to the possibility of my gaining access to a copy of the sound recording for further research. This raises a possible obstacle to my investigation. Should I be denied access, I may have to devise a new approach to the material, or select another sound-walk as my primary focus. I might be able to use some help in this area. As Cardiff’s work is my main interest, if someone has either a personal copy of the recording, or a connection to the Public Art Fund, either might be of great help to my research.
Here follows a tentative outline for my paper, with subsequent bibliography.
- A brief personal account of experiencing Cardiff’s sound-walk and my interest in it.
- history, and within Cardiff’s body of work in specific in an effort to highlight the unique elements of this particular work.
- A detailed analysis of the sound-walk’s structure with close analysis of the recording.
- Theoretical analysis interweaving information from interviews as well as secondary sources.
- A recapitulation of the unique elements of Cardiff’s walk and how and why they give it a power beyond that of museum audio tours, tours at sights such as Ellis Island or Stonehenge.
- Thoughts on how one might take Cardiff’s work further in use or content.
Cardiff, Janet. “Her Long Black Hair.” Commissioned by the Public Art Fund and the James Family Foundation. NY, NY. 2003.
Cardiff, Janet. “Interview with Hirshhorn Curator Kelly Gordon.”
http://hirshhorn.si.edu/exhibitions/description.asp?Type=&ID=20. July. 2005.
Provides a brief history of Cardiff’s relationship with sound walks and the process through which she creates them.
Casey, Edward. Between Geography and Philosophy: What Does it Mean to be in the Place-World? Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 91(4), 2001, pp.683-693. 2001.
Casey discusses the relationship between one’s body and place. This should be helpful in discussing the unique roll that place plays in Cardiff’s sound walk and the ways in which she manipulates each participant’s relationship to their surroundings.
Moon, William Least Heat. Prairy Erth. London: Andrew Deutsch. 1991.
Though I haven’t read it yet, Pearson’s mention of Moon’s conception of a “deep map” seems closely related to Cardiff’s creations.
Massumi, Brian. The Evolutionary Alchemy of Reason. Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation. Duke University Press. Durham, 2002.
Using Australian artist Stelarc as a centerpiece, Massumi discusses alternative conceptions of the body and means of transcending our normal conception. This text will serve as a point of contact between Cardiff’s sound walk and its phenomenological implications.
Pearson, Mike. Theatre/Archaeology. TDR The Drama Review 38, 4 (t144), Winter 1994.
An interesting exploration of the relationship between performance scholarship and archaeology along with possibilities for furthering the overlap between the methodologies of these two disciplines. Will be useful in demarcating my “site” and representing it linguistically. Also the passage on “Track Laying” offers some ideas for how to approach Cardiff’s recording. Also introduces interesting notions of the watcher’s role in creating a performance, an aspect central to Cardiff’s work.
Schilder, Paul. The Image and Appearance of the Human Body: Studies in the Constructive Energies of the Psyche. International Universities Press, Inc. New York, 1950.
Like Massumi, Schilder explores alternative conceptions of the body and its construction through social processes. This again ties to the
phenomenological aspects of Cardiff’s sound walk.
Simonsen, Kirsten. Bodies, Sensations, Space and Time: The Contribution from Henri Lefebvre. Annals of Geography 87 B (1): pp.11-14. 2005.
Simonsen explicates the phenomenological writings of Henri Lefebvre in relation to Merleau-Ponty, Nietszche, and Lacan, among others. She also introduces ideas concerning the body’s interpretation of the world, and the relationship of the body to space and time. All of these areas obliquely figure largely into Cardiff’s sound walk. Thus, Simonson should be useful in exploring the “why” of Cardiff’s sound walk, and how it affects our bodies and perceptions.
Provides links to a couple of weblogs that mention Cardiff’s piece. Could be useful for contacting people outside the department regarding interviews, as well as simply reading different perspectives.
Briefly gives background on “40-part Motet,” and provides some comparison between this work and Cardiff’s sound walks in the words of the artist herself.
Extended interview with Atom Egoyan of Bomb magazine. Gives background on a number of Cardiff’s works, her goals, and her views of her works with relation to other mediums.
Posted by Tyler Sinclair at 8:01 PM