Tourists Like Us: Critical Tourism and Contemporary Art

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Tourists Like Us


Critical Tourism and Contemporary Art







Edited by Federica Martini & Vytautas Michelkevičius

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Tourists like us Critical Tourism and Contemporary Art Practices


Cantonale d’Art du Valais, Sierre and Vilnius Academy of Arts Press in association with VAA Nida Art Colony Edited by Federica Martini & Vytautas Michelkevičius

table of contents

p. 9 I


Critical Tourism p. 11

Travelogue Part 1: Critical Tourism Federica Martini & Vytautas Michelkevičius in conversation

p. 19

Come Fly With Me Paul Domela

p. 29

The Critical Turn in Tourism Studies Working with Images between Seduction, Deconstruction and Critique Sibylle Omlin

p. 41

Albert’s Guesthouse Petra Köhle & Nicolas Vermot Petit-Outhenin

p. 49

Spectral Glossary of Critical Tourism Jurij Dobriakov

p. 59

The Tour of All Tours Bill Aitchison

II Sightseeing as Research p. 65

Travelogue Part 2: Sightseeing as Research Federica Martini & Vytautas Michelkevičius in conversation

p. 71

Romantic Frequent Flyers Federica Martini

p. 87

Contingent Movements Archive: A (Performative Lecture) Walk Hanna Husberg, Laura McLean, & Kalliopi Tsipni-Kolaza

p. 95

Future Days. The Artist as Sightseer Sebastian Cichocki & Agnieszka Polska

table of contents


p. 111

Artistic Research in The Green Cube Vytautas Michelkevičius

p. 127

The Taste of Nida Art Colony Marika Troili & David Larsson

p. 135

Digital Déjà vu:Video Games and the Uncanny Space of Tourism Yulia Startsev

Invented Nature p. 145 p. 151

Invented Nature: An Environmental Historiography of Critical Tourism Wilko Graf von Hardenberg

p. 167

Drifting as a Process and as a Result Synops Collective

p. 175

Barrier Spits as Creative Tourism Destinations Ramūnas Povilanskas & Aušrinė Armaitienė

p. 185

Beams (the sun within the sun) Adrien Siberchicot

p. 191

Taking Time: A Day in the Nida Art Colony or How to Create and Install Work in a New Environment Liesje de Laet


Travelogue Part 3: Invented Nature Federica Martini & Vytautas Michelkevičius in conversation

Postcards from Nida and Sierre p. 199

Travelogue Part 4: Postcards from Nida and Sierre Federica Martini & Vytautas Michelkevičius in conversation

p. 205

In “Letters” Laura Stasiulytė

p. 211

Himalaya, come to my leg. / My fantasy is to live alone in the Taïga, but not forever. / Tattoo. / Earth juice. / Iki Gilles Furtwängler

p. 219

In Visible Cities [Act ILeave to Remain]: A Video Performance Markus Soukup & Sam Skinner

p. 229

Juozas Laivys’ Sculpture Trip in Sierre Benoît Antille

p. 235

A Man of Leisure (Nida) Henning Lundkvist

p. 241

Always Traversing Through Elsewheres Barnaby Drabble

V Appendix p. 251

Authors’s Biographies

p. 259

Aknowledgements & Colophon


tourists like us


Tourists like Us: Critical Tourism and Contemporary Art Practices is the result of over a year of exchanges between Ecole Cantonale d’Art du Valais in Sierre (Switzerland) and Nida Art Colony (nac), which belongs to the Vilnius Academy of Arts (Lithuania). The travelogues that begin each section give an insight into the concepts, residencies, exhibitions, workshops and symposia that formed this exchange between 2012 to 2013, in the context of the research and residency programme On Hosting and Displacing: Artistic Residencies and Cultural Production in Remote Contexts. The programme provided the backbone of the book and the keyissues discussed in each section: Critical Tourism, Sightseeing as Research, Invented Nature and Post-Cards from Nida and Sierre.


critical tourism

Federica Martini & Vytautas Michelkevičius

Travelogue Part 1: Critical Tourism

Vytautas Michelkevičius:

Our main focus, at the beginning of the project, was the relationship between tourism and art in the remote and ‘wild’ contexts which we worked in, namely Nida and Sierre. These sites, the Baltic beaches and the Swiss Alps, have a strong visual and atmospheric appeal, but the residency programs we both run invite artists to rethink touristic phenomena and produce works that bring into question these issues. The title of our book is Tourists like Us: Critical Tourism and Contemporary Art Practices and with this we not only look at art and tourism but also rely on different disciplines to extend our initial ideas, such as critical theory, cultural geography, ecology history, art history and curatorial studies.

Federica Martini:

A recent research project at the Leeds International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality focused on the anti-globalisation movements as a form of “counter tourism”. I remember feeling uneasy about this definition, at first, amongst other things because tourism brings along a negative connotation of cultural consumption that seemed to contrast with the critical identity of those movements. Still, we cannot help but acknowledge the intensification of travel and displacement both in mainstream and


alternative culture. In contemporary art, the promise of alternative travel destinations made by large-scale art events puts artists and curators alike in a position of sightseers. This logic seems more to confirm official touristic routes, rather than to edit or counter them. So the line separating tourism and the research trip, in artistic practice, is sometimes very thin. VM:

In the age of interdisciplinary research, merging fields is popular and productive, just as it is here in this publication. This means that from the point of view of tourism studies, critical tourism is interested in the effective management of tourist flows, ecology and visual noise. Whereas artists are interested in the more personal issues: the use of idealised images, and faked authenticity, for example. We are surrounded by ‘authenticity’ in Nida and it is promoted as real history (old fishermen’s houses), nature (the National Park, forests and dunes), inspiration (Thomas Mann’s summerhouse), inspiration (pictures of Jean-Paul Sartre walking in the dunes). They are so pervasive that it becomes difficult to skip these myths of authenticity and live a local and authentic life.


