Wednesday, January 13, 2016

This City is only alive when you are

A city has its own symbols like a castle has its own water supply. The symbols resist the outside world like office lighting resists the night and the winter. The symbols are created by the city until the symbols are themselves their own layer, a ghost infrastructure, a palimpsest that can only be felt.

In ---, tourists are more than welcome - they are in fact necessary. Here, the symbolic layer has developed to feed off novelty. Novelty brings attention, focus, observation, awareness - and above all else, presence. Without tourism, the symbols would fade into the grey light of normalness, and quickly dissolve like drops of paint in the river. Here, the symbols feed off the tourists as much as the tourists feed off the symbols. The symbols would not exist without attention, and the city would not exist without its symbols.

Ushered in like a theatre audience, the tourists are primed specifically for nothing except memories. There is a fine balance to be upheld - too much pre-advertisement and the casual visitor will know too much and pay too little attention. Not enough priming and the visitor will be overwhelmed, have no frame of reference, no feeling of familiarity. The priming operation is above all else a combination of burlesque teasing and future memories; to reveal enough that nothing is a surprise when - if - the symbol finally appears in 'reality'. The shapes that trigger emotions. The unknown contours that feed off collective culture. Dream-like visions of a creature that has emerged from the sea, made of fishermen's tales and hedonism. An escape with fangs and hooks. This is what is promised to you.

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