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Hyperreal Light Simulacra

Authenticity & Tourism

ISBN: 978-1-78754-817-6, eISBN: 978-1-78754-816-9

Publication date: 14 September 2018


This chapter explores the multiple levels of authenticity involved in son et lumière and projection mapping. Light shows are increasingly staged at historic sites, using monumental buildings as canvases. The use of light allows the buildings to communicate, giving them a performative, additional dimension, generating multiplicity, where the same architectural structure or place is encountered simultaneously in both its light and physical forms. The effect is hyperreal, transforming buildings into simulacra, versions of distorted reality, where no original exists. As the building appears to move, the mind simultaneously informs the viewer that it is static, evoking a co-created tourist experience. Light shows, arguably staged by “imagineers”, reflect the increasing move toward the spectacle essential for creative and experience economies.



Lovell, J. (2018), "Hyperreal Light Simulacra", Authenticity & Tourism (Tourism Social Science Series, Vol. 24), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 181-197.



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