In Sierre also, one of the issues at stake for artists and theoreticians working in residencies, is precisely how to deal critically with post-card landscapes and folkloric traditions. These are not neutral narratives, as local and national identity-making massively rely on them. And at the same time, the way these touristic images are constructed, the way they reshape the landscape, raises another question: what is the limit separating artistic research and tourism in these working contexts? Encountering some artists working in Sierre with these cultural and touristic clichés, I realized that cultural actors and tourists are often dealing with the same images and narratives, although employing different strategies. One example of this is the work by Valentin Carron, originally from Wallis, who plays with folkloric stereotypes and traditional artefacts from the region. Our project started almost two years ago and developed through long discussions on our situations and contexts. We have found a lot of common elements.




The preservation of the landscape is a key political issue both in Nida and Sierre. Through the project, we realized that both our cities hosted a German writer in exile—respectively Thomas Mann and Rainer Maria Rilke. Today they are local glories: a museum and a festival are dedicated to them. We both had an artistic colony in our past—between the end of the nineteenth century and

critical tourism

the beginning of the twentieth. Several paintings from that time contributed to frame our landscapes with an imagery that is still at work today. One of the issues for us was to which extent we are also relying on this notion of the picturesque or romantic expedition. VM:

Events from the past are very strong in building the contemporary identities that attract tourists. The old Nida Artists’ colony which was active until Second World War, for example, still influences local public opinion about what is art. In that sense Nida is dangerous for contemporary artists since they have to make a strong stand against popular myths and to move forward often in opposition to the history of the site. Ironically, at the time, the expressionist works produced in the original Artists’ colony were also poorly understood by the local people and tourists, but in hindsight these paintings appear closer to the romantic nature of the site than the production our residents are often involved in. So, the romantic myth of the old colony both helps and hinders contemporary artists in Nida Art Colony, but we try to find different ways to deal with it.


Is the idea of ‘connected retreat’ one of these strategies?

VM: Yes, that is the word we like to use. Artists are in physical retreat but they are connected not only technologically (wi-fi) but also with art professionals both from the residency (staff), other artistsin-residence and visiting guests. Moreover we, as an institution, are connected to a network of remote residencies which works as a knowledge sharing platform between curators and artists. http:// One thing is obvious in the concept of the book, and that is the interplay between academic and analytical texts by researchers, and projects by artists. FM: Yes, we wanted the book to include different approaches, theoretical reflections and artists’ research documents and projects. We also decided to narrow down the focus. The initial title of the project had a lot of key-words—hospitality, site-specificness, critical tourism, post-romantic. The book limited our focus to critical tourism in the broad sense and in contemporary art practices (Jurij Dobriakov, Paul Domela, Sibylle Omlin, Markus Soukup and Sam Skinner), and its relation to the invention of nature in the political and artistic sense (Wilko Graf von Hardenberg, Vytautas Michelkevičius, Federica Martini, Synops Collectif, Contingent Movements Archive, Yulia Startsev). We also decided to develop the project through practice. We wanted to give an insight

Tourists Like Us: A Conversation and Travelogue

Federica Martini & Vytautas Michelkevičius


into the methodological preoccupations that informed the process (Sebastian Cichocki & Agnieszka Polska, Barnaby Drabble, Ramunas Povilanskas) and of the processes, performances and research that sprang out from the project (Henning Lundkvist, Gilles Furtwängler, Juozas Layvis). We sketched out four categories: Critical Tourism, Sightseeing as Research, Invented Nature and Post-cards from Nida and Sierre. These notions synthesize the observations contributed by artists, theoreticians and curators that we met along the project. I would not say that our book is an archive of our project, but more a product of it. ď ´


critical tourism

Text Title

Author Name


tourists like us

chapter I

Critical Tourism

p. 19

Come Fly With Me Paul Domela

p. 29

The Critical Turn in Tourism Studies Working with Images between Seduction, Deconstruction and Critique Sibylle Omlin

p. 41

Albert’s Guesthouse Petra Köhle & Nicolas Vermot Petit-Outhenin

p. 49

Spectral Glossary of Critical Tourism Jurij Dobriakov

p. 59

The Tour of All Tours Bill Aitchison


critical tourism

critical tourism

Come Fly With Me

Paul Domela

Hospitality was the subject of the Liverpool Biennial in 2012, which was titled ‘The Unexpected Guest’. However it is the notion of ‘Critical Tourism’ that interested me in the invitation and which I would like to explore a bit further over and above the question of site and the post-romantic. I have to warn you that this is an excursion in and out of the curatorial—a short break, and a somewhat speculative undertaking, in an attempt to see the contemporary through the lens of a forecast of tomorrow’s tourism and to raise the question how we may engage with this imaginary. I.

Capital Records release Frank Sinatra’s Come Fly with Me in 1958. It is the age of the jetliner. The blinking light atop the company’s famous tower spells out the word ‘Hollywood’ in Morse code. Since the 1950s international landings have increased from fifty million to more than a billion in 2012 and are set to double by 2020. About seventy percent of flights will be from just twenty five airports. A few years ago an airport consultant named John Kasarda coined the term aerotropolis. His idea is that new urban formations are shaped around airports. The comings and goings of planes are to define the cities of the 21st century.

Cities have always been built on transport and trade at the cross roads, the harbour, the airport. Exchange, transaction and the confluence of cultures made cities bloom. Today the bodies moving through cities are increasingly the bodies of tourists.



critical tourism

critical tourism

Jurij Dobriakov

A Spectral Glossary of Critical Tourism The figures of ‘tourist’ and ‘vagabond’ mark the two poles of a continuum along which our life and our expectations are plotted.

1. Adrian Franklin interviews Zygmunt Bauman in Antje Weitzel and Marina Sorbello (eds.) Transient Spaces: The Tourist Syndrome (Berlin: Argobooks, 2010).

