The various and strange ways mass tourism has presented itself in different countries is an extremely interesting aspect of contemporary society.
The time that most tourists allow for a visit is often too short. The typical way of visiting a new city, and often even natural landscapes spots, is to do it quickly: taking brief glances, snapping pictures, buying a souvenir and then departing for the next spot on the itinerary. A tight schedule often removes the pleasure of a genuine encounter. Experiencing a place for the first time should also be an occasion to stop from everyday running and rushing, to think and to try to understand the reality that stands in front of us.
Nowadays, with high-resolution records of almost any place in the world readily available, we might suppose that this almost bulimic way of experiencing the pleasures of travel would go out of fashion. In reality, the agenda of “speed tourism,” as it’s informally called, has never been so congested with widespread destinations in so short a period of time. Scheduled visits to Europe in 8 days or jaunts through USA national parks and cities in 14 days are increasingly popular.
Isn’t traveling a matter of living and discovering a reality that is different from the one we find at home? Shouldn’t a trip be an occasion to take some time to think about how incredible the world is? A time to realize the strength and variety of nature and how different cultures are organized?
Sadly enough, the answer seems to be a no. Italians want restaurants to cook spaghetti in Cairo and Americans expect cold sodas all over the world and they rarely leave their cars or buses for a long walk. With the choice between spending 3 days in one place and changing cities each morning, most people will choose the second option in order to put a check on their mental map and be able to say, “I have been there.”
Here two projects that make a reflection on timing, the stress of keeping the schedule in a big city as well as in a Mediterranean island instead of enjoying and experiencing with all the senses.
AETNA, Sicily, Italy 2005
triptic of color film photographs
The visit to the month Aetna has been described in literature since the Roman times as a deep experience of the strength and beauty of nature.
The Vulcan creates an almost magic landscape, where the colors are odd and we can experience a sense of the Sublime in the romantic conception. The loneliness and fragility we feel facing this strong and big Vulcan completely disappear if the experience becomes a “tour” : the magic gets lost!
Tour operators for American and Japanese tourists propose a walk on a secondary and small crater located at 3 minutes from the parking area and the departure of the cableway. A big restaurant situated just on the left of the small crater (2 min walk) welcome the visitors after the rapid tour. The spot visit (walk +lunch) take in some tours in total 2 hours! Most of the tourists spend less than 20 min on the crater.
Extract from 10 STEPS TO BB ! New York, USA 2008
Sound, digital color video, 24:10
This project is a virtual video postcard of a visit to the Brooklyn Bridge. It lasts just the time that several guides recommend visitors to spend on the bridge during the sightseeing in NYC (20 minutes on the Brooklyn Bridge), and precisely follows their instructions: walking half the way of the ancient bridge then turning back instead of reaching the other side. Smiling portraits photographs are an unavoidable part of the ritual. The video aims to underline the stress and nonsense of habits we often take as tourists.
Ironically, we are all tourists: someday, and we might do silly things as well, just to have the feeling that we are really taking the best out of our trip. We see more easily the craziness of this “tourist ritual” in our hometown, in the places that are familiar to us. Comments and interviews Pozzoli took on the bridge are added to the video. They are redundant on purpose. Needless to say, we all repeat a path made by thousands before us. Just to prove that: “I have been there”.