Tourist Agency stands for the second phase of my research. It comes after Pool Slides and Springboards that served as a preparation phase, in which theoretical framework for the future 'jump' into literal journey was defined. After I read a lot and got excited by the voices of Lucy Lippard, Jacques Rancière, Ariella Azoulay, Allan Sekula and Dean Maccannell, among some others, I was set to embark for a new test.
I booked 7 nights at the hotel Rosamar in Benidorm, in order to spend time among people who spend their holidays there. I was a tourist, a visitor, but also an observer and a reporter of this experience. I took long walks, visited attractions, recorded what I saw, wrote a diary about it, ate and slept.
In this phase, one of initial questions was - can I as an artist/photographer/writer approach a subject (that is usually studied by experts in many other fields) with my own artistic tools and methods and bring insights relevant for knowledge production around this subject. Are these insights of any relevance in the context of specific fields that deal with the subject in more exact and objective manners? These questions are partly based on my assumption that a research performed from a non-expert point of view can bring insights relevant for the subject studied from different angles by different expert positions. In my work, I deliberately take the role of an amateur, a curious amateur, in all these other fields, still being an expert in taking subjective point of view, or switching points of views, that is permitted in arts, and watch what happens when I approach the topic, in this very case, of tourism, equipped with curiosity and my artistic tools.
Where does knowledge about tourism I gained in the first phase of research interact with my personal experience of the journey in the second phase? How do information and intuition/impression intersect? Can I document these processes that happen on the way, and translate them into formats that can bring new or add to the existing knowledge on tourism or tourist behaviour?
My investigation is therefore twofold. From one side I take tourism and traveling as a sample for my inquiry on the relation between written word and photographic image in my work. On the other side, I put the subject of my work in this case - tourism, and the tourist, as well as interdisciplinarity and its capacities, on test. Additionally, I juggle between my roles of an observer, participant and the narrator, curious about the mutual relation of these perspectives and limitations that they propose.
The title of the video comes from a chapter in "The Ethics of Sightseeing" by Dean Maccannell, who has watched the video, confirmed the use of the term and took part in an inspiring email exchange around the subject later.