Adrian Franklin interviews Zygmunt Bauman



Lost in residency In February 2013, I spent a week reading books loosely related to the theme of critical tourism at Nida Art Colony. The formal reason behind this reading residency was the fact that, while the Colony had a neat library containing a solid bunch of titles that should be of interest to anyone interested in things like place, locality, mobility, tourism, site-specificity etc., most artists didn’t take (or didn’t have) the time to read them. So someone had to do it for the artists. As the Inter-format Symposium on critical tourism, site-specificity and post-romantic condition was approaching, the thematic scope of my reading residency was set to tourism and its theoretical reflections. Yet I was not just reading about tourism. In several senses, I was a tourist myself—and not just in the sense of being displaced, for a certain period, to the picturesque remote locality of the colony, although that was perhaps the most obvious and dominant layer (the timing was perfect: the frame of one week ensured that I was neither a random visitor who had come for just one day nor someone who could call Nida his home—in fact, I think very few people can call it that actually, even when they have spent several years there). I also realized that, squeezed into such a short and objectively conditioned (even a week away from the city is a bit of a luxury for me today, unfortunately) time span, my reading itself was quite touristic in nature. Much like a tourist visiting a foreign land or city, I had to get my sense of direction, to determine quickly what a certain book was about (just as we wish to know what a particular country “is about” the first time we go there, consulting all sorts of guides and maps), in order to find my way around it with limited time resources. I was, thus, a reading tourist of sorts. Furthermore, I got an insight into the way artist residency worked, only to find that the tourist principle was at work here as well—not just in the fact that the artists were temporarily located in a “foreign” (and explicitly tourism-oriented) location, but also in the nature of interaction between the artists-in-residence themselves and their contacts with other visitors to the colony. I got an impression that under such conditions of temporally compressed communication (one only sees and coexists with other artists, staff members and guests for several days to several months, which can roughly be compared to encounters at airports—and artist residency centres are, indeed, not unlike airport hubs for nomadic artists), resident artists felt tempted to ask their peers and other people in transit the


critical tourism

very same question: What are you about? What do you do? What are the distinctive features of your practice? It seems that when we meet people for a limited time and want to make this meeting “productive” (to extract some knowledge from it), we are bound to ask for directions around the person we meet, to demand a “rough guide” to the person. This does not necessarily mean that such encounters are superficial or lack the potential for further depth, but it certainly says something about the nature of co-existence at artist residency centres and, by extension, about our “liquid modernity”, to use Zygmunt Bauman’s terminology (which will be expanded upon further in this text). The aforementioned experiences did not really impede my reading; rather, they enhanced it and provided additional contextual layers. Reading the same set of books at home would have been a substantially different experience. I could say these circumstances worked together to create a kind of site-specific reading on tourism and mobility while staying at a place that was both very static—because of the general off-season in Nida—and highly mobile due to the temporary and “liquid” nature of its inhabitants. This reading process was very intensive and relaxed at the same time, and took place in my mind during walks in the re-encountered and recognised Nida landscape surrounding the colony just as much as it did under the reading light in my spacious room in the colony’s residency space. But how to present the knowledge obtained (quite intimately) as a result of this reading residency to others? First of all, it must be acknowledged that my reading was very fragmentary and inconsistent due to temporal constraints and natural (landscape and social) distractions. Most of the time I had to skim instead of reading closely, and it was only when the text really engaged me that I plunged deeper into it. Thus, any kind of report on this experience will inevitably be fragmentary and incomplete as well, a kind of schematic skimming through some of the central notions in the theory of tourism, a framework that readers themselves will have to fill with more concrete content. In fact, it is more of a report on getting (creatively) lost than a set of rigid directions for finding one’s way in the field of tourism. Besides, it is quite personal and subjective, a reflection of my own impressions and reactions, and not just a set of impersonal and “objective” summaries of the books read. Let’s call it a spectral glossary of critical tourism. Why “spectral”? I make use of both of this term’s connotations here. First, the notions outlined in the glossary are not unitary, as is usual in most glossaries, but are instead presented as pairs of

A Spectral Glossary of Critical Tourism

Jurij Dobriakov



invented nature

invented nature

Adrien Siberchicot

Beams (the sun within the sun)

The ‘Green Flash Project’ was an invitation to observe the sunset from the summit of the Parnidis Dune in Nida, Lithuania. Beams (the sun within the sun) is a collection of video, photo, sound and text documentation of this semi-staged event. The display takes various forms.



invented nature

The sunset will take place at 21:41 precisely. It takes around 15 minutes to reach the observation deck. You may see the sun or not. You may see the green flash or not. You may see the horizon line, the separation of colours. You may be filmed. Feel free to take the goggles and share them with the others. Feel free to take a map. Open the map only when you reach the observation deck. The souvenir shops may be closed. Feel free to have the sparkling wine. Feel free to have the dessert. Feel free to have a conversation. Feel free to believe in geocentrism. Feel free to believe in heliocentrism. If it rains, you may need an umbrella.

Beams (the sun within the sun)

Adrien Siberchicot



invented nature

A: I’m recording Can you see me?

B: Yes

A: Can you see me?

B: Yes

A: Can you see me?

B: Yes

A: Shit

B: You need to bend down, you really need to lay down I think

A: Ok. Can you see me?

B: No… Now it’s fine… But be careful because...

A: Wait… Like this?

B: Now it’s ok, I can’t see but you should not move at all

A: Ok

B: Bend down, the more you can because they are some extra pixels… Sometimes it’s a pain

A: Is it good?

B: Yeah, you see only the bottom one

A: The one over there?

B: Yes

A: Shit, I have to pick up… I’m late

B: Yeah

A: Listen…

B: If you want me to do something, tell me

A: Wait… I will just… This… I hope it will stick...

B: It looks like a wedding 

Beams (the sun within the sun)

Adrien Siberchicot



invented nature

invented nature

Liesje de Laet

Taking Time

A Day in the Nida Art Colony or How to Create and Install Work in a New Environment


Waking up. Looking. Opening. Preparing. Showering. Dressing. Eating. Drinking. Preparing.


Starting. Mailing. Wasting time. Answering. Questioning. Contacting. Preparing. Walking. Viewing.

Watching. Stopping. Wandering. Wondering. Looking. Picking up. Touching. Beholding. Handling.

invented nature

Walking. Sauntering. Passing by. Observing. Thinking. Doubting. Running. Walking. Stopping.

Perceiving. Taking. Handling. Looking. Putting away. Walking. Wandering. Finding. Noticing.

