Education of Senses in Free Time: seeing as entertainment 1. Nowadays we are increasingly subordinated by the excesses of stimuli that result in the de formation of our senses, including during our free time. In this article, we questioned the production of the sight and its role in the tourism context. We conclude that vision stimuli and the act of looking consist in entertainment, which results in the strengthening of the process of sensory alienation. As we know, modernity is a period marked by unprecedented technical advances due to the accelerated process of urbanization and the emergence of the capacity, which seems limitless, for producing goods and services. According to the diagnosis of Walter Benjamin , social conditions generated by the technical development and the evolution of capitalist production forces assisted in transforming the subjective structures of our perception, to the extent much of this takes place under the pace of industrial production.
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Education of Senses in Free Time: seeing as entertainment 1. Nowadays we are increasingly subordinated by the excesses of stimuli that result in the de formation of our senses, including during our free time. In this article, we questioned the production of the sight and its role in the tourism context. We conclude that vision stimuli and the act of looking consist in entertainment, which results in the strengthening of the process of sensory alienation. As we know, modernity is a period marked by unprecedented technical advances due to the accelerated process of urbanization and the emergence of the capacity, which seems limitless, for producing goods and services.
According to the diagnosis of Walter Benjamin , social conditions generated by the technical development and the evolution of capitalist production forces assisted in transforming the subjective structures of our perception, to the extent much of this takes place under the pace of industrial production.
Some examples mentioned by the author are the new optical and tactile experiences. It is in the experience of the great cities, between the late XIX century and early XX century, that modern subjectivity becomes clearer. Much of this is also observed in the practice of traveling, initially of bourgeois character and expressed by the Grand Tour , and subsequently broadened to less wealthy social strata, with the improvement and popularization of modes of transport.
The low speed of the modes of transport used in the Tour , such as wagons, horses, and sailing boats, in addition to providing a slow visual appreciation of the landscape, little interfered in the auditory perception, in such a way that sound and silence could still be clearly perceived, unlike when travels started being carried out by noisy locomotives Salgueiro, Advances in modes of transport were decisive for the production of an unprecedented synesthetic experience, to the extent they allowed the development of a new spatial perception related to the notions of proximity and distance.
Furthermore, traveling in the modern modes of transport provided both comfort and a sense of speed at unimaginable levels to travelers used to the difficult traditional journeys. Nowadays, tourism takes place under other conditions, but, as we aim at discussing next, among countless options of free time, it remains an important intensifying and modelling practice in our subjective formation. About 30 tourists take part in each of these excursions, which are made by bus, based on a previously defined itinerary, and lasting from 2 to 4 days.
We recorded our data in field journals, gathering speeches, body expressions, as well as notes from researchers themselves.
We also conducted 15 interviews recorded, transcribed, and analyzed with tourists, overall aging over 60 years. Frequently, some of the interviews relied on photographs the interviewees have brought with themselves 3. Following the text, results are presented in three categories of analysis.
We begin by exposing how the sight is trained even before the trips, with previous images to which the travelers are submitted, and in their course, through strategies that indicate and demand how and what should be seen, corroborating both the proposal of distraction of senses when in contact with market-related cultural practices and what people are expected to do in their free time. Then, we present some mechanisms of tourism dynamics that, together with the tensioned subjectivity of tourists, consist in the creation of a certain temporality in which it is only possible, and also craved, to relate to the objects and landscapes by visualization, exclusively and in an abbreviated way.
Closing the cycle of tensioning the sight, initiated by the crystallization of previous images and maintained by the constant orientation of what should be seen in the journey, in the third item we emphasize the weakening of the ability to recall, showing that the photographic record has been used for storing information, a resource needed to memory, attempting to activate something that the senses seem no longer being able to perceive and register.
We conclude the text emphasizing that in the researched practice of leisure, the stimuli provided to the vision and the act of looking consist in entertainment themselves and, as such, in goods aimed at producing sensations, of which the process of sensory alienation takes place, present in the most diverse contexts of the contemporary society. The first contact with tourist destinations and places, overall, occurs by images disseminated about them, being decisive for the choice of the destinations, but also for creating expectations and even memories of the journey.
This is well expressed when Arthur 4. Interviewed on March 27, , probably referring to the Gramado Film Festival 5. Even though the previous images are not concretely visualized in this case, the artists, the Festival This is also applicable to pictures in the travel promotional material itself. Not by chance, it is from this association that Mrs. I love nature, fruits, plants [ Interviewed on March 31, The activity of the Apple Harvest, key in the tour itinerary, was held on the second day of the trip and in a very euphoric and paced way, ending about fifteen minutes after arriving in a plantation containing the last fruits of the season in the harvest stage.
