What is a souvenir? Just a tourists wannahave or – as the original French meaning has is – a memory, a keepsake or a memento? Artists Monica Tormell, Orpheu de Jong, Tarja Szaraniec and Tomas Adolfs were wondering this concerning their residency in the first quarter of 2011 at Ateliers ’89: What do we take to Aruba? What do we leave behind? What do we take back?
April 7 & 8, their residency at Ateliers ’89 will be concluded with a SOUVENIR FESTIVAL. Local and international artists, students, designers, musicians, performers, researchers, writers and cooks are invited to take part or to contribute a work round the subject souvenir.
It is hard to miss the grip tourism has on Aruba. All-inclusive beach resorts, luxury high-rise hotels, casino’s and shopping malls are dispersed all along the white coast. On one hand tourism brings an abundance of economic prosperity. On the other hand this touristic amusement sometimes seems to overshadow cultural and historic frames of reference. The souvenirs are symbolic, objects of mimicked memories of a short sunny holiday.
The SOUVENIR FESTIVAL evolves around the souvenir in the broadest sense of the word and touches matters as authenticity, fiction and constructed reality. For instance think of: mass produced tokens in light of authentic memory, diluted histories, forgotten places, the attraction of the tropics, the esthetic of souvenirs and souvenir shops and the accompanying image representation, a search for recognition, a postcard come to true.