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


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Hume, DL 2004 , 'Pebbles to postcards : an investigation into the activity of tourist art, souvenirs and other artefacts of travel', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Hume, DL
Keywords: Souvenirs (Keepsakes), Collectibles
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2004 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2004. Includes bibliographical references

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