PORTFOLIO ANDREW HERBERT
NORTHERN LIGHT PHOTOGRAPY
HEPWORTH WA K E F I E L D INTERNSHIP
CITY VA R I E T I E S
FREE RANGE G R A D UAT E SHOW
FREE RANGE Having finished univer sity a number of students were selected to exhibit at the Free Range gr aduate show in Shoreditch, London. I lead the team in our effor ts to create a self-financed exhibition s t a n d w i t h i n w h i c h w e w o u l d p r e s e n t o u r w o r k t o v i s i t o r s f r o m t h e g e n e r a l p u b l i c a n d i n d u s t r y. This presented the difficulties of procur ing and managing a budget, designing and cur ating a show in a matter of a few weeks.
journey tâ€™ big smoke & build
mounting the show
Problems addressed were... • Designing a stand which allowed for obstacles within the space; complied with given guidelines and importantly provided enough space for 10 students to exhibit a clear project. • Creating and conveying a narrative for a stand that purely addressed pragmatics. • Coordinating the teams efforts in order to bring the exhibition together on time and within our allocated budget. • Selecting pieces that would and wouldn’t be included based on available space and the balanced representation of what the course aims to achieve as a whole.
IMAGES Right: Yorkshire Tea Station Far Right: Vinyl Text Bottom Right: Name Tea Pots.
Left: Completed Show following set up.
Initial concept sketch lead the design from the back of an envelope
The design was developed through addressing the pragmatics of our allocated area. Within an 8700 x 6500 plot, sufficient surfaces to present 10 complete projects had to be
Above: Drawings of finalised show proposal (Plan, front & side elevation (not to scale)).
PHOTOGRAPHY Whilst not a trained photographer my awareness of composition and basic technical knowledge has allowed me to gather and select a series of strong images that would offer the viewer a glimpse into my site that they could then use to infor m their under standing of my over all scheme . These also contr ibuted substantially to the image heavy design scheme I used within my design repor t.
H E P W O R T H WA K E F I E L D INTERNSHIP
A four month inter nship provided an oppor tunity to wor k on the opening for the David Chipperfield designed galler y with me leading a team of 4 and gaining a wide body of experience. We w e r e r e q u i r e d t o d e v i s e a p r o g r a m m e f o r t h e g a l l e r i e s o p e n i n g w e e k e n d a n d i n d o i n g s o w o r k in an way that was appropriate to the ideals of high ar t and architecture being delivered to a sceptical general public. The critical acclaim of the opening weekend was testament to the success of the team as a whole and highlights my ability to wor k professionally and independently whilst rising to a challenge .
Initial Atmospheric Visual
To inform our proposals a narrative was created... Observing the environmental credentials of the Chipperfield building we noted that this was in many ways a low carbon piece of architecture. This observation was the further supported as carbon created the charred finish used on the “apocalyptic” Black Cloud pavilion by Heather and Ivan Morrison (artists who use the deterioration of our planet as a predominant theme in their work). Furthermore Carbon was the main element found in charcoal a fundamental art material used by many of our celebrated artists including Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. As the basis of every living thing, this was an element uniting everyone on site and this was used as a reference to • being environmentally mindful • the buildings achievement in existing responsibly (low CO2) • the equal access to art that is sometimes using the most unrefined and uncelebrated of materials.
above: Carbon Family Tree Illustrating the relevance of Carbon to the gallery, the narrative and how it would then be used to inform our programme of events..
We took the creation from the very start to its delivery, sourcing the wood, burning it and wrapping it in order for this to be a token gesture with integrity and an ideology behind it. We would then integrate it into the days performances send visitors away with a token gift that would encourage a thought provoking continued experience of the opening weekend.
Problems addressed were... • Leading a team of 5 to deliver on time and to a high standard.
below upper line: production of the give away charcoal wrapped in bespoke tissue wrap.
• Working to achieve the most from a set budget.
below lower line: commissioned artist live work and dance piece.
• Following a number of project strands at the same time.
left: roaming performer giving to visitors.