Taking Time

Reaching. Collecting. Searching. Sauntering. Selecting. Testing. Relating. Trying. Growing.

Scanning. Thinking over. Returning. Arriving. Dropping. Overlooking. Combining. Placing. Displacing.

Liesje de Laet

Displaying. Going. Lunching. Meeting. Chatting. Describing. Wandering. Locating. Taking.


Deciding. Starting. Materialising. Colouring. Ordering. Scanning. Placing. Arranging. Framing.


Determining. Focusing. Installing. Slowing. Intensifying. Chatting. Pausing. Drinking. Refocusing.

Colouring. Laying. Handling. Caring. Displaying. Showing. Forming. Mantling. Arranging.

invented nature

Puzzling. Positioning. Changing. Concentrating. Chatting. Talking. Explaining. Questioning. Altering.

Focusing. Colouring. Stopping. Letting. Preparing. Meeting. Walking. Talking. Thinking.

Taking Time

Chatting. Planning. Shopping. Choosing. Discovering. Finding. Collecting. Leaving. Walking.

Talking. Thinking. Chatting. Planning. Arriving. Installing. Undressing. Swiming. Enjoying.

Liesje de Laet

Warming. Running. Drying. Laying. Dressing. Packing. Leaving. Walking. Talking.


Chatting. Looking. Finding. Arriving. Dropping. Meeting. Starting. Preparing. Cooking. Mixing. Talking. Eating.


Drinking. Chatting. Eating. Drinking. Leaving. Slowing. Reviewing Preparing. Resting. ď ´

invented nature

Text Title Inter format symposium

Author Name Liesje de Laet



postcards from nida a nd sierre

postcards from nida a nd sierre

Federica Martini & Vytautas Michelkevičius

Travelogue Part 4: Postcards from Nida and Sierre

Vytautas Michelkevičius:

One of the first activities of the project was the thematic residency Taking Time which culminated in an exhibition. The process was co-curated by yourself and the artist Petra Köhle. Between September and December in 2012 more than ten artists, from different cultural backgrounds took part. Could you tell us in a few sentences about your method and process?

Federica Martini:

Petra and I imagined Taking Time as a series of questions, references and discussions about how residencies allow artists to work in different ways. We shared these questions with the residents in two ‘episodes’. The first one in October, when Petra came to Nida, and the second in December, when I came. We also had a blog, which provided texts for the flyer. But most of the discussions that shaped the final exhibition took place in nac’s kitchen. Traces of those conversations are in some of the editions presented in the show in Vilnius and in the nac Log. For the exhibition we showed a lot of small collections, tests, archival materials and in-progress works. Many of them lasted the time of the opening— like Henning Lundkvist’s performative lecture. Most of the works we have shown have surely taken another form now or only exist



in documentation, because they were difficult to transport. In this sense, it was a group experience, as the show is now a collective memory with few surviving material traces. In April 2013 you came to ecav for the workshop Mapping as a Tool for Artistic Research in a Role of a Critical Tourist. I travelled to Sierre several times, as part of five trips to Switzerland. Most of the time I approached Switzerland from Italy by car and had to cross the Alps. From the start of our project I was thinking about critical tourism and questioning what it is that picturesque mountains and beach resorts share, and what makes them so different. I came back to Nida after one of these trips, I was driving through the landscape and I noticed an advantage of the sea landscape over the mountain landscape: here there is no need to climb a mountain to see the horizon, because it is always present. This activity of climbing up the mountain in order to see the horizon, seems so central and specific to alpine tourism. On my last visit to Switzerland, I made a workshop with young artists and MA students of ecav. I presented them with ‘mapping’ as a tool for conducting artistic research, and production, and we engaged in conversations about the power of maps and their use in every-day life and in art. On the last day we tried to be critical tourists ourselves and went to one of the most touristic places in Switzerland—Zermatt, where we applied our theories in practice. It was really productive to try out learned methodologies and understand how mapping works in reality. If you are tourist, you are endlessly presented with maps for your use, but if you are a critical tourist you have the possibility of (re)constructing your own map.



Then in May 2013, Nida hosted the Inter-format Symposium on Critical Tourism, Site-Specificity and the Post-Romantic Condition. Can you talk about the “Inter-format” principle?


The idea of the Inter-format symposium is that it involves multiple contexts and disciplines, functioning as both an academic and an artistic event. The symposium tends to be like a long dinner, serving up different opinions and experiences. In this sense we try to get back to the original meaning of ‘symposium’ where knowledge sharing and production is mixed with breakfast, dinners, walks, performances and games. I started using this format in 2011, and selected it because I wanted to cross the boundaries between artists and researchers from various disciplines as well as to give them the freedom to exchange their roles. We use the

postcards from nida a nd sierre

symposium to ask questions: how could a serious researcher and theorist do a performance? and how could a playful artist do serious research and theorize? Every year the symposium in Nida takes the form of an ongoing performance with lectures, discussions, presentations and site-specific art works. These familiar aspects are mixed with more unusual artistic interventions and workshops, which have included coffee/ wild herbal tea drinking circles, conceptual dinners, and imaginary mapping exercises. Each year the symposium has a different focus and topic, but always it gathers around forty people to spend three or four intensive days together, sharing experiences and knowledge on their specific field. In 2013 the focus on critical tourism meant that we tried to explore Nida as a touristic place through the formats of tourism. Therefore, alongside inspiring lectures and discussions we also scheduled guided and performative walks, critical and aesthetical sightseeing, video-postcards and acts of (not) travelling to the symposium’s site. 

Tourists Like Us: A Conversation and Travelogue

Federica Martini & Vytautas Michelkevičius



tourists like us

authors ’ biogr aphies

Bill Aitchison (UK)

Is a performance artist whose diverse output spans events, theatre performances, sound-works, videos and texts. Known for making unpredictable and quirky work, you might see him performing a dance duet on freewill, being a storytelling DJ, giving a performance lecture in Chinese or a trying to do ten things at the same time. He holds a practice-based PhD from Goldsmiths College, is well known as a writer and performer through his collaborative projects, has published texts in several countries, regularly makes work for radio and is honorary research fellow at Birkbeck College, University of London.

