Posts Tagged ‘Place’
The Intangible Archive is the project that I’ve been working on, with sound artist/composer Philip Reeder. I presented on it last week at the Association of Art Historians conference, and I’m on my way to San Diego to present at Museums and the Web 2012. Rather than a linear, temporal sound walk, it’s a spatial way of engaging with memory. It’s an extension of the archive, where I’ve re-archived memories according to their links with place. People can search the archive by walking around St Ives, looking for memories to listen to. It comes out of my practice, which asks people to articulate their memories and finds creative ways of sharing those memories with others. Sharing memories with others is a form of re-archiving; augmenting the memories others through encounter. This creates a multiple, distributed archive, where there are many different forms of remembered encounter, each one unique, connected to place, and archived in the memory of each person that searches for fragments of the archive to make their own story of place. Voices that don’t often get heard getting their say in history. Making archival silence into archival noise.
The Intangible Archive is an archive without walls. It’s a way of encountering memories from the archive, outside of the archive itself. Using mobile technology and headphones, participants can create their own history of place by walking around St Ives. A soundtrack composed by Philip Reeder, from field recordings of St Ives, plays while participants walk, and at certain points, voices from the Memory Bay oral history archive will speak. Instead of being told a particular history from a particular point of view, the direction of walking determines the narrative.
There are more video snippets at
The St. Ives Archive is housed [housed; where the memory lives; the dwelling place for the memories; where memory sleeps until it is disturbed and rearranged to become history] in the Upper Chapel Room, St. Andrew’s Street. If you walk along the seafront towards the train station, you’ll find the St. Ives Society of Artists clinging to the very edge between land and sea. If you walk the other way, past the cafes and shops, weaving in and out between the holiday-makers in the summer, or trying to escape the penetrating winds in the winter, you’ll find the 15th Century church, and the harbour, and beyond that, Porthmeor beach and Tate St. Ives.
The building itself is constructed in granite, its walls almost half a metre thick. The Upper Chapel Room is found by going through a small set of blue double doors at the side, ascending the steep carpeted staircase and at the top, turn right and go through the glazed wooden door off the small landing. The space itself reveals its construction, white-painted beams hold-up the Methodist‘s architectural simplicity, the attic-like space filled with light by the large windows at each end [three per wall, two small with four sections, two with eight panes, two with six, and a larger window in the between, three instead of two wide, and an extra row of two-by-six windows on top].
It’s not an very big space, neither is it small. The room is the whole of the floor, save for a small landing with a toilet and a cupboard, and at the far corner, a latch door leads to a little kitchen with its assortment of mugs, tea-bags and tea-towels, and a kettle that seems slow to boil [though not as slow as the one in the kitchen in the house in which I live].
At the kitchen end, is a computer that stores the oral history archive and slide-shows of photos, and next to it is the microfiche machine. Microfiche is still an esoteric thing of great mystery to me. I only partly understand it. We need to become better acquainted, the microfiche and I. Working clockwise around the room from the microfiche on the back wall next to the kitchen, there is the Family History Corner. This is for actual genealogy, rather than the genealogy of ideas or knowledge. Along the long wall that faces the door, are cupboard-topped shelves that reach from floor to ceiling, except because the roof is sloped, there is a gap. I’ve often thought it might be a good place to sleep [sleep with sleeping memories], rather than just daydreaming.
On the shelves are a rainbow of ring-binders, filed not quite according to their position on the spectrum. They are filed according to subject, and to each subject a colour is assigned. It starts with blue for Family History at the far end, then red for Buildings, purple for History, green for Maritime, and yellow, for sun, sand and Tourism. Black ringbinders are for the serious matter of the arts. Grey archive boxes contain monochrome memories in black and white photos. See-through plastic boxes hold precious glass plates and photographic negatives; look through to see.
Turning to face in the opposite direction is the other wall with the big windows which face the sea, with St. Eia’s Church to the left and the Society of Artists to the right. You can just see the see in the middle, between the rooftops opposite. You can also see Godrevy, dunes, sand, but no lighthouse. Along this wall are computers. These are necessary for lots of reasons, yet the data stored in the memory of the volunteers is far easier to access, and can be retrieved using simple voice activated commands. This is much more user friendly, and needs no special training to use. The search results are filtered, and come with intelligent metadata, and recommendations for further searches. Apparently, this is also how the Semantic web, or Web 3.0 will work. There are no accession numbers, or filing systems required. However, the system of memories is unique, sophisticated and individualised.
