An Abnormal Tourist Itinerary: David Tomas's "Live Rightly, Die, Die ..."

By Leger, Marc James | Afterimage, September-October 2012 | Go to article overview

An Abnormal Tourist Itinerary: David Tomas's "Live Rightly, Die, Die ..."


Leger, Marc James, Afterimage


On March 24, 2012, the New York-based electronic network e-flux posted an announcement to some forty-five thousand readers. It stated that from March I until April 29, the Montreal center for contemporary photography, Dazibao, would be showing a two-part exhibition by David Tomas titled "Live rightly, die, die ..." At the top of the posting is the date of the announcement along with the e-flux logo. Below a perforated line, the name of the gallery is placed in bold. Below this is an image: a 1929 photograph of a sailor holding a severed human head. To the right of the image are the exhibition details, and below that, another perforated line is followed by a detailed description listing the names of the artists whose works are shown. Among the prominent figures are Bas Jan Ader, Francis Alys, Lothar Baumgarten, Mareel Broodthaers. Chris Burden, Andre Cadere, Guy Debord, Jan Dibbets, Leon Golub Richard Hamilton, Allan Kaprow, George Maciunas, Irving Penn, and Robert Smithson. Also listed are some lesser-known artists: Pavel Braila. Stanley Brouwn, Tim Clark, Jamelie Hassan, Bouchra Khalili, Vincent Meessen. Willem de Rooij, and some odd inclusions: Documenta H, e-flux, and NASA. The mention of e-flux in this list gives the first indication that the announcement itself figures as one of the artifacts presented in the exhibition. The description explains further:

  Over the past 20 years there has been a notable increase in the
  transnational circulation of cultural information through multiple
  forms of artistic activity. This activity has emerged in tandem with
  neoliberal models of global trade and the creation of interlocked
  systems of economic and cultural exchange. This circulation and
  its possible relationships with economic and culture [sic] patterns
  of globalization raise fundamental questions about the models upon
  which these activities are founded and status of the information
  once it has been presented in new cultural locations. Are artists
  now engaged in a new professionalized from of artistic tourism and
  amateur ethnography?  And what is the relationship between tourism,
  information gathering and reception, and the exotic in contemporary
  art?

According to the announcement, the exhibition was modeled on Joseph Conrad's 1899 novella Heart of Darkness. The novella provided an "eccentric frame or historical reference" for the exhibition's presentation of unknown places, opaque languages, and singular encounters. Included among these is a series of e-flux news bulletins, a nineteenth-century photograph of an eighteenth-century photograph of a Chinese Lingchi execution. The statement itself is attributed to Tomas, the gallery logo is presented, and below another perforated line the e-flux logo is displayed again with the suggestion to follow e-flux through Facebook or Twitter. In the following, I provide a brief account of one of the most eccentric and challenging exhibitions ever shown in Montreal. The exhibition mobilizes the theories and motifs of Tomas's work both as a visual artist term he avoids and as an anthropologist who specializes in the study of media histories as spaces of intercultural contact. It updates and refines his performed installations from the early 1980s in light of recent sociopolitical developments, and explores how artists call adopt a critical stance in relation to the art world and produce meaning from a socio-anthropological viewpoint. This "monumental" exhibition can also be approached in terms of what Tomas has defined as "post-photographic" practice. Insular as his work is described in exact detail in his writings, it is for the most part accessible to anyone interested. Yet, due to its complexity and unusual form--both as writing and as installation work--it tends to go unnoticed. This essay concerning "Live rightly, die, die ..." will therefore outline the terms of post-photography, present select aspects of Tomas's elaboration of his exhibition and its association with a global artistic-touristic complex, provide an account of my encounter with the exhibition and its documents, and conclude with a suggestion of how this e-flux announcement details the features of a contemporary neocolonialist subject. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

An Abnormal Tourist Itinerary: David Tomas's "Live Rightly, Die, Die ..."
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.