Despite the brevity of the activity and the sight of the orchards did not showing them as red and abundant as expected based on the promotional material of the trip, Mrs. Despite illustrations always representing something very specific to each trip, with which we relate to for an extremely small period of time and there are cases in which we cannot even actually visit the illustrated locations , we tend to agree with Urry , p. Even when they fail to actually see the natural wonder in question, they can still feel it and see it in their minds.
The fact we remember produced images of some place more frequently than our direct visual contact with it denotes a process in which reality increasingly resembles the image once recorded Sontag, It is known that the human sight has changed with the advent of photography and the possibility of its infinite reproduction 6. Being carried away by an image that is known to not necessarily correspond to reality is the response evoked by agents who design cultural products within a capitalist society, as proposed by Horkheimer and Adorno Thus, illustrations in the promotional material of the itineraries must correspond lesser to the reality than lead to an easy association with feelings that are intended to be sold as merchandise, even if they are provisional or deceptive.
Positioned facing tourists, inside the wagon, the train guide warns about on which of the sides right or left will be the next tourist spot she shall comment about. She explains that she does it so there is time for tourists to move to the windows and take pictures.
And so she goes on, she warns the passengers that they will pass by a certain tourist object to their left and everybody get up in search of a spot to see through the windows at the left side of the wagons Field Journal 2 - Natal Encantado em Curitiba [Enchanted Christmas in Curitiba] Excursion. Tour guides do not only indicate and determine the sight, but also tourist spots, which are increasingly signalized in order to orient and restrict visual experiences.
Similar to most tourist spots, the Parque Mini Mundo [Mini World Park] in Gramado has several indicative and explanatory signs of its attractions, but also a small newspaper containing a map of the park is handed out, with precise indications of details, objects, and scenarios that are usually unnoticed to the quick and superficial looks of tourists, but which cannot fail to be seen such as the reproductions of scenes of a rescue of a resident from a burning building and that of a car accident 7.
These details, which are deemed important tourist attractions of the place, are also pointed out by some employees who circulate in the park and approach the tourists, under the condition of a last resort to call their attention and, at the same time, to monitor their distraction.
If the sight is the predominant sense at least since the beginning of modernity, in the investigated leisure practice this is determined and stressed by the temporal organization of excursions. When describing the itinerary followed on one day of the Magia de Natal em Blumenau [Christmas Magic Tour in Blumenau] excursion, the small period available for each visited location is evident:.
Interviewed on December 19, It is clear that the period tourists remain at one place cannot be too short to the point of them not being able to glimpse everything, and nor too long to the point of tiring their eyes.
Some tourists say aloud that there is no time for this activity, because there is much to see, and the others agree. The tour guide insists that there is time, then, the few tourists who have not dispersed yet quickly go along the route delimited by the Garden of Sensations, shortening the path. Without being blindfolded, they touch a few plants and bow so they can smell a few others Field Journal 2 - Enchanted Christmas in Curitiba.
Even when there is the possibility of visiting new places by other senses, as illustrated in the aforementioned situation, such is refused beforehand by the supreme predominance of the sight. By refusing to not rely on the sense with which they quickly get in touch with the outside environment, tourists reject those which seem too time-consuming or require greater effort on their part. The sensation corresponds to body-related manifestations and the satisfaction of immediate needs, as tourists experience in relation to the objects that attract their look, that draw their attention, without actually knowing anything about them.
Costa enlightens that experiences based on sensations depend on the physical presence of objects as stimuli for the permanence of the satisfaction promoted by them; hence, when no longer seeing the tourist object, the same occurs with the possibility of relating to it. This can only be retrieved by resuming the visualization or replacing it with another object to see.
In the inner space are the bulky figures or objects that receive attention and retention of the sight for a few seconds, always when the panoramic view of the spaces is not enough. One of these situations happened in Blumenau, when. Besides illustrating that, in tourism, knowledge depends, and is often limited to, on the visual apprehension, the panoramic city tour is also the maximum experience of temporal perception measured by vision, that is, of a time determined by the interval between a blink of an eye and another, in which there is always a new object to be seen.
The way tourists react in this situation is very similar to that of the passerby amidst the crowd of large cities and the spectator in a movie theater: perception in the form of shocks is imposed to both of them Benjamin, Benjamin, , p.