• Collaborating with a large number of creative groups. • Curating a successful programme that is appropriate to a high profile client at a pivotal time. • Dealing with councils and their interests.
C I T Y VA R I E T I E S With its beginnings as a travellers inn with a simple singing room, this project asked for a new entrance to what is now a music hall showing big names from the comedy and theatre worlds. This would give a prominent street presence following its recent restoration.
Previous Headrow entrance canopy. Gap sites street presence. Music hall interior. Early concept drawing.
Below left: Front elevation Below right: Long section.
With its beginnings as a travellers inn with a simple singing room, this project asked for a new entrance to what is now a music hall showing big names from the comedy and theatre worlds. This would give a prominent street presence following its recent restoration. Informing the design was a vibrant and important working class history that is variety performance. A rich pallet of cheap materials explored the honesty of this working class tradition and showed the workings behind theatre as an expression of this lack of facade. The design was viewed as a fly tower with difference scenic elements hovering in the space, a performance within itself. As the visitor would enter they are taken from the mundanety of day to day life, down into another world to revel in the escapism of theatre.
Roof Canopy pleats up to maintain the rhythm of the adjacent buildings.
Top step raised by pulley to close the space when not in use.
Shaped waterproof metal roof hidden by perforated metal surface below.
Perforated metal cladding to manage the appearance of existing brick wall.
Hanging brass rod curtain when lit obscures the view behind shrouding â€œthe performanceâ€?.
Cloakroom Carousel creating a red curtain made of the coats of the audience.
Brass Counterweight enclosure/ stairwell. Left to Right:
METAL CLADDING DETAIL (left) Acknowleding the importance of the past in this particular project, visual references were taken and integrated into new features. A wall of perforated metal cladding took its form from a somewhat questionable tiled surface pattern and would be lit in a way that used its transparent nature to present the materiality of the existing brick.
4. Auditorium Entry
3. Waiting Space
2. Cloakroom Carousel
The plan makes use of a difficult site with fairly limited space available and uses these limitations of inform the spatial composition. Lead by a logical progression of functions encountered through the visitors journey, the design looked to nestle these along the path to the auditorium.
1. Box Office
2ND FLOOR PLAN (below)
Vista of immediate site.
RATIONALE CONCEPT 1. Bestowed value found from looking inside unexpected, humble places. 2. Reversing landscape contours (a tangible passage of time) working into the landscape and becoming part of it as a consequence. 3. Painting series, the growing isolation of one from mainstream society and the rebuilt network of support.
NORTHERN LIGHT is a site of two halves. One half provides sensitive funerals for those who would otherwise have required a â€œpaupers funeralâ€?, focusing on restoring dignity through process and ritual. The other half provides a memorial to finally celebrate the lives of those forgotten by society and inspire those who visit to reconsider ways in which they can live a better life and include those at the periphery of society. Entering the memorial through a discrete opening, the visitor then fights open 3 double doors sealing the interior against the harsh prevailing wind. This effort is rewarded with a new sense of enlightenment. In contrast to the sensual richness of the landscape, sight and hearing are taken away as they enter the REFLECTION space. As it is an anechoic chamber, sound is muted and ones sight is hindered by the vaporised water fog. An unsettling unknown offers an insight into the life of one aside of mainstream society, but a guiding light draws you forward just as the lighthouse would a ship.
Released back out into the open the visitor is now four meters below the landscape.The experience is a new world different to the coastal beauty above and walking on an unstable surface of ever changing sedimentary gravel, a glimmer of value is revealed by a brass bar becoming exposed here and there. A monolithic wall of basalt, solid and unchanging gives the oppressive stability of a mainstream society you fail to conform to. Turning a corner the REVELATION space is entered and text inscribed into the handrail reveals the issue behind the design of NORTHERN LIGHT, whilst guiding the user to process slowly around the central space, an installation of hanging brass bars bringing tangibility to how many people are affected by what we would think to be an unusual circumstance.
