As I continue into my research of understanding the word ‘exoticism’ I found an extract of a book through google scholar that can be useful to put into my bibliography research. A book by Victor Segalen (2002) ‘Essay on Exoticism: An Aesthetic of Diversity’ gave an insightful point of view on how he sees ‘exoticism’. Some key points that I find useful from this book:
- Exoticism does not only exist in space, but equally in time.
- Remove all banal from its sensation (coconut trees, camels) and extend the notion of exoticism to include the other sex, history, everything.
- It is not merely ways of experiencing the orient, or erotic but a philosophical stance on the nature of self relationship to the world.
Segalen wanted to prove that exoticism is not all about the things that you see in tourism advertisement or brochures and how people stereotypically perceive what ‘exoticism’ all about. He wanted to see how exoticism could create diversity and to appreciate the difference between each other. But in order to create that, one should be aware of the difference between him/herself and ‘the other’. We are able to find a certain ‘uniqueness’ in our own culture but if we wanted to expand more understanding in diversity, we can travel to a place that is totally uncommon to us. Get a notion of exoticism in the surroundings; the culture, the people, the art, etc. We can also track back our own roots, to discover back the difference between our own culture to the others. With that, diversity could be created by understanding and recognising individual differences.
Then, strip away the word exoticism of its exclusively tropical, exclusively geographic meaning. Exoticism does not only exist in space, but equally dependent on time. (Segalen, 2002, p. 18)
Another interesting point that I found through a blog called The Lectern:
Exoticism and Diversity are ways to counteract the growing influence of modernity: market capitalism, mass tourism, feminism, democracy, which impose their own homogeneity on everything, what Segalen calls the Kingdom of the Lukewarm, the beige paste of entropy, a viscous mush. The world tends inexorably towards maximum entropy. An aesthetics of Diversity is one way to counteract this movement. An aesthetics of Diversity will allow a sense of distance, a sense of mystery to remain in a more and more uniforming world.
Exoticism and Diversity represent the force of individuality in a world contaminated by the herd. The difference between the tourist and the traveller.
It is important for future generations to recognise and know their roots, to see the difference between themselves with the other and of course, to also preserve their culture. As a person who comes from the indigenous category, the uniqueness in my own tribe is like a hidden gem, something very aesthetic that I hope can be appreciated for many years to come.
Segalen, Victor (2002) ‘Essay on Exoticism: An Aesthetic of Diversity’
Available at: http://books.google.com.my/booksid=mGDOzzb8eGoC&printsec=frontcover&dq=essay
(accessed on 19 October 2014)
The Lectern Blog: http://thelectern.blogspot.com/2012/10/essay-on-exoticism-aesthetics-of.html
(visited on 19 October 2014)