“Landscapes as photography, women as sexual scenario.” (Jean Baudrillard)
The Strip in Las Vegas projects a sharp marketing image and brands itself as the epitome of entertainment, fun and excess. It is a place built upon the idea of no limitations, and infinite recreation opportunities where nothing is real; it is a world of “make-believe.”
I am interested in a different reading of Las Vegas. Making an analogy with a colour photographic film, the Strip can be read as the positive image— the image of an idealized perfection projected by heavy marketing. The suburbs beyond the Strip is where ordinary life happens. It is “off-Strip”, tourists rarely go there. Much of the surrounding area appears overlooked, ignored, and forgotten. We can make a reading of the surrounding area as the negative of a photographic film —
the antithesis of the high-resolution and glamorous image.
Contained within the adjacent and surrounding areas of the Strip are numerous strip clubs, pawnshops, tattoo parlours, and gun shops. These businesses interweave the area of warehouses and logistic centres, bisected by interstate freeways and the railway line. The strip clubs are part of the urban landscape and part of the refracted image of Las Vegas, where “women are the sexual scenario.” (Jean Baudrillard in ‘America’).
In order to discover the Las Vegas that is very different from the Strip, my interest is the artistic exploration of the peri-urban, post-industrial, sometimes empty and overlooked urban areas. The spotlight, for now, is not on the tourist-jammed city, but on these abandoned urban spaces around the Strip, which I call metaphorically “reverse spaces.”