Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Edward Hopper: Glancing at Gaze
with a Wink at Tourism
Teresa Costa
ESHTE - Escola Superior de Hotelaria e Turismo do Estoril,
(Estoril Higher Institute for Hotel and Tourism Studies), Portugal
Vivian: Enjoy Nature! I am glad to say that I
have entirely lost that faculty. People tell us that
Art makes us love Nature more than we loved
her before; that it reveals her secrets to us; and
that after a careful study of Corot and Constable
we see things in her that had escaped our
observation. My own experience is that the
more we study Art, the less we care for Nature.
What Art really reveals to us is Nature's lack of
design, her curious crudities, her extraordinary
monotony, her absolutely unfi nished condition.
Nature has good intentions, of course, but, as
Aristotle once said, she cannot carry them out.
When I look at a landscape I cannot help seeing
all its defects. It is fortunate for us, however,
that Nature is so imperfect, as otherwise we
should have no art at all. Art is our spirited
protest, our gallant attempt to teach Nature her
proper place. As for the infi nite variety of
Nature, that is a pure myth. It is not to be found
in Nature herself. It resides in the imagination,
or fancy, or cultivated blindness of the man
who looks at her.
of the reference to Corot and Constable by the
word 'images' and extension of the mere land-
scape observation to the surrounding world would
enable reading the above quote as a statement
advancing Irit Rogoff's assertion that:
In today's world meanings circulate visually, in
addition to orally and textually. Images convey
information, afford pleasure and displeasure,
infl uence style, determine consumption and
mediate power relations.
(Rogoff, 2002, p. 25)
Such a proposition means, as Rogoff (2002)
further implies, that choice (or rejection) of mat-
ter, action, mode or agent represented is mean-
ing on its own and that people come to interact
with a wide range of either full images or visual
scraps (e.g. fi lms, billboards, photos, postcards)
that combine and are worked, through experi-
ence and unconscious processing, into a mean-
ingful narrative (also discussed by Mirzoeff,
Because of their own particular natures,
tourism and image seem innately linked. One of
the traveller's primary purposes is to glimpse
and gaze at whatever surrounds him or her - a
land, sea or cityscape, a group ethnically differ-
entiated from the subject viewer, a ritual. Since
all interacting (within different pictorial codes)
images determine perception and consumption,
what the tourist thus sees is determined by the
pre-visit narratives he/she is able to construct
(Oscar Wilde)
'After a careful study of Corot
and Constable'
Vivian's speech in Oscar Wilde's The Decay of
Lying can be construed as either summarizing
directly or at least connoting much of that
addressed in visual culture at large and in tour-
ism literature in particular. In fact, replacement
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