Supported by Travel Grant - Cultural Export Fund

The project examines the transformation of a traditional object, the Azulejos, into a consumer object in terms of imagery, neomateriality and value creation within the tourism industry. Amid questions of tourism and gentrification, the project explores the transformation of Azulejos from hand made craft object to an image of itself. Superimposed onto multiple surfaces using the digital reproduction process, the image gains magical power to elevate the value of the object it has been inscribed over.

This value varies with the reproduction quality. A high-quality image would produce the illusion of handmade traditionalism, that the object is not of industrial origin. Inversely, towards the low-quality spectrum, the digital and industrial processes of mass production are clearly recognizable, rendering the souvenirs less likely to be consumed.

The neomateriality of the consumer object is one of the main points of interest in this project. Christine Paul defines neomateriality as an “embeddedness of the digital in the objects, images, and structures we encounter on a daily basis and the way we understand ourselves in relation to them.” Neomateriality expresses itself within the contemporary culture in the form of objects that, as part of their form, reveal their own coded materiality, where that codification becomes a residue of digital processes.

On the 19th September Letta Shtohryn gave an artist talk about her practice and the project she was working on in Lisbon - researching imagery, fake heritage objects and neomateriality of cheap souvenirs.

Photos by Marie Claire Gatt and Letta Shtohryn.