Turning again to the other long wall, there is a fireplace, not in use for fireside tales, with a sign above that says ‘THIS IS A DISUSED MINESHAFT it has been fenced for your protection PLEASE HELP TO KEEP IT SAFE’. Next to this there are three filing cabinets, two brownish beige and one royal blue. From left to right, they respectively contain administrative things, Artists and Sculptors and General Art (A-Z), and Volunteers and Displays and Writers and Poets. Next to filing cabinets is a dividing wall of desks and photocopier at ninety degrees to the wall, ending in a display table with local history books and postcards of local views for sale. The door to the stairs is on the other side of this half-wall. This divides the volunteer’s working area from the public’s working area. This separation is further defined by the difference between the assorted proper desks on the one side, and smaller tables, each with two assorted chairs, on the other. The visitors’ side tables, three of them, are an interwar shade of lemon syllabub. Modern red and black chairs sit in pairs with the lemony tables. The half-glazed door leads out on to the landing again, and on the landing is the cupboard where books are stored, and not unlike in Borges’ Library of Babel, the toilet.
But as Bachelard said, one never goes downstairs from the attic.
The idea of the summer holiday was instilled in the middle-classes, with most employed getting a week or two of paid time off work, and as the train journey from Paddington to Penzance now took a reasonable six and a half hours, more and more middle class people were venturing as far as west Cornwall on holiday. Although ’s silks and gowns never functioned explicitly as souvenirs of the county, and thanks to an efficient distribution system, could be bought as far a field as Australia, without the need to ever travel to the wilds of west Cornwall, it could be argued that Walker’s designs represent a continued commodification of the region. They projected the image of a romanticised primitive retreat from modernity, which offered an escape to a simpler way of life separated from the speed of urban existence that begins with the painted representations of Cornish life by the original Newlyn School of artists in the dying years of the nineteenth century, and is continued both in the craft production of copper, pottery and enamel jewellery. Cultural products in turn produce an idea of culture, one bound up and reinforced by the site of production.
The world, along with the Empire, began to shrink for middle class women as travel abroad became more accessible and available. The bohemian and artistic circles attracted to the freedom offered by the wildness on the edges of the English Riviera began to travel with greater frequency to the French Riviera, which also offered golf, tennis and swimming, but also sunshine and glamour in greater quantities. The exotic beyond British shores became more familiar to the less glamorous and bohemian too, from society pages and novels, where even the ‘poor’ Mrs. Wilkins in The Enchanted April, wife of a thrifty solicitor, could save enough from her dress allowance to rent an Italian villa for a month. Equally, Agatha Christie’s characters travel widely. Light notes:
Travel books are not like travel guides intended for bona fide travellers – rather they are armchair romances for the stay-at-homes. Christie’s detective fiction, itself reading for leisure, must have been doubly appropriate for holiday reading.[...] From being a place known only as part of the empire, ‘abroad’ is amorphously exotic whilst at the same time being reassuringly familiarised. [...] Abroad was being imagined as a place for consumption and leisure, a home from home.
Cryséde’s catalogue for summer 1931 (see illustration 2.2) speaks to both the armchair traveller, and the visitor to the South of France in its promotion of hand-printed linen beachwear:
Printed by hand in original and very distinctive designs, Cryséde have again taken and kept the lead in these wonderful Linen Coats and Frocks. So very different and so unlike anything seen elsewhere, they have captured even the imagination of the French.
Seen last year in other designs along every water’s edge from Le Touquet to the Lido, they are proving more popular than ever in 1931.
This statement contains an interesting ambiguity, both declaring the class-based leisure activities of the imaginary Cryséde customer and a provocation to the aspirational buyer, whilst the use of ‘Lido’ – presumably the Venice Lido – could also be referring to the less glamorous popular outdoor bathing pools in Britain, of which several were built during the interwar period to meet the demands of modernist healthful ideals, such as the Jubilee Pool at Penzance in 1936. So the domestic exotic is available to the female consumer, whether she holidays in glamorous resorts of the continent or the poolside of the newly built lido. Cryséde is desired and admired even by the French, suggesting that Walker’s designs are so fashionable that they are equal to the designers of Paris.
The culture and politics of place are embodied in Cryséde’s fabric itself, in which intertextual threads of nostalgia and fictive history were printed on to the surfaces of silk. The designs serve to emphasise the site of production, creating a double-layered reification of place and identity. Motifs such as St. Michael’s Mount, Newlyn Harbour, and Godrevy Lighthouse, are specific and defined, metonymic representations of Cornwall. The Eiffel Tower, London’s Tower Bridge and Chinese junks signify affluence, adventure and travel, both domestic and exotic.