Following the intensity of the preceding spaces the REST space offers a pause to think, come together and talk. Quiet and naturally lit, one may write a thought before throwing it onto the oil burner, an everlasting light taking personal thoughts into the collective site. Finally, one circumambulates around into the REMEMBRANCE space encountering the inspiring humanist words of Desiderata before emerging into the central space. An oculus frames the sky; a window to the beautiful surroundings and below sits The Chalice, the boundary between the deceasedâ€™s life on earth and their return to being part of it. With the journey complete, one exits the space guided by shards of light and the beauty of the landscape is returned once again, all the more impressive having lost it.
GIL SANS LIGHT REFERENCES
THE SURPRISINGLY GRAPHICALLY CONSIDERED SIGN IN GILL SANS FOUND ON SITE.
EARLY SKETCHES showing the intent for the existing site to be reunited in purpose and a memorial journey that would encounter three stages with connecting walkways between them.
Above: Selection of sketches.
1: REFLECTION As a popular walking spot visitors arrive by foot, the lighthouse marking their journeys mid point. For those that look a little further, a metallic band of brass marks the entrance into a new, enlightening and surprising world. Walking in single file to pass through the narrow entrance, this becomes a insular experience and as one fights to open the sequence of three doors against the strong prevailing wind, a completely new experience awaits. Having enjoyed the sensual richness of the rural landscape, senses are now removed in a space where sound is mute and sight is blurred, a new world of unsurity. The vividity of life is removed and experienced is the life of someone perhaps less fortunate than ourselves. Just like the lighthouse, a light guides us forward, reassuring on the way. To have something taken away often allows us to appreciate its importance; exiting this space reveals a new position, burrowed into the landscape. Sight and sound are returned but the visitor now walks the path of one fragmented from society. The unchanging monolithic basalt blocks towering over you and the uneven gravel underfoot revealing a small glimmer of value, a brass bar, as the sedimentary stones part.
PLAN & SECTION (right) Above: Initial sketch exploring form of first space (Reflection).
1. Tapered entrance reduces the amount of wind entering the space. 2. 3 doors, transparent, translucent and opaque open against the wind and preventing its movement into the REFLECTION space.
LEFT: In the same way as Antony Gormley’s “Blind Light”, vaporised water will create a dense fog that fills the space. RIGHT: Acoustic foam panels will be used in a similar way to Universal Design Studio’s “Sony Monolithic Design” absorbing sound within the space to create an unusual experience, new to those that visit. BOTTOM: Visual describing visitors experience moving through the space encountering the diaphanous light and water vapour.
3. 3 datum lines point to the 3 important locations on site. Resomator, Archive and Chalice. 4. Reflection space is composed of an anechoic chamber filled with water vapour. 5. 3 sets of side opening automatic doors open in cannon, containing the water vapour and revealing the walkway beyond. 6. Walkway is composed of a cast concrete filled with Greywacke gravel.
2: REVELATION As a corner is turned, stability is offered as gravel is replaced by strong concrete underfoot. Linear joints pull you forward, again into the unknown. As the threshold is crossed, only then is the purpose of this illusive site revealed. Walking upon an elevated walkway of many pieces working as one, sight is drawn to the centre. A community of elements hang motionless, strands of value lit warmly from the surrounding walls. Slowly circulating, text inscribed into the handrail reveal what happens here. A written fuel for enlightenment, just as the reflective sea of oil below would power the lone beautiful star that is the lighthouse, guiding ships safely to their destination.
Emerging from the space with a new understanding, once again the instability of gravel underfoot returns and the journey continues.
PLAN & SECTION (right) 1. Lighting integrated into the outer wall creates a conversation between the installation and the visitor as their shadows alter its appearance. 2. 726 suspended, gold leaf rods create a community of elements. One for each life that will conclude its journey at NORTHERN LIGHT. Two each day.
3. Handrail text is engraved into the brass surface.
4. Radial concrete junctions are phased out with concrete joints used as a feature to draw visitors in/out of the space. 5. Many walkway modules sit as one to create the overall walkway structure. A reference to strength as a collective. 6. Oil floor surface references the oil store that would have powered the lighthouse mirroring the objects sat above it within the space and representing a fuel for light and guidance, in this case the text informing visitors.