Benoit Antille (CH)

Graduated from the MA Program in Classical Archeology and Art History at the Fribourg University (Switzerland, 2001) and from the Curatorial Practice MA Program at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco (2011). He currently works as researcher and independent curator in Switzerland. He manages the exhibition space MAXXX—Project Space, leads a research project on site-specific approaches in the natural environment for the Ecole cantonale d’art du Valais, and coordinates the artists in residency program at Villa Ruffieux in Sierre. Between 2003 and 2009, he worked as curator and coordinator of the residency program at the Cultural Center Ferme-Asile, in Sion. In 2012, he attended the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo residency program for curators, before being contracted by the Culture Department of the Valais to write a report on the situation of contemporary art in this region— Art Pro—in anticipation of their revision of the criteria for public funding.


Sebastian Cichocki (PL)

Is a curator, writer and is deputy director at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. His focus is on neo-conceptual reflection in art referring to land art and environmental art of the 1970s. He is the curator of numerous exhibitions, including Monika Sosnowska’s exhibition in the Polish Pavilion of the 52nd Venice Biennale and Yael Bartana at the 54th Venice Biennale, The Sculpture Park in Bródno (2009–2012) and New National Art (2012). he is the author of several curatorial projects in the form of publications, e.g., A Cookbook for Political Imagination (2011), and The Future of Art Criticism as Pure Fiction (2011), the libretto of the institutional opera Spoken Exhibitions (with Michał Libera, Grzegorz Piątek and Jarosław Trybuś 2011), Mirage (with Łukasz Jastrubczak 2012) and Earth Works! (2013).

Hanna Husberg (Fi),

Meeting whilst working in London as artists and curators, they have backgrounds in fine art, literature, architectural research, curating and art history. Their common concerns are discerning the function of art and culture in responses to ecological and social crises. Husberg graduated from ENSB-A, Paris in 2007, and is currently doing a PhD in practice at the Arts Academy of Vienna. McLean graduated from Sydney College of Arts, and is finishing an MFA in curating at Goldsmiths College. Tsipni-Kolaza graduated in visual cultures from Westminster University and works as an independent curator.

Laura McLean (Au) Kalliopi Tsipni-Kolaza (Gr)

Liesje De Laet (BE)

Employs a variety of media in her work, but always starts from a direct dialogue with the site and context in which she is working. Whether it is about creating in-situ installations, setting up a dialogue between two art practices or organising workshops and exhibitions, the visual result always comes from a reaction to the given situation. Using found or secondhand materials, coincidence becomes of great importance. She treats these materials and objects in a secure and careful way. Meticulously highlighting accents, these actions in time and space—the repetitiveness of a gesture, the balanced combination of objects—triggers an awareness of our observation and image reading. A practice by means of process, slowness and organic growth.

Jurij Dobriakov (LT)

Is an independent researcher of contemporary culture, a critic and translator. He teaches theory of photography, media ethics and everyday culture at Vilnius Design College, publishes various critical texts and essays in Lithuanian and international cultural publications and exhibition catalogues, takes part in publishing initiatives, conferences and seminars. Fields of interest include psychoanalysis, media theory, philosophy of photography, urban studies and psychogeography. He lives and works in Vilnius, Lithuania.


tourists like us

Paul Domela (UK)

Was Deputy Chief Executive and Programme Director of Liverpool Biennial between 2001 and 2013. He left the organisation in February to seek a different way of working. He has organised exhibitions and public programmes, exchange programmes and residencies with an interest in the reverberations of globalisation, the relation between art and urbanism, transcultural practices and art and knowledge production. With Imogen Stidworthy he curated Die Lucky Bush, (Mukha, 2009) and (In) the First Circle, (Tapies Foundation, 2011). He is a member of the board of International Foundation Manifesta and Manifesta 10 in St Petersburg 2014.

Barnaby Drabble (CH/ES)

Is interested in social and political aspects of contemporary art in the broader context of visual culture. His curatorial projects have addressed issues of public space, urbanism, migration, intellectual property and civil disobedience, taking the form of independent exhibitions, screenings, discussions and public space interventions. As a writer, he contributes to art magazines, catalogues, websites and thematic publications. He has edited two influential collections of texts on curating and since 2009 he is the managing editor of the Journal for Artistic Research. He is co-founder of the discursive archiving project Curating Degree Zero and the Postgraduate Program in Curating at the Zurich University of the Arts. He holds a PhD in Visual and Cultural studies and is involved in ongoing teaching and research at the ecav, Sierre, Switzerland.

Gilles Furtwängler (CH)

Spoken words, print words. Graduated from the Art School of Lausanne (ECAL) in 2006, and since graduation has pursued a practice in which texts and words are his main matters of interest. He sculpts them, and treats them as materials to produce meanings, non-senses, paradoxes and contradictions. His work usually appears in the shape of readings, performances and posters. He is also member of the artspaces Circuit in Lausanne ( and Oslo10 in Basel ( He is co-founder of the artists’ groups Say Yes or Die ( and Makrout Unité.

Wilko Graf von Hardenberg (DE/CH)

Is an environmental historian focusing on social, cultural and political aspects of nature perception and management in modern Europe. He holds a degree in history and a PhD in geography. His most recent research focuses on the history of nature conservation in the Alps and on development of the concept of mean sealevel in scientific discourse. He is interested in the use of digital tools in historical scholarship. Currently he is research associate at LabISAlp in Switzerland, digital humanities research specialist at the Rachel Carson Center in Munich, and scholar-in-residence at the Deutsches Museum, Munich. In fall 2013, he will start a visiting professorship in Madison, Wisconsin.

