The Tropical Archive (2011)

(l to r)
Assumption of a Shell
Assumption of Coral
Second Assumption of a Shell
Assumption of a Coconut
Assumption of a Gitana Tropical

This ongoing series looks at the idealization of the tropics and the notion of the picturesque which was created throughout the history of tourism marketing beginning in the late 1800s. The Tropical Archive takes up mementos - photographs, souvenirs, shells - often associated with vacationing in the Caribbean. In contemporary consumer culture, these items come to represent and, even, render real the vacation experience. At the same time, many Caribbean people living away also possess these items. By re-performing and decontextualizing these objects and photographs, I allow the viewer to reflect and decide.

Are they tourist mementos?
Are they mementos from back home?
Does it matter that these "typical" Caribbean objects were made "typical" by marketing campaigns for tourism?
Are they innocent?
Does it matter if they belong to a tourist or a Caribbean person - does it change the meaning?
Do they reiterate historical and contemporary imperialistic views of the Caribbean or can stereotypical imagery be taken up to transgress and hybridize Caribbean stereotypes?

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