Interviewed on March 27, The stimuli received in these situations require careful attention and clear conscious in order to disintegrate and resist to constant shocks. The fact shock is disintegrated and interrupted by the conscious would attribute to the event that provokes it the character of the mere experience in a strict sense. And, immediately incorporating this event into the collection of conscious memories, it would make it barren for the poetic experience Benjamin, , p.
Thus, there are few chances for the shock experiences Used to the disperse and discontinuous perception, subjects need constant renewal of stimuli, including through entertainment, as a guarantee to distract the emptiness in which they would find themselves without it. Unless you can extract poetry from the shock, resisting to it, as Charles-Pierre Baudelaire Benjamin, did, the conditioning sensory system - initially adapted to the rhythm of the machines of industrial production and, currently, to the speed of images and information disseminated by the media and the Internet - results in the weakening of our spiritual forces, particularly the mnemonic for retaining information in the memory and mimetic for producing and recognizing similarities ones, and in the broadening of a content-free existence, but full of distraction.
Besides visual reception, at the same time attentive and dispersed, required by the change in images during the panoramic city tour, the mere experience of shock is felt by tourists when they automatically direct their body and attention to what the tour guide points and speaks of, through a reflex-like mechanism, as they also do because of the signs in the thematic parks.
In addition to looking at the landscape or object, visualizing it and capturing it through camera lenses is also important to the tourist. I was once in Bolivia and bought a professional camera.
Interviewed on December 22, Interviewed on March 26, Photograph was recurrent in group journeys, a practice that nowadays reach levels unimaginable no longer ago, with the advance of digital photography, the almost endless possibility of storage, in addition to the instant exchange of images by smartphones and social networks. This is observed even with the predominance of digital cameras among most tourists, who were older adults, different from what we can identify among the youngest, whose smartphones are mistaken by their own hands.
If the time of the tourist is that of the visual apprehension, it is also, to some extent, the time of the photograph:. Then, she asks me if I want to go to the Oscar Niemeyer Museum. We look at the clock and see that we only have five minutes, yet, we run there. We look at the architecture of the museum on the outside and walk through the entrance hall, where there are some sculptures.
She asks me what is the name of that and seeks some identification of the museum to take a picture, otherwise she would forget where it was and could not tell [stories] about her pictures.
I take a photo of her next to the sign indicating the name of the museum and we hastily go to the bus Field Journal 2 - Enchanted Christmas in Curitiba Excursion. Replacing the experience, photography plays the role of storing information, therefore the concern with recording the location that indicates the name of the Oscar Niemeyer Museum, as previously described.
The same happens with most tourists, when they photograph signs with details of buildings, titles of monuments, facades with names of the visited places. Photographs of a trip become an information system for tourists themselves Sontag, , they provide the data places, people, monuments, dates, climate, relief, geographic condition through which tourists will tell other people about the trip or show it somehow.
Within a context in which every perceptual universe which involves expectations, temporality, and knowledge depends on visual apprehension, the memories could not be tied to anything other than the taken pictures. And, for example, Chile is a long journey, and we wonder, when will we be here again? Photography is, at the same time, an attempt to own objects and landscapes, and an attempt to own the memory itself.
According to Agamben , possession, or property, is peculiar to the objects of consumption, those of which we could not necessarily make use. If to remember visited places we must have the photograph or, if we depend on it to remember them, then memory itself becomes an object of consumption that represents the act of destruction of the object Agamben, In the inability of establishing a direct relationship with the object due to our perceptive limitations for example, attentively contemplating a landscape, a building, or a cultural manifestation , what we have left is taking the tourist object home as a souvenir or a photograph, in an attempt to possess it, even away from these places.
De Botton, points out. In addition to mentioning places and scenarios and evidencing them with photography, these authors propose the development of a greater attention or an attention aware of the landscapes, which would allow us to better know them, by seeking to understand them. The desire for possession, which nowadays we seek to satisfy by photography, could only be satisfied by this understanding, as concluded by De Botton , based on Ruskin, which would allow the apprehension of the object through memory.
If objective conditions urban structure, development of modes of transport, technologies for capturing and displaying images, etc. More than understanding that tourism consists in the creation and in the historical and social development of a sight directed at an image landscape, scenarios By following the dynamic of the organized fun that entertainment implies, tourism prepares and leads the sight, as well as the other senses, in such a way there is no effort to undergo a certain experience - that defined and elected by the tourist market.
A single route of relationship with the object is made available and established, familiarizing the senses in such a way that neither imagination nor thought are required. If, on the one hand, the tourist model contributes to the overvaluation and tensioning of the sight, on the other, the investigated situation shows that it also meets the demand for constant visualization.
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