Dimitra Kondylatou: Holidays Without a Holiday: Global Capital, Tourism and Contemporary Artistic Practices

Advisor/tutor: Bassam El Baroni
Arnhem, June 2017


Living in times of increasing professional mobility, we should reconsider and re-approach tourism as an activity that more and more people practice in-and-out of their business and research trips. In this paper, I propose a stretched notion of tourism, by starting from the literal meaning of the word tourism, “to wander around”, and by trying to investigate how different kinds of travellers and their practices interact with the places they reach. Tourism is becoming a daily asset, as the frequency with which many people travel today and their travel habits and attitudes do not concern only holiday vacations, neither refer only to bourgeois or passive consumption. By reflecting on the imagery constructed for a place from the inside (locals), the outside (tourists), and from a specified and often mediated outsider position (the cultural systems and agents of representation), I attempt to follow the developments and shifts that connect the fields of art and tourism. The tendencies, entanglements, complexities and insufficiencies inscribed in the cultural mediation often result in outcomes which do not exceed a symbolic level of representation. What such outcomes achieve is the generation of their subjects' branding images. While in tourism this is de facto a commercial process embedded in the dominant power system, in the case of contemporary art, this process is supposed to subvert the rhetoric of this system, yet many artistic outcomes support and perpetuate it. As a result, similar processes in both fields fail to emphasise the fruitful dialogues and the intense encounters that may take place in contexts of displacement.