The Tourist #17


“Photography, then, is a part of the process of postmodernisation, a ‘society of spectacles’ where circulating and instantaneous images overpower reality; ‘reality’ becomes touristic and ready for visual consumption. (Debord, 1983)”

Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle was, perhaps, one of the great works of the last stage of modernism. Postmodernsim is, precisely, the stage after the end of the spectacle “when there is no more spectacle…”

What is then described is not the society of the spectacle but rather a post-specular environment of hyper-reality.

And then not, again.

Photography is part of the process of modernisation. Photography, like everything else, as a subject as such, is subsumed under the aegis of “communication” in the postmodern. The distinction between reality and images is lost, completely, by now. Reality is revealed, after the death of not only god but metaphysics and the notion of transcendence at all, to never have existed in anything like the way we imagined it could have. Our nostalgia for “reality” is nostalgia for the illusion of reality we once laboured under.