Suffocated by Capitalism

Ruth Mueller
Harvey Mudd ‘23

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Medium: Digital Imaging

The piece offers examples of some locations which have been affected by imperialist tourism—specifically Cuba, Puerto Rico, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica—accompanied by a turtle being restricted by pollutants, on a sea of tourist memorabilia and with infestations of resort and commercial infrastructure encroaching on their shores. This represents how tourism destinations are often seen as 'remote' or 'exotic' which forces the economy to be dependent on tourism.  The shirts on the back have few references to the locations shown in the foreground, dissociating a tourist's experience from the location of travel.  The dollar and euro hover over the piece, representing the financial control tourism holds over local governments, and the rebuilt conquistador ships show how tourism is an adaptation of historical imperialism rather than an independently emerging form.