Authors’ Biographies


Petra Köhle & Nicolas Vermot Petit-Outhenin (CH)

Have worked collaboratively since 2003. They developed a performative setting to understand the probability of a chance meeting, managed a guesthouse in Sihanoukville and activated archive material by re-enacting some of its documents. Köhle and Vermot’s latest works and research investigate how technologies, and more specifically the medium of photography, relate to the process of archiving. Their work has been exhibited in Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Museum of Modern Art Frankfurt, Kunsthaus Glarus, Shedhalle Zurich and others. In 2014, they will exhibit their work in Tallinn and the National Gallery of Art in Vilnius. In collaboration with Georg Rutishauser of edition fink www.editionfink. ch they have published several artist books such as There where I should have been yesterday. I am here today and Albert’s Guesthouse. www.kö

Juozas Laivys (lt)

Studied at the Vilnius Academy of Arts (MA) and Ecole National des Beaux-Arts de Lyon (postgraduate studies). Laivys works internationally as an artist and, aside from his solo projects, he has taken part in the International Baltic Triennial (Vilnius, CAC), the 4th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, GB Agency (Paris), the Lyon Biennial and Tulips & Roses. Laivys is now based in the Western Lithuanian countryside where he runs a small farm. Recently he has been working with mobile sculptures which he transports and shows in different locations, particularly small towns and villages.

David Larsson (SE)

Is an artist. He works with installation, objects and photography with a specific interest in the act of collecting as a form of orientation device. Much of his work deals with his large collection of objects. By continuing to work with the same objects over and over again, while at the same time refusing to claim any specific or stable meaning with these particular objects, he is questioning both the notion of the artwork as an autonomous and stable entity as well as the possibility for any kind of real authenticity in the relationship between the artwork and the artist. David Larsson occasionally collaborates with Marika Troili in several different constellations such as Professorsgruppen, Y.A.P.P. and Maccadamm.

Henning Lundkvist (se)

Has had solo and duo shows at Rollaversion Gallery (London), Studion/Moderna Museet (Stockholm), Empty Cube (Lisbon) and Lumiar Cité (Lisbon); group shows at Lunds Konsthall (Lund), Cristina Guerra (Lisbon) and Ystad Konstmuseum (Ystad); works published in OEI, The Critical Ass and Øyet, Igjen; residencies at Iaspis (Stockholm) and Nida Art Academy (Nida); studied at Malmö Art Academy (Malmö) and Maumaus (Lisbon).


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Federica Martini (IT/CH)

Is a curator and art historian. She was a member of the Curatorial Departments of the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Rivoli-Turin, Musée Jenisch Vevey and Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts/Lausanne, and curator of the visual art section of the Festival des Urbaines, Lausanne. Since 2009 she is head of the Master program MAPS—Arts in Public Spheres at ecav, Ecole Cantonale d’Art du Valais, Sierre. Recent
 projects include Taking Time (Nida Art Colony, 2012); Vague Terrain—0° latitude-longitude Gleisdreieck (Complices, Berlin, 2012); Royal Garden 4—Rivières (Le Crédac—Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry, 2012, with D. Rittener); Slipping Glimpser (Théâtre Arsenic, Lausanne, 2011); Incongruous (Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts/Lausanne, 2011). Recent publications: Pavilions /Art in Architecture (with R. Ireland, ecav-La Muette, 2013); Just Another Exhibition: Histories and Politics of Biennials (with V. Martini, Postmediabooks, 2011). She holds a PhD in Exhibition Histories.

Vytautas Michelkevičius (LT)

Is a theorist, activist and curator, working with art and media projects and interested in socializing through art, interdisciplinarity between art and research, experimental teaching, and participatory curatorial practices. He holds a PhD in Communication & Media studies, lectures in Vilnius Academy of Arts since 2005 and has worked as artistic director of Nida Art Colony (www.nidacolony. lt) since 2010. He curated several exhibitions and edited numerous books, among them Mapping Lithuanian Photography: Histories and Archives—Photo/carto/historio/graphies (MENE, 2007), (In)dependent Contemporary Art Histories: Artist-run Initiatives in Lithuania 1987-2011 (LTMKS, 2011), Generation of the Place: Image, Memory and Fiction in the Baltics (MENE, 2011) as well as internet journal on media culture (2005-2009).

Sibylle Omlin (CH)

After studies in Germanics, art history and modern history at the University of Zurich from 1996 to 2001, Sibylle worked as a writer and art critic for the newspaper NZZ. Since 1999, she has been teaching art theory and worked as a freelance writer and curator. From 2001 to 2009, she worked as head of the Institute of the Hochschule für Kunst und Kunst Gestaltung—Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz. Since 2009, she is director of ecav. Among her publications: Gedächtnis der Malerei Das (2000), Hybrid Zonen. Kunst und Architektur in Basel und Zürich (2003), Geschiebe. Landschaft als Denkraum (2004), Performativ. Performance-Künste in der Schweiz (2004), Interviews.Oral History in Kunstwissenschaft und Kunst (with Dora Imhof 2010). Her research interests include new media, performance and artistic research.

Authors’ Biographies



Agnieszka Polska (PL)

Is a visual artist, graduate of The Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków and Universität der Künste, Berlin’s University of the Arts. The subject of Polska’s work is often the history of art—especially the 1960s and 1970s. She is interested in its myths, legends difficult to verify, as well as the mechanisms of remembering and denial in the system of constructing artistic canons. Her works were shown at Tate Modern, Berlinische Galerie, Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, National Gallery Zacheta in Warsaw, KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin.

Ramūnas Povilanskas (LT)

Is a Geographer, working with interdisciplinary projects on a wide array of issues related to integrated coastal management, conservation of coastal dunes and post-mass seaside resort development. He is a professor at the Department of Recreation and Tourism of Klaipėda University. He is also a part-time director of the Baltic Office of EUCC—a worldwide coastal and marine conservation network. He has published numerous research papers and books, including a monograph Landscape management on the Curonian Spit: a cross-border perspective (2004).

Adrien Siberchicot (FR)

Works with video, installation and text. He received an MFA in 2012 in Sweden at Valand School of Fine Arts in Gothenburg where he started to develop a practice which articulates notions of tourism, landscape and travel narratives.