Susan Stewart asserts that:
[t]he double function of the souvenir is to authenticate a past or otherwise remote experience and, at the same time, to discredit the present. The present is either too impersonal, too looming, or too alienating compared to the intimate and direct experience of contact which the souvenir has as its referent. [...] The nostalgia of the souvenir plays in the distance between the present and an imagined, prelapsarian experience, experience as it might be ‘directly lived’. The location of authenticity becomes whatever is distant to the present time and space; hence we can see the souvenir as attached to the antique and the exotic.
The souvenir becomes a way of negotiating the complex present, mitigating alienation and taking refuge in nostalgia. Cryséde’s vibrant pastoral fabrics perform the function of the souvenir, a corporeal external display of modernity that allows the wearer to escape the alienating present and take refuge in the nostalgia of the intimate of the domestic exotic.
The pain of the past is sublimated by unsentimentality, diverting and deflecting real emotion and real appearances into an imagined pastoral that refuses to negotiate with modernity. It is not surprising that following a period of great loss, that the pastoral has such an appeal in exchange for the real past:
[i]t has often been said that the pastoral mode wins its reflective qualities only at the price of an inability to deal concretely with cultural reality, as the author takes refuge from complex cultural problems in evocations of an imagined, simpler realm.
It is the search for the authentic, the handmade, the exclusive craft object which favours Cryséde’s designs, like the adventurous tourist seeking an exotic and authentic adventure, the fashionable modern woman seeks to be different from her peers, yet not so unfamiliar that her appearance is alienating.
The catalogue of 1931 depicts on its front cover a full-page aerial photograph of St. Ives, the square white block of the Cryséde factory ringed for the benefit of the reader. The contrast between the ultramodern format of the image and its subject, a fishing village in a pastoral landscape, speaks concurrently of technology, modernity and speed, yet also crafts, tradition and slowness. Its concomitant text reinforces the dichotomy of the domestic exotic, echoing the narrative of du Maurier, of smuggling and salty seadogs, of a place on the periphery, at the edge of the world resting precariously between land and sea. The text extends an invitation for tourists to visit the factory, which by this time was running tours for visitors conducted by members of the factory’s staff.
St. Ives… Home of Cryséde Silks
St. Ives! What romance and history is associated with the name. The fishermen of this little port have always been famous for their seafaring skill and boldness; in bygone days even smuggling was not unheard of.
Many artists have transferred its beauties to canvas and so made it one of the best known parts of Cornwall. To many, St. Ives is linked with Cryséde Silks and it is fitting that such delightful materials should be produced in an old building, the latterly modernised, on the Island, St. Ives.
This building is enclosed in a white ring in the photograph above; bounded by the old harbour and the open sea.
We shall be pleased to welcome visitors to St. Ives at Cryséde, to show them examples of our work and some of the unique processes which Cryséde undergoes in order that it may attain its ultimate loveliness and charm.
The blend of the old and the new, tradition and modernity is described in the promotion of the catalogue’s copy, romanticising the factory and underlining an alternative function as a tourist destination, as if it were a craft workshop.
The mode of viewing from the air distances and separates, confines and controls the wild landscape. The patterns themselves speak of the domestic exotic in prints that are aerial views of Cornwall and further afield. The rusticity of Welsh Hill Farm is defined by its goat and traditional Welsh costume hat, London Pride by the image of London Bridge. Eiffel Tower is the essence of Paris in its most famous cultural landmark, and Chinese Junks shows the romance of the orient in a panoply of little boats. Again, these are representations of romanticised and essentialised notions of place, functioning to reduce landscapes to simple motifs, like picture postcards. Like the photograph on the cover of the catalogue, the prints take an aerial view of their subjects, reducing them to tiny cottages and miniature people. They are separated by the camera’s lens, distorted and compressed by distance, as if viewed from an aeroplane. In this way the ancient motifs of landscape and tradition are distanced and separated, framed by modernity. The domestic exotic landscape becomes the domesticated exotic, transformed by compression and miniaturisation.
According to Stewart, the transcendent viewpoint implied by the miniature ‘erases the productive possibilities of understanding through time. Its locus is thereby the nostalgic.’ Whilst she is referring here to the landscape of the amusement park or the historical reconstruction, it could be argued that Cornwall, in its role as tourist destination, functions as both, the landscape marking ‘nostalgic allusions to interiority and fictiveness.’ So the very modern aerial view by miniaturising the landscape paradoxically creates a nostalgic narrative of place which makes the modern more familiar.