7. Uplighters illuminate the perimeter creating a halo of light and strong contrast between light and dark.
WALKWAY CONSTRUCTION Metal Bolts secure two-piece section together.
Oil covered floor slab creating mirror finish.
Cast Steel Core Concrete â€œseatâ€?
The circular walkway is a central piece of furniture design within the overall scheme and is important in guiding the visitors experience within the space. Pragmatically, it offers a surface for the engraved text proposed, however, it is also an expression of metaphore.
Concrete Segment Basalt Segment
Rising ballustrate and engraved handrail.
Concrete Reinforcing Metalwork
Below: Form looks at multiples coming together to provide strength and support. Barbs of a feather (right) is a good example of this principle working structurally and provides a reference to the seabirds residing on site.
Its structural integrity relies of the collective effort of many units working as one and as such offers a reminder or the importance of community.
3: REST Information is useless unless it can be used. With the weight of the preceding experiences, a moment to rest and discuss awaits. The basalt boundary is punctured and a subtle curve pulls you in.
Sketchwork shows the proposed details as part of the design concepts.
PLAN & PERSPECTIVE (below) 1. Curved walkway peels away from main journey inviting the visitor in.
Within a few paces an uplifting oasis of white and natural light is encountered, seating pleating out of the wall. A lone, never fading oil flame sits ahead facing the linear language of the site and the final moment of the deceased. Whilst seated, there is time to explore ones own feelings and life whilst the circular forum brings a group together, allowed once again to function as a collective.
2. Space is revealed as seating pleats away from the wall. 3. Oil burner and vent illuminate the space and allow written thoughts to be thrown on.
When ready, the group part from the space writing a personal sentiment aimed at enriching the way they live their life. Thrown onto the fire their wish combusts and is taken into the surrounding landscape; this act of self-improvement, a gesture towards those that conclude their lives here.
2. 3. 1. LIGHT-VENT DETAIL (left) Drawing natural light down into the subterranean below, the rest space uses an glazed light vent. This will be one of few built additions expressed within the landscape.
This walkway expresses this fractious relationship with its placement along a fault line but also with its materiality using native stone and their properties to tell the story of societies forgotten in a subconscious way. Moving onto the walkway the visitor would be swallowed by the landscape in touch with its earthy and natural finish whilst oppressed by the monolithic wall of basalt blocks towering above them.
Sketchwork shows early exploration into the form of the subterranean walkway.
Meanwhile they walk on an unstable surface of Greywacke deteriorating beneath their feet whilst a void either side of the concrete base gives away no answers as to how far down the void falls. The beauty of the sky is withheld like viewing the rose tinted virtues of freedom from within the confines of prison.
Above: The conceptual painting series translated into a linear arangement and forming the compositional basis of the walkway as a physical mataphor expressing an oppresive mainstream society standing over the instability of those oppressed by it.
Geological diagram shows the fault lines present on site and the composition of basalt and greywacke.
Base rock of basaltic lava.
Landscaped safety walls prevent falling and hide the structure into the grassy vista.
Excavated rock face presented in its natural state.
Inset Brass bar showing â€œthread of valueâ€? through gravel.
Walkway structure sits in the excavated channel.
The walkway is created as a physical manifestation of the conceptual diagram that expresses the relative positions of mainstream society and those oppressed by the social norms they often represent.
Basalt wall placed concrete back fill.
The walkway whilst possibly appearing as an auxiliary element of design simply used in a way to connect the 3 destination is in fact far more important.
Concrete filled space between rock face and basalt.
Simple ballustrade with secure concrete bases.
