Buildings in motion: hyperreality, simulacra, and light shows at heritage sites

Lovell, J. (2018) Buildings in motion: hyperreality, simulacra, and light shows at heritage sites. In: Rickly-Boyd, J. and Vidon, E., eds. Authenticity and Tourism: Perceptions, Experiences, Materialities. Tourism Social Sciences Series, 1. Emerald. (In Press)

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Son et lumière (sound and light) performances are visitor attractions which are increasingly staged at historic sites, animating monumental buildings such as Buckingham Palace and the cathedrals of Amiens, Rouen and Canterbury. Many monumental, iconic, historic structures convey a sense of ‘architectural agency’, and ‘heritage effect’ (MacDonald, 2009; Smith, 2006) and this chapter suggests that lighting performances contribute a further level of ‘affective atmosphere’ (Edensor, 2012).

The chapter explores multiple levels of authenticity in different types of son et lumière performances, focusing on Eco (1986) and Baudrillard’s (1981) theories of hyperreality. Light projections create a dialogue between the material building and a second, radiant, phantasmagorical presence, or third-order simulacrum (Baudrillard, 1981, p.3), which is detached from the original structure, generating sensations of hyperreality. Comments from semi-structured interviews conducted with lighting designers are interwoven throughout the chapter, which also draws on the case studies of three different events which were staged by the author.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General) > G0141 Historical geography
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Human and Life Sciences
Depositing User: Dr Jane Lovell
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2017 14:13
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2018 16:37

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00