2009-2010. Iñaki Larrimbe. UNOFFICIAL TOURISM (theoretical data)


Tourism, that great industry, has democratized – and trivialized- experiences. And cultural tourism doesn’t elude this perversion: the administration of culture as a way to create consumer habits in today’s citizens is imposing. This is an already unstoppable phenomenon. Paraphrasing Begout’s words on Las Vegas: “it’s a matter of following one rule: suggest experiences to tourists and visitors”. And in this way local programs on culture strip themselves of content in trying to attract visitors that may generate economic profit for the cities. In such a situation citizens become extras of the film: culture is not an end in itself, but just another economic resource. In the same way as “beach and sun” tourism has destroyed many natural settings, the new cultural tourism damages local cultural ecosystems. The paradox is that this new landscape is motivated and stimulated by the Culture departments of our public institutions.

The “Unoficcial tourism” project intends to embed itself, through the economy of means, the “do it yourself” philosophy, inside the mechanisms created by the cultural industries. But “Unoficcial tourism” doesn’t intend to criticize. The idea is to be part of such reality from a nihilistic point of view, because “Unoficcial tourism” is designed to serve foreign cultural consumers. It tries to respond to the demand of cultural entertainment which, as we have said, new cultural policies (based on a socioeconomic criterion) have created.

The fact that political management of culture has accepted the “public realm” of the cultural experience as just another “resource”, against, not only other ways of perceiving culture – were it considered a value, a lifestyle or a way to interpret difference-, but believing that beyond media attention it has no value, has been an influence in the development of this project. Also, and paradoxically, if we agree with Castell, “the transformation of capitalism, the continuous weakening of the State’s influence, together with social changes originated in the development of new technologies” establishes a whole institutional context where the economic and moral resources of what we call “non profit” is used as a way to legitimize social development, job creation, cultural tourism, etc. The full acceptance of these facts has produced a series of alterations in the art system that must be treated with criticism. A criticism that, by its own logic, private and public cultural institutions (which follow such socioeconomic approach) do not subscribe to.


The idea is to customize a caravan, turning it into a “non official” tourist office to be located in the streets of Madrid and thus be able to meet the foreign cultural tourist’s needs. We choose a caravan as formal device due to its attainability: it is economic and easy to transform.

Itinerary creators
It is necessary to count on different people related in some way to the city of Madrid to elaborate some maps or street plans, showing strange, curious or personal tourist itineraries…

Already created itineraries
A series of artists (Leo Bassi, for example) have developed in some occasions alternative tourist itineraries of Madrid. It would be interesting to study their history, visualize them in maps and integrate them into our project to offer them to foreign cultural consumers.

Tour guide
We will need a guide to help and inform tourists.

Graphic designer
Necessary to design all the graphic material (maps, brochures,…) and to customize the caravan.