Power and helplessness of Medusa: alternative city guides as the realization of a new utopia
The emergence and popularity of various projects of alternative guides is an expression of the spread of alternative tourism practices, which thrive in opposition to the popular model of romantic tourism used in mass culture. Its modern variety is no longer focused on creating images of cultural landscapes, but only on their reproduction, which leads to their stereotypization and simplification. An alternative, as can be seen in Ukrainian guides, is the return to creating alternative images of the cities. As a result, a tourist transforms from a passive consumer of trivial images and values into a co-author of his own journey, and also actively participates in the reinterpretation of a cultural landscape. During this creative search one discovers that on which the monumentalizing view of Medusa stops — the everyday city life. Its instability and fl uidity, marginality and absence from the official cultural current is a fertile soil on which a new utopia grows — a vision of an “authentic” city, which appreciates not the artificial and used up forms, stiff relationships, unambiguous and established values, but the insignificant forms, constantly appearing and disappearing, referring to living relationships, the ambiguous play on meanings. Close to the so interpreted urban landscape appear to be both examples of contemporary urban “design folk” as well as the alternative artistic practices oriented at the opposition to the state policy of cultural institutions.