Compared with the grounded and land based viewpoint taken by traditional toiles du Jouy, or Dufy’s prints, the viewpoint offered in Cryséde designs could be seen as a modern way of looking. It can be seen in many other designers’ work of this time. Footprints’ Welwyn Garden City gives a bird’s eye view of the patchwork urbanity, as does Ruth Reeves Metropolis, to which the miniaturisation of the suburban or the city is most appropriate to confine and familiarise the image of modernity. Technological advances in aerial photography made in the Great War led to cultural advances in image-making, in turn giving people a new way of seeing the world, a new viewpoint, which gives artists and makers a new creative eye.
The flattening of the picture (or pattern) plane and the style of the brushstrokes is suggestive also of the exotically fashionable orient, an anglicized version of Chinese or Japanese art, which had of course also been an influence on French design. This connotation creates an impression of layers of exoticism from the orient, via France, to England. (Walker never travelled abroad apart from Paris, so it is possible that prints such as Koyoko, Coral Island and Samoa, in addition to those already mentioned, were realised from copies of photographs. )
The tension between the domestic and exotic is evident also of Walker’s initial designs. Polly Walker relates the story of events of the evening of Walker’s return from Paris, as witnessed by her uncle. Having spent the trip sketching and encouraged by Dufy’s advice to create his own designs, Walker was so filled with creative vigour that upon seeing the table laid for dinner he refused to allow anyone to touch the food until he had completed a sketch of the scene. This became Lobster Supper, the lobster a signifier of luxury, affluence and exclusivity as well as representing lobster pots, fishermen and a middle-class view of rustic peasantry, and features in many of the St. Ives Society of Artists paintings. The lobster is at once a sign of continuity of tradition, of lack of change and the passage of time, and yet also of modernity, expensive and exclusive restaurants, momentary indulgence.
 Catherine Horwood, Keeping Up Appearances: Fashion and Class Between the Wars, Sutton, Stroud 2005 p.79.
 St. Ives, Carbis Bay, Penzance, Land’s End, Illustrated Guide Book, Ward, Lock & Co. London 1928, p. 12.
 Melbourne Argus, 2nd February 1921.
 Chris Thomas, 1997 p. 121.
 Elizabeth von Arnim, The Enchanted April, (Macmillan & Co. Ltd, 1922; Pocket Books Simon & Schuster, Inc. 1993) p. 77.
 Alison Light, 1991, p. 90.
 Spring Catalogue 1931, Cryséde Archive, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro.
 Susan Stewart, On Longing, Duke University Press, Durham & London, 1993, p. 133.
 Glenn Adamson, Thinking Through Craft. Berg, New York 2008, p.104.
 Spring Catalogue 1931, Cryséde Archive, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro.
 Susan Stewart, 1993 p. 60.
 Susan Stewart, 1993 p. 60.
 Lesley Jackson 2002 p. 74.
 Interview with Polly Walker, 17th February 2009, Penzance.
I was going to go for a walk around St. Ives today, and take pictures of things. However, it looked like this, and although I don’t mind getting wet, don’t think the new device would like it much.
Janet and Alban made another video on Friday. I’ll post about that as soon as it’s available. It’s an incredibly touching story from the archive.
I am developing an obsession with guidebooks. I’m particularly fond of the little fold out maps. They contain opinions and advice on the nature of place and encounters with place.
The idea of sites for painting becoming sights for people to come and look at through the circulation and distribution of images is interesting. A site is somewhere artists come to paint, the site becomes a scene, tourists come to see the site of the scene, the scene becomes a picture postcard, more tourists come to see the sights/sites. This is something pointed out by Lubbren, that the art colony is a precursor to the holiday resort, where artists make a place known for its particular beauty, then the images of that place become known, which attracts people to visit. In turn also, the presence of the artists mean the development of facilities to meet their needs, which are developed further to accommodate the needs of tourists.
Thus that one scene, perhaps one moment, of local life, might be translated into a series of other moments, many of which would later be sent out into the world, to be hung in galleries, reproduced in books, and so on. And because of seeing those results, all kinds of people might be tempted to visit the place that inspired them.