Sam Skinner (UK)

Is an artist, writer and producer. He has a BA in Art History from Liverpool John Moores University and completed an MA in Art History from Sussex University in 2011. He has worked as gallery co-ordinator at The British Museum, and as venue manager of The Basement performance art venue in Brighton, and produced a range of site-specific art events with organisations including Grizedale Arts, Tate, Mercy, and Liverpool Biennial. His recent essay ‘Split-Subject’ accompanies Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin’s War Primer 2 e-book published by Mapp Editions. Alongside the development of ‘Leave to Remain’, other current projects include a community photo archive in Cheam, South London, development of a War Primer 2 opera, a crowdsourced film adaptation of Moby Dick, and the development of the new-media/performance based Electronic Voice Phenomena programme in collaboration with Liverpool Biennial, Mercy, Hive and the Wellcome Trust.

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Markus Soukup (UK)

Is a video and sound artist living and working in London. He completed his MA in New Media Production at Liverpool John Moores University (ICDC) in 2004. He curated SoundNetworks live sound performance event series ‘Binary Jam’ and was co- director of the artist led project and gallery space ‘Lost Soul and Stranger Service Station’ in Liverpool. His work has been shown in national and international exhibitions and festivals. Recent exhibitions include ‘Transition’ at the Red Gallery in London (2013), ‘Selected’ a UK screening tour organised by Film London and Video Club Brighton (2012), his ‘Elements & Satellites’ exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool (2012) was a result of winning the Liverpool Art Prize in 2011.

Yulia Startsev (RU/DE)

Is an artist, curator, writer, and programmer based in Berlin. She studied Interdisciplinary Arts at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Interrelated Media at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and participated in the New York Studio Residency Program in 2011. Startsev worked as an assistant curator at the Nida Art Colony in 2012 where she co-curated (with Vytautas Michelkevicius) the first retrospective exhibition of artists’ works produced from the residency program. She has written several articles on the carnivalesque in relation to architecture and is currently collaborating with Studio Miessen (Berlin) on a number of international projects as a researcher and writer.

Laura Stasiulytė (LT)

Is an artist whose work is primarily focused on the sociopolitical meanings of language, time and location. Issues of memory, as well as collisions of the past and the present are apparent in most of the artist’s works. Since 2000 Stasiulytė has exhibited her works in various exhibitions such as Manifesta 4 (Frankfurt am Main), Faster than history, KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art (Helsinki), BMW, The IX Baltic Triennial of International Art (CAC,Vilnius), Progressive Nostalgia, Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci (Prato, Italy) and the 54th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen. In her new art project “In Letters” Laura Stasiulytė investigates the phenomenon of mental fatigue, distress or weariness.

Authors’ Biographies


Collective Synops (CH)

The collective is composed of two artists, Maëlle Cornut and Stéphanie Giorgis, and is active since November 2011. The goal of the collective is to create cultural events based on collaboration around the work of its members and the work of other artists. In 2012, the collective members were invited by the Ecole Cantonale d’Art du Valais to curate an exhibition for the Lokal-Int art space in Biel, which they entitled Screwdriver. The collective’s practice situates itself in the context of its production, highlighting specific aspects of the places they are working in, as for example in summer 2013, for the Critical Tourism residency in Nida Art Colony. Based in Vevey the collective aims to produce publications, exhibitions and workshops in Switzerland and abroad.

Marika Troili (SE)

Is an artist based in Stockholm, Sweden. She holds an MFA from the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. Her practice involves disparate methods as well as outcomes but many of her works could be said to be characterized by fragmentation and repetition. Minor things are attributed great significance and objects are deprived of their function. Through her work she is interested in making ‘reality’ or ‘everyday life’ reveal its inherent absurdity. She likes to highlight the political dimensions of that which appears to be apolitical. For the last two years Troili has continuously been following the restructurings and slow death of the Swedish Postal Service, where she has been working part-time as a mail woman on short term contracts since 2006. Marika Troili occasionally collaborates with David Larsson in several different constellations such as Professorsgruppen, Y.A.P.P. and Maccadamm.


Is an international artist-in-residence and art education centre based in Nida on the Baltic Sea coast. It is a part of the Vilnius Academy of Arts which is the only visual arts university in Lithuania, located in four cities with a fifth location in Nida, a small holiday resort town with 1500 local residents. It is surrounded by the National Park of the Curonian Spit, which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as a cultural landscape with natural and man-made sand dunes. Nida has been host to a historical artist colony since the end of nineteenth century. Each year nac hosts around fifty artists-in-residence from between one and four months, alongside around 350 students and 300 project participants. Individual and retreat residencies occur next to thematic and curated ones (Critical Tourism, Technoecologies, etc.). International residents create temporary communities between themselves, local residents, visiting curators, professors, students and travellers. Usually between five to ten

Nida Art Colony (LT)


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residents stay at one time and the colony welcomes artists, designers, architects, curators and researchers. nac is a connected retreat and production place with exhibitions, screenings, conferences, symposiums and publications. nac offers time, space and professional support for exchange, work, reflection, research, production and experimentation in contemporary visual culture. ecav

Ecole Cantonale d’Art du Valais, Sierre (ch)

is a University of Applied Arts and Sciences situated in the heart of the Alps in Valais, a bilingual French- German region of Switzerland, bordering Italy. ecav is part of the WesternSwitzerland network of Visual Arts programmes and hosts more than 200 Swiss and international students. Open to experimental and alternative artistic educational approaches, ecav hosts programmes in graphic design (secondary education / graphic designer—MPA) and visual arts (Foundation, Bachelor, Master). Small in size, ecav has developed a pedagogy based on the involvement of students in local, national and international projects with numerous partner institutions. Since 2010, ecav makes use of the exhibition space USEGO, an extensive former industrial building that is today devoted to students’ exhibitions. Since 2013, ecav is also involved in the contemporary art space Espace MAXXX, located in the historical centre of the city of Sierre. The ecav Visual Arts Research Institute focuses on issues related to artistic intervention in the public space, oral history, land art, cultural tourism, community-based artistic practices, art & social work, performance and exhibition histories. Recent artistic research projects include: Home Zones (2013-ongoing); Un patrimoine revisité: entre sauvegarde et création documentaire (2011-2012); Ars contemporaneus alpinus (2013-ongoing); Art & Architecture / Constructions—Identities (2012-2013); Kristallisationsorte des Schweizer Kunst der 1970er Jahre: Aarau, Genf, Luzern (2011-2012). The specific location of the school allows researchers to work in a concentrated and withdrawn situation, research-based residencies are enhanced by the offer of collaboration with the school’s Print Workshop (Atelier Multiple Editions) and the residency programme at the Villa Ruffieux. ecav