4: REMEMBRANCE Finally with knowledge and perspective, one circumambulates towards the central space, two journeys are intertwined, distinctly separate yet owing their form to one another. Moving forward the words of â€œDesiderataâ€? are read, uplifting and pertinent. Finishing the verse, a space of grand proportion is revealed. Embracing and celebrating the elements and natural world, the ceiling aperture is a frame for the blue sky or a beginning of a dramatic curtain of water during rainfall. Finding beauty in the good and bad. Below sits a large brass chalice, the centre point of the site. Silently delivering the liquid remains into the basalt rock below to become part of the landscape and at one with the earth. The personsâ€™ passing is celebrated by the surrounding architecture and whoever happens to witness this moment.
Above. Central space with rainwater curtain. Above Right. Exit walkway with light shards.
Having reached the final space, one exits into the walkway. Guided by the shards of light from above refracted like the lens within the light tower.
Right. Water-curtain concept drawing. Below. Plasticine junction maquette.
Emerging from the four plains of concrete, the journey is complete. Before you the previously withheld beauty of the landscape is revealed. All elements as one. Land. Sea. Sky.
OCULUS DETAIL 1. Polished basalt facade provides a reflective surface to mirror the sky. 2. Rainwater reservoir collects a body of water to maintain an even flow into the interior. 3. Angled edge delivers water down to create the curtain but also masks the thickness of the concrete ceiling.
2. PLAN & SECTION 1. Entrance walkway sits independently of the wall structure
2. Existing storage house integrated into the new structure as its concrete plinth is supported from below. 3. â€œDesiderataâ€? text inset into cast concrete walls.
4. Floor Plate elevated to allow for water to fall from above. 5. Central cast brass chalice will deliver the remains to the basalt rock below the site. 6. Oculus tapers back to prevent a visible edge interrupting the sky view.
2. 6. 1.
5: RESOMATION Once their journey to St Abbâ€™s Head is complete, the deceased arrives at the Resomation space, a space that focuses on bestowing value upon their lives through process, ritual and sensitivity. Once removed from the reusable casket the body will be covered in a sustainably sourced wool shroud before being moved into the heart and central axis of the building. This important area offers a space where value and substance can be viewed from within, as a delicate structure supports the roof construction, encapsulating this special process in a golden protective cage built of datum points cross referencing the three primary points on site; where Resomation takes place, where ashes are archived and finally. where the liquid remains enter the earth. Moving from one side of the building to the other the deceased takes the journey to the Resomator, a machine that accelerates the natural process of decomposition to occur within 2 hours. Once complete the liquid derived from the process is viewed, in place of a body or ashes, as the most important remaining byproduct and flows to the Remembrance space to be filtered down into the earth. A skeleton remains and this is turned into ashes that are then placed into the archive urn along with relevant paperwork.
RESOMATION WALKWAY VISUAL
ELEVATION & PLAN
1. Space to transfer the body from the reusable casket and area to store caskets.
2. Cleaning and storage area. 3. Refrigerated body storage.
4. Resomation area. 5. Main thoroughfare at the centre of the building. 6. Cremulation and bone drying space. 7. Staff space. 8. Altered areas of the existing building are visible as brick construction is still used but in blue engineering brick.
The final stage looks to the future. This space provides for the legal requirement to archive records but more importantly offers a sacred location hoping to reunite the deceased in death with what would have been long-lost friends/family from their life. The aim would be to take back a retained among of remains and lay them to rest with the acknowledgement everyone deserves. An old lighthouse keepers cottage has its domestic proportions reformed placing the deceased (metaphorically) to the heart of a home as guilded urn capsules are stored in a central brick and concrete vault providing security and structural integrity with its role in supporting the roof structure.
Window-frame Treatment As a contemporary renewal of the original design (right), simple white woodwork would replace the existing and in turn reflect natural light forward into the interior.
Walkway Wall Treatment
Vertical Glass Fixtures
The interior facade is a back lit frosted glass wall that will emit a warm optimistic glow, like that of the lighthouse during times of limited light. During brighter periods, daylight will enter through the existing appertures creating a ghost of the what was there before.
Upright fixtures support large frosted clear glass planels. Positioning of these upright fixtures allign with datum points radiating from the centre of the building so that as the visitor circumambulates, they are unknowingly acknowledging those within.
