CHAPTER: Kuenstlerhaus, Vienna
May 20th, 2005
2.15 – 6.00 pm (lectures part 1: The Other self)
Is to travel "to possess the world"? Tourism, Media, and
(Post-) Modernity in Europe and India
Organized tourism, emerging in the early 19th century, in its combination
of travel and sightseeing, has become an essentially visual activity
of western subjects, theorized in terms of the negotiation of the
conflict between (western, white, male) Self and (non-western, non-white,
African and Asian) Other. In recent decades, however, organized
tourism as a visual activity has spread out to non-western societies,
particularly in Asia and South Asia. How is the western scopic regime
affected by this shift, i.e. by the emergence of the former object
of the tourist gaze as the gaze’s subject? Does non-western
tourist practice challenge the regime of the tourist gaze, or does
it merely follow along the same lines, albeit with a change of geographic
direction? Taking India as its example, this contribution discusses
tourism as spectacle in Bollywood song and dance numbers and argues
that Indian tourist practice articulates a highly specific conflict
of tradition and modernity, a conflict that has to be situated within
the framework of what Geeta Kapur calls the "incomplete modernity"
of contemporary Indian society. The contribution will further argue
that such a conflict is not exclusive to non-western tourist practice.
Rather, the conflict between Self and Other inherent in western
tourist practice should be reread as an indication that western
modernity is perhaps less complete than a critical concept such
as „incomplete modernity“ implies.
Alexandra Schneider (Berlin)
received her Ph.D. from the University of Zuerich Film Studies Department.
Since 2002 she lectures at the Free University of Berlin. She has
published in Visual Anthropology, Film History etc.
Zinganel (Vienna) is a theoretician of architecture,
artist, curator based in Vienna.