28 June 2010

Sacred 4 Sale :: Identity Tourism


Excerpts from : The New Age of Tourism

"The most salient characteristics [of New Age tourism] are a preoccupation with the self, in which self development becomes a leisure  activity, (people become tourists in their own identity), and an ecological sensibility... this form of tourism consists of a commercial transaction, the consumer not only purchasing a tangible product, but also the possibility of a novel, exotic (Cohen 1974), life transforming and even sacred experience (MacCannell 1976, Graburn 1989, Nash and Smith 1991)."

(Dormice Psychobuilding at GG Gallery London)

"The New Age movement is alleged to be suffused with egoism and narcissism (Wilson 1976, Lasch 1978, Anthony et. al. 1983, Wallis 1984), and, in its ostensible quest for self-development, it has been accused of an over emphasis on the subjective (Heelas 1982) and emotive (MacIntyre 1981) aspects of existence, therefore offering a ‘psychological alternative’ to religion (Parsons 1993:288)... it is also described as ‘focused upon an alternative lifestyle’ which emphasises ‘community, ecological sensitivity and holistic elements’ (Parsons 1993:284)."

 (Dormice Chinese New Year at GG Gallery London)

" ...a significant number of  projects at New Age [tourism] centres, initiated by both staff and visitors, are enthusiastically begun but never finished.  For example, at Ecologic College a course entitled 'The Voice of the Land', aimed to examine human relationships with the landscape, stimulated the idea of building a pond.  The pond was impulsively and enthusiastically dug by participants and volunteer helpers during the duration of the course, the idea being to use the technique of ‘puddling’, a traditional method of using clay and cow's excrement, to make it water tight.  Several months later however, the project had been abandoned. It transpired that the enthusiasts had been unable to make this technique successful and had lost interest. The pond was a simulacrum, an idea or image and it was this idea or image that was important to their ‘ecological sensibility’ (Huyssen 1990:3744) not whether it was successfully realised. It appears that people dip in and out of projects like surfing channels on television, it not mattering if the whole programme, is not watched."

(Dormice Essential at GG Gallery London)


1. Sutton, Paul , and Joanna House. "The New Age of Tourism : Postmodern Tourism for Postmodern People?." The New Age of Tourism. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 June 2010.

2. Dormice. "Psychobuilding; Chinese New Year; Essential". GG Gallery London. .


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