Original 1877 detail drawing
The building has been read and manipulated to become fit for a new purpose whilst retaining a visible memory of its past.
Section A Decorative metal framework lines the inner perimeter of the vault storing the guilded urns.
New structures are in blue engineering brick maintaining the same building practices whilst making a distinction between old and new.
Existing extension reformed into a new entrance hall giving a clear purpose within the building as a whole.
Section A | Atmospheric sectional perspective
A grid of light wrapping the interior directs reference towards the two other â€œsacred sitesâ€? within the scheme, illuminating the space and acting as a structural support for the metal frame.
Entrance signage of inset cast brass is down-lit by intergrated light fittings.
Refering back to concept, like the lighthouse on site, visitors are guided by light. A back lit facade of frosted glass manages the existing domestic features and illuminates the space.
1:20 | Floor slab/metal frame junction
Inner vault perimeter wall Built of blue engineering brick identifying itself as an addition to the exisiting red brick structure.
Long Section (not to scale)
MAKING Through model making or as I like to think of it â€œgambling with my finger sâ€? I am able to create 3D p i e c e s t o a i d t h e d e s i g n p r o c e s s . Wo r k i n g i n a n u m b e r o f m a t e r i a l s I h a v e r e f i n e d b y a b i l i t i e s i n this area over the past four year s.
WRITING Throughout my degree I have aquired an enjoyment for the discussion of design, be this for research or the exploration of my own views as a creative . My writing earned me an award for â€œCreative Wr itingâ€? and I continue to develop and refine this skill.
The Nouveau Christopher Columbus’ Andrew Herbert
Currently flying at precisely 37987ft, somewhere over Basra and after far too much deliberation, I’m finally getting around to putting my thoughts together. A recent university graduate and I think I have by now earned the title “creative” (be it good or bad); I am certainly a person with an open mind. To repeat the advice given to someone when looking for a new dog, I am alert and inquisitive towards the world around me. I would complete my poor attempt at a joke by saying that I was also bright eyed, but after approximately 14 hours of travelling I have a feeling that I would not fulfill that particular criterion. It is during this post graduation time that I am one of many students, or should I say ‘unemployee’s’, that has had the calling to explore the world and I think that this is something encouraged by the knowledge that it is now or never. Once I’ve begun my career, it’s unlikely that there will be the opportunity to do what I want, when I want to do it. The life sentence of work will have already been dispensed. In a recent programme with Turner prize winning and dress wearing potter, Grayson Perry, he spoke about taste. What is it? Who has it? Is it important? More specifically though, he looked at middle class taste and after exploring this obscure area he concluded that it was built upon the vanity of small differences. Whilst each person’s collection of this or that was indeed different, the logic and behaviour that lead to it’s being, tended to be very much the same and this is a trend that shows perfectly what I find vquite odd about the late teens/early twenties “traveller”. It is completely understandable that people my own age take their opportunity to travel as I have just done. However, what I do find odd is that so many set out with the intent to adopt the stereotypical lifestyle of the “traveller”. A large part of me thinks that anything encouraging someone to expand their mind must surely be a good thing. However, another part of me finds it strange that there is the wholehearted self-delusion shown by so many, where for those 6 weeks, they travel to destinations that they know of due to the fact they have been visited so many times before, places that tend not to represent an experience of local life but a wholesome tourist provision; an edited depiction of that particular nation. It could possibly seem as though I have some level of travel snobbery but I will defend myself here! One of the best holidays I ever had was in a caravan on the coast of Wales, when for each of the 5 days we were there it rained so much that Noah would have been off to get his tools out again, and so I can safely say that I do not need a 5 star hotel before I’m coaxed out of the country. I just feel that there is a naivety to visiting a south east Asian version of Magaluf to then become Christopher Columbus
simply because it happens to sit on the other side of the world. By all means do it, but be quite aware of what “it” is.
I digress, as mentioned previously; I am currently on a flight and happen to be returning from Jakarta, Indonesia.
