Opening the memory boxes: magically hyperreal authenticity, tourism and the Haida People

Book chapter


Lovell, J. 2019. Opening the memory boxes: magically hyperreal authenticity, tourism and the Haida People. in: Lovell, J. and Hitchmough, S. (ed.) Authenticity in North America Place, Tourism, Heritage, Culture and the Popular Imagination London Routledge. pp. 96-111
AuthorsLovell, J.
EditorsLovell, J. and Hitchmough, S.
Abstract

This chapter takes the authentication of places into the realm of the imagination and magical. The study explores how imaginary geographies of ‘magically real’ authenticity of Haida culture and the liminal landscape of the Haida Gwaii archipelago have emerged over time. Myths concern the origins of a people, often intertwined with a supernatural element and their key characteristic is that they are continuously adapted. The article makes an original contribution to research into authenticity by examining a further adaptation of the myth; the Super, Natural branding of British Columbia, which forms a folkloric, otherworldly multi-layered simulacrum for tourism consumption. The brand draws on inherently “magical” vernacular attributes such as the peripheral location, the relationship of the community to land and animals, the immanence of the atmospheric natural setting, ghost towns and ruins and material cultural objects. The narrative of magical reality blends the symbolic with the intangible cultural heritage formed from memories of the horrific devastation of a people through smallpox, and evidence of their cultural resilience. Simultaneously, images of Haida art are reproduced and circulated online, creating a debate about dispossession, appropriation, the meaning of authenticity and decolonialism in the age of digitisation and “magical hyperreality”. The paper suggests that there is still an underlying colonial strategic emphasis on the old world as a commodity of the new; however, a strategic emphasis on “living culture”, meaningful interpretative encounters, heritage stewardship and performances to visitors to Haida Gwaii shifts the power balance.

KeywordsAuthenticity; Tourism; Heritage; Haida; Supernatural; Magical realism
Page range96-111
Year2019
Book titleAuthenticity in North America Place, Tourism, Heritage, Culture and the Popular Imagination
PublisherRoutledge
Output statusPublished
Place of publicationLondon
SeriesContemporary Geographies of Leisure, Tourism and Mobility
ISBN 9781138341319
Publication dates
Print02 Dec 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited06 Jan 2020
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