Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Fig. 6.1.
Eyetracker used in a shopping mall for evaluation purposes. Copyright eyesquare.
language and imagery used in tourism pro-
motion to prefer the male, heterosexual gaze
(Pritchard and Morgan, 2000).
This short overview opens up the fi eld of
visual interactive representations of urban and
tourist spaces and locates the technique used
for 'tracking a semantic gaze' (in methodical
and technical terms) within this fi eld of visual
(remote) encounter of urban space and percep-
tion analysis. This approach visualizes selected
parts of the city and lets the observer explore
the visual fragments by photos, which are linked
by visual content (spatial links). Following these
links, the photos will be morphed and cross-
faded to evoke the impression of a continuous
stream of pictures, like a movie (walkthrough).
The technical background comes from an
approach that tries to enable people with the
least requirements possible to build 3D models
of their urban space, working just by linking
low-resolution pictures (Tanaka et al ., 2002).
The idea of building one's own digital city
by linking pictures has some striking similarities
with the theoretical conception of relative space
in urban sociology. It was therefore chosen for
methodological reasons to capture empirically
the complex process of the production of space
for identifi cational strategies.
that abandons ideas of time and space as abso-
lutes and rather focuses on the circumstances of
space being produced.
A relational model of space does not treat
phenomena like famous sites or the circulation
or fl oat of pictures of places outside everyday
life as given, but enables us to focus upon the
processes of production and reception - even
from multiple perspectives simultaneously: the
professional production of narratives specifi c to
one place and the imaginary created to promote
it as a tourist sight, the perspective of people
visiting these places and the perspective of local
residents constitute different spaces, which can
overlap each other at the same place - which
now can be analysed, e.g. for their potential to
structure social interaction. Furthermore a rela-
tive concept of space allows looking at global-
ization as a two-sided process: The fl ow of
images might support stereotypes (the single
house, the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint
Charlie etc.; Löw, 2003, 2006) that can be
viewed from anywhere, but the sensual, aes-
thetic reception cannot be 'globalized' the same
way. Through images, the local can become
global, but the basic processes of production
and reception cannot.
The practices of sight-seeing, of taking pic-
tures are framed by the logic of reproduction - a
capitalistic mode of the production of space, as
Henry Lefèbvre (1991) would probably argue:
sites and places are valued for their adequacy
to pictures that become part of the globalized
construction of the tourist icon, the exotic other.
This specifi c logic applies to places '. . . because
of the universalization of the tourist gaze, all
Tourism, Visuality and the Production
of Space as a Social Product
The theoretical background of this is a new con-
cept of space in sociology, a relational approach
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