This continues, as collectively “travelling” is romanticised by us young 20 something’s. If we were honest with ourselves, I’m sure we all know somebody like it. “Let’s fly away with a backpack despite having a suitcase at home, let’s wear nothing but unbranded clothing conveniently pushing the wardrobe full of Ralph Lauren out of our minds, let’s wear trousers that don’t fit with a crotch nearly meeting the floor, not do our hair and furthermore proceed to have it cornrowed, just like when our childhood colleague returned having been swept off by their parents to the exotic beauty of Tunisia, circa 1998! I fail to mention, let’s take great delight in eating food from street vendors that our stomachs are simply not in a position to handle, before regaling ones home audience with the details of just how rare a solid stool was.
I did backpack once during an inter-railing trip across Europe; I found it wholeheartedly un-enjoyable. We as Brits tend to be familiar with European countries and so to then visit these places with a limited budget, staying in luck of the draw hostels in scruffy clothes that set you out of place in any decent restaurant, museum or shopping centre left me with a feeling of unease and it seemed odd to choose to visit somewhere without the means of experiencing the best it had to offer (there are exceptions to this of course providing you stumbled across a fantastic place to eat during the few days you spent in one particular city). I would guess that backpacking can be far more rewarding when exploring less developed areas of the world where this way of life is not so far from the norm. This time, to compensate, I travelled with the biggest suitcase I could find. I packed shirts (I wear shirts and just because I’m travelling to a third world country does not mean to say I should dress casually, which brings me on to the fact that with an image of what these countries are like, they have many things which are far better and far more developed than what we have in Britain).
Is this how local people dress? Probably not and I’m sure it’s certainly not how they visit... the toilet day to day, and so I question where this western depiction has come from. I have a suggestion. Like in many areas of culture, there are trends. Threads of common behaviour shared by certain groups. We would hate to admit, but if you actually stopped to consider it, we can rarely justify a statement of ourselves being individual and to refer back to the point raised to the beginning. There is a collective behavior that sees a large group subconsciously become similar as a result of doing something that has usually been about being different...
I ate in local places (reputable, clean local places but humble none the less) and I visited areas of the country that were not the tourist saturated edits mentioned previously, but areas to which native people would visit. North Sulawesi, search it, it’s beautiful there. Yes, in some areas they do eat dog, bat and snake without it being out of the ordinary. This is not a depiction of dodgy food outlets but wild meats that are available, sustaining the humble and friendly community tending to utilise an extremely low income.
With this in mind it could be suggested that the style of dress I mention could be a manifestation of the desire to be individual and to represent a rejection of the society we experience day-to-day, allowing one to feel satisfied that they’ve experienced... and embraced something new. A rejection maybe of the consumerism that is so intrinsically western but first and foremost I think that whatever its motives, alongside what I’m sure is genuine enjoyment of a trip, is likely to be an element of benign albeit self indulged delusion.
I visited Indonesia as I was, my ways and image relatively unchanged and I was not frowned upon for failing to blend in with their culture but quite the opposite. Our mutual differences were enjoyed as we were all evidently experiencing something new and as a result I would often find a whole family gathered around me in a Disneyland type fashion to have a photo taken. Turn this the other way around and this would be racism!
People are essentially dressing up to go on holiday and feel better about themselves and it is a myth that this is how travelling should be. A myth that visiting a country is without authenticity simply because you do not pretend to be some worldly nomad for this short period of time. In fact, regardless, either way we do not blend in with local people and neither do I believe we are expected to.
Having met many of the people described above I think it’s a shame that we continue to be lead by the mainstream. Nothing should be self-focused, no predefined agenda wishing to conform to an image that we have seen before; delivered through the media. Travel should be as it has always been, an open exploration of the world around us, following our own interests and curiosities with the aim of enjoying newfound experiences that inform and inspire our views.
I should mention, I just put salt on my cheese and crackers instead of pepper. Not good! Thankfully I have a nice whiskey to make up for it!
Featured in “FAKE Magazine” issue 006 Images: FAKE Magazine