Authors’ Biographies




The editors would like to warmly thank all the partners, participants and colleagues from ecav and nac for their contribution to the exchange: Rasa Antanavičiūtė, executive director of nac and Sibylle Omlin, Director of ecav, made the project possible through their longlasting contribution and support throughout; Magda Olasinska and Ula Kropiwiec facilitated all the steps of the process; Benoît Antille, Petra Köhle and Linas Ramanauskas, who assisted the production of the residents in Switzerland and Lithuania; Daina Pupkevičiūtė and Linas Ramanauskas again for his contribution to the success of the Inter-format Symposium. Particular thanks go to the authors and contributors to this book as well as to people and institutions that authorised the reproduction of images. Last but not least, we would like to thank all the artists and theoreticians that took part in the symposium and the residencies in Nida and Sierre, with a generous knowledge-sharing attitude: Bill Aitchison, Alain Antille, Benoît Antille, Marta Bogdańska, Sigbjørn Bratlie, Sebastian Chichoki, Contingent Movements Archive, Luca Diffuse, Jurij Dobriakov, Paul Domela, Barnaby Drabble, Eva-Fiore Kovacovsky, Gilles Furtwängler, Florian Kutzli, Olivia Glasser, Vahag Hamalbashyan, Wilko Graf von Hardenberg, Petra Köhle & Nicolas Vermot Petit-Outhenin, David Larsson,Toni Ledentsa, Henning Lundkvist, Ramūnas Povilanskas, Daina Pupkevičiūtė, Fiona Reilly, Stéphanie Serra/Musée Jenisch Vevey, Adrien Siberchicot, Jeanie Sinclair, Markus Soukup & Sam Skinner, Yulia Startsev, Synops Collective, Delphine Tini, Marika Troili, Myroslav Vayda & Sacha Waldron.



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COLOPHON Editors: Federica Martini & Vytautas Michelkevičius

Design: alfa60 (Joseph Miceli)

Copy-editing: Barnaby Drabble

Print-run: 1200

ISBN 978-609-447-107-0

© 2013


Cantonale d’Art du Valais, Sierre and Vilnius Academy of Arts Press, in association with VAA Nida Art Colony Distribution: Vilnius Academy of Arts Press, Dominikonų str. 15, Vilnius, LT-01013, Lithuania;

The book includes essays, artistic interventions and conversations developed in the context of On Hosting and Displacing: Artistic Residencies and Cultural Production in Remote Contexts (20122013), a cooperation between the ecav (Ecole Cantonale d’Art du Valais)—Wallis University of Applied Arts and Sciences (Sierre/CH) and the Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts (Neringa, Lithuania, LT). Furthermore, it contains the extended proceedings of the Inter-format Symposium on Critical Tourism, Site-Specificity and the Post-Romantic Condition that took place at the VAA Nida Art Colony, May 16-19, 2013. The cooperation project On Hosting and Displacing: Artistic Residencies and Cultural Production in Remote Contexts was made possible with generous support in the framework of the exchange programme with Central and Eastern Europe, initiated by the liaison office of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia in Warsaw (


Additional funding was provided by Ministry of Culture of Lithuanian Republic and NordicBaltic mobility programme for culture.

Printer: BALTO print, Vilnius, Lithuania

The project was made possible by the contribution of partners in Lithuania and Switzerland: Fondation Château Mercier, Sierre (CH); Villa Ruffieux, Sierre (CH); the Canton of Wallis Canton (CH), the National Park of the Curonian Spit (LT), Neringa FM (LT), Klaipėda University (LT).

Rue Bonne-Eau 16, Sierre, CH-3960, Switzerland

Published by: Cantonale d’Art du Valais, Sierre and Vilnius Academy of Arts Press, in association with VAA Nida Art Colony


The publication received the support of the Société Académique du Valais (CH), Hes-so, University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland (CH), ecav Visual Arts Research Institute (CH) and The Lithuanian Culture Support Foundation (LT).



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Text Title

Author Name



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This book opens up a new field of discussion at the crossroads between contemporary art and critical tourism. As common ground for theoretical inquiry and artistic research, the notion of critical tourism asks us to question again our understanding of authenticity, the tourist gaze, the museification of landscape, the visual construction of place, post-romanticism, contemporary exoticism, site-specificity and global connectedness. The book specifically explores the role of the artist, and of the art institution, in the age of destination culture. How are individual and institutional practices changing in an era of hosting, hospitality, displacing and cultural nomadism? Based on the comparison between two very different but nonetheless similar landscapes—the Swiss Alps and the Baltic Dunes and Beaches—art historians, environmental historians, geographers, explorers, curators and artists address the relatively new field of critical tourism in a transdisciplinary context. Together they consider how to critically approach and understand seductive and remote landscapes, against the backdrop of global cultural tourism. The book is not only a critical account of discussions around the topics but it is also rich in visual materials, documents and descriptions of artistic interventions in these two touristic settings. This publication is the result of over a year of exchanges between Cantonale d’Art du Valais in Sierre (Switzerland) and Nida Art Colony (nac), which belongs to the Vilnius Academy of Arts (Lithuania). The book reviews the concepts, residencies, exhibitions, workshops and the symposium that formed this exchange between 2012 to 2013, in the context of the research and residency programme “On Hosting and Displacing: Artistic Residencies and Cultural Production in Remote Contexts”. 27 0



Cantonale d’Art du Valais, Sierre and Vilnius Academy of Arts Press in association with VAA Nida Art Colony

ISBN 978-609-447-107-0

9 786094 471070 SW



Edited by Federica Martini & Vytautas Michelkevičius

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