Where do I take people when they come to town?
Definitely the Signature Room for the views and drinks. (If you’re going to pay to go up the Hancock Building, at least have a drink.) Maybe the Violet Hour. The only problem is when people come to town and don’t drink… I’m going to have to figure something out.
The Bean and those huge fountain things with the changing photos make me cringe, but they seem so typically American in that BIGGER IS BETTER GO AMERICA!
I think the Bean is popular because as tourists we like to take pictures of ourselves being different versions of ourselves. Where we are determines which self we are. The action of taking a photograph warps our image/behavior and for psychological reasons changes our perspective. Who said the act of observing changes the action? The Bean more literally changes our image than a photograph does.
I see so many people in the bar where I work taking pictures of themselves pretending to have fun, and I know these pictures will be posted on Facebook or their blogs the next day.
But I can read body language and see stilted conversations. Is the point of the picture taking to convince themselves that they are having fun in that moment? Or are they trying to convince the other people there that they’re having a good time even though no one’s drunk enough to relax?
Or are they trying to change the current moment by faking a good time (convincing themselves by trying really hard,) or convince other people around them or their friends?
Or are they trying to collect a bunch of totems to brandish on Facebook to make them look like they’re always having a good time and therefore a fun person and therefore likable? Maybe with these phot-ems, they can look back at that night and believe that they actually did have fun that night (because there is photographic evidence of the event!), or are they trying to make other online people believe they had a good time?
And as tourists, are photos a totem also? Our feet hurt, we really had to go to the bathroom, we were hungry and the person we were with was getting on our last nerve, but we’ve managed to smile next to the Bean and upload the photo to the permanence of our Facebook page. The photo will be on the Facebook page longer than the 15 minutes we stood next to the Bean, so it’s more real.
But what else is the point of getting together with other people than to share an experience? Photos help us tailor our remembrances of events and of course we want to have enjoyable experiences. Photos, art, music all should elicit emotional responses. Playing in a band, making art in a group, making stupid faces in a photograph with friends bonds us together.
As Oscar Wilde wrote in ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’: “I always bring my diary on the train with me- one must always have something interesting to read.”