Denys Val Baker, Britain’s Art Colony by the Sea 1959 p.22
So, back to the guidebooks. The images of Cornwall and St. Ives produced by artists which in turn attract other visitors are interesting, but a textual version of these images come in the form of the guidebook. The earliest one that I have stumbled across in a second-hand bookshop in London is Black’s Guide to Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. Published in 1877, its tenth edition, it pre-dates the first ideas of art colony in the county. The theory that it is indeed the artists which establish place as tourist site/sight, endowing a place beauty, making it attractive/attraction, is perhaps best illustrated by the short piece on St. Ives from Black’s:
The position of St. Ives, [...] is one of picturesque and uncommon beauty,; and it is to be regretted that the favourable impression which at first the tourist necessarily forms should be dissipated on his entrance into the town by its accumulation of nastiness. The streets are narrow and crooked; the shops mean and squalid; and everywhere pervades a fishy smell, “most tolerable, and not to be endured”.
Black’s Guide to Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, 1877
As David Tovey points out in his survey of early guides in St Ives Art Pre-1890: The Dawn of the Colony, visitor accounts refer to St. Ives as being disorderly and putrid-smelling, and some even recommend avoiding the town completely. 1877 is the year that the branch line is completed, during a decade which sees the beginning of a decline in the fishing and mining industries.
Why do artists come to Cornwall?
It is a mixture of material and mystical, facts and fantasies, all equally important. The climate, the brilliant light, the almost Mediterranean blue of the sea, the fascinating formations of rocks and cliffs, hills and valleys, sand and pebble shores – these are some of the more obvious attractions. So, too, is the comparitive freedom and easiness of life in a small but cosmopolitan town such as St. Ives, as compared to most of the provincial towns and industrial areas; the congenial atmosphere of working and living among large groups of fellow artists; the facilities of numerous art galleries and show-rooms, several art societies, clubs and other meeting places; and last but by no means least, a sympathetic local population and press, conditioned by several decades of growing-up alongside the art colony, so that what might seem an oddity if dumped in some other part of Britain has come to be taken for granted in Cornwall.
The bones of this land are not speechless
And first you should learn their language
This is a hideous and wicked country,
Sloping to hateful sunsets at the end of time,
Hollow with mine shafts, naked with granite, fanatic
With sorrow. Abortions of the past
Hop through these bogs; black-faced, the villagers
Remember burnings by the hewn stones.
Heath-Stubbs makes Zennor sound like the vision of the countryside/Cornwall portrayed in Straw Dogs or An American Werewolf in London. It’s a strange, alien and terrifying place. Part of England, but not of it. It’s a truly hellish vision.
Val Baker goes on to recount Walter de la Mare‘s reaction to his first visit to Corwall, who wrote that he didn’t feel safe until he’d crossed the River Tamar and was safely back in Devonshire. He also mentions that Aleister Crowley was rumoured to visit West Penwith regularly to conduct black masses.
It’s not really surprising that the freedom felt by artists engendered by landscape also attracted those in search of other kinds of freedoms. The ancient wildness of Cornwall’s landscape , along with its Iron Age dwelling places and standing stones has the suggestion of the pre-Christian, and perhaps could be described as godless.
It is then that the drowned sailors of the past can be heard hailing their names above the moaning of the waters. It is then that the sense of the primordial, the strange and the savage, the unknown, the very long ago, fills the dusk with something that is akin to dread. It is then that the place becomes haunted; a giant heaves grey limbs from his granite bed; a witch sits in that stone chair on a cliff…
Past and present, moments and centuries, all are entangled and interwoven in Cornwall. Eternity is contained in a hundred years. And this is not only reflected in the landscape but in the people.
The past of their lives has lost neither face nor voice behind the shroud, nor are the passions of the flesh, not is the animate soul, wanting to it. Other races forfeit infancy, forfeit youth and manhood, with their progression to the wisdom age may bestow. These have each stage always alive, quick at a word, a scent, a sound, to conjure up scenes in spirit and in flame.
The Cornish people themselves are like their land, an old and knowing race, withdrawn to strangers, living as much in the past as the present; without, as has been said, much creative inspiration, yet with a quick response to all things of that nature.
reaction to a sensitized soil
The thing about the Cornish is that they are not nice: exciting and attractive, but not nice. They have colour enough to turn the spectacles of most onlookers pink but it is not fast to light. The impulsiveness that goes as far as magnanimity does not sustain generosity; the devotion, loyal to fanaticism, has no fidelity; the forthcomingness keeps much more back than reticence – like an iceberg, two-thirds under the water, if there were not anything less like an iceberg than any Celt… Where does it go, then, all the colour? The warm tones of manner, the light and shade of speech? the colour goes into the personality. Almost one might say it is enough for the Cornish to be Cornish; btu not quite for they have a full measure of Celtic discontent. The energy that makes for colourfulness goes into the business of living – always a hard one in Cornwall – the fervour into congregational worship, into a personal relationship with omnipotence, not into embellishing its dwelling-place; the enterprise into seeking fortunes afield.
