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Aimeé Xia, Theo Zizka, Judy Su, Ciara Griggs, Man Kuan Lei, Jessica French, & Lauren Weinberg

We are the Tourists.

We have between us a collection of individual objects of a rather eclectic and sentimental, almost kitschy nature. We found this reminiscent of souvenirs tourists tend to pick up during their travels.

We were inspired by the concept of the Ugly American tourist, the stereotype many nations have of traveling Americans. To emphasize this concept, we used gaudy tropicalprinted shirts and flowered leis and blared obnoxious, resort music from the puppet’s head during our performance.

Being the Tourists in a paradestyle event enabled us to blur the roles of both the audience and us; were they watching us, or we watching them? With our cameras clicking away and our idealistic, stereotypical tourist attire around us, we found ourselves to be in an odd form of reality in which we were both the attraction and tourist, both the performance and observer.

The music chosen, specifically three songs: Macarena, Mambo no.5, and Who Let The Dogs Out, were meant to be obnoxious, easily recognizable, and nostalgic. All three songs are listed in Rolling Stone’s top 20 most annoying songs. Because these songs are reminiscent of warmer climates and earlier decades, they add to the souvenirlike aspect of our puppet. Nostalgia is an important part of kitsch culture.

Next Post: Bernie’s Performance at FestiFools, Ann Arbor

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