R. Glyn Grylls Cornish Review
A somewhat dark and damning description of the Cornish, really, although R. Glyn Grylls is herself Cornish, that I dare say would be unpublishable now. At least you’d hope so. But that idea of both the landscape and the people, its/their fundamental alienness, persists in popular culture as the aforementioned films demonstrate just one example. The English middle-classes love to holiday in cottages across the county, but will still make jokes about its ‘primitive’ nature unthinkingly.
The open coliseum of each little cove of sand or rock may be the theatre for any natural, supernatural or unnatural event. The unending presence of the sea breathing ceaselessly over the shoulder of each hill, the the rock charged with a thousand sunsets or carved by a hundred years of rain, the little trees loaded with berries growing away from the prevailing wind, offering crimson to green, the mind’s incessant vertigo at the cliff edge, and the slow constructional flight of the seagull – these things in some way act as the charming of magicians and open up the deeper rooms of experience in man, making him aware of his being part of the natural universe, at the head of a great unseen procession of gods, and devils, spectres and dragons; of being a channel for unknown and undefined forces; of facing the mystery of life, awakening powers of perception which search beyond the frontiers of normal events.
There is a good reason, of course, for the fascination which the streets and buildings of St. Ives have for artist. It is simply a lack of change.
Atmosphere! Yes, that its the important ingredient of St. Ives as an art colony: an atmosphere that gives as well as takes, to and from the artists. Did St. Ives have atmosphere before the artists came and settled? Of course. But is that atmosphere stronger because of their presence? Again, of course. We are on subtle ground here, but then the atmosphere of an art colony is a subtle thing. [...] Thus that one scene, perhaps one moment, of local life, might be translated into a series of other moments, many of which would later be sent out into the world, to be hung in galleries, reproduced in books, and so on. And because of seeing those results, all kinds of people might be tempted to visit the place that inspired them. And once they had seen St. Ives at first hand – the cobbled streets, the fairy-like harbour, the Mediterranean-blue sea, the artists at work before their easels, pictures hanging everywhere, studios tucked away down almost every little by-way – what would be the general reaction? Wonderment, delight, fascination, ‘there’s nowhere else like it in Britain’. How many thousands of people are there who come back to St. Ives year after year for this very reason; how many indeed, as I know myself, who have come for a visit and stayed a lifetime?
Finally then, how are we to define what it is that draws them? The place? The paintings? The fishermen? The artists? Or perhaps everything curiously mixed up?
It is on these lines, I fancy, that St. Ives has become what it is today. It remains, underneath, what it has always been, a Cornish fishing port; but it has had imposed on it the everyday life of an artists community – an imposition at first resented and resisted, but later accepted and even assimilated so that today ‘them artists’, as the fishermen used to refer to them, with a wealth of disparagement, are as familiar to the locals as the postman, the butcher and the baker. If you stop and consider those last words, perhaps you may experience their full impact.
Western seaside resorts are multilayered places, redolent with meaning for the present and memory of the past.
Seaside architecture, combined with a multiplicity of images related to the seaside, define its meaning and consumption.
Discussion of arguments surrounding the perception and consumption of nature. Can nature be consumed? If not, how is it used, experienced, represented, perceived?
The visual sense was increasingly hegemonic in the sensing of the natural world, and nature, including the sea, was transformed in to an overridingly visual spectacle. In turn , the fundamental process of tourist consumption became capturing the gaze, each one of which could ‘literally take a split second’. Everything else in the tourist experience and tourist services was relegated as subsidiary.
Once the middle and working classes were able to holiday by the sea, one persistent conflict revolved around whether resorts were select and respectable or popular and open to all comers. … A higher social tone could be attempted, for example, by resisting the the freeing of restrictions on bathing, entertainment and transport that might lure working class visitors and opposing the development of facilities, including piers in the second half of the nineteenth century and holiday camps in the interwar period of the next century, thought to endanger a resort‘s reputation by making it more popular.
Buying a room in a hotel, a ticket for a seaside attraction or simply sunbathing on a beach [also] involves buying into a more general idea of the seaside or a particular resort. We consume a reality and an image, and the two may not match.