Topic: Holy Land
Shown at the 1873 Vienna world's fair.
Perhaps no other site in the Western world has engendered as extensive and varied a tourist culture as the place variously named Judea, Jerusalem, the Holy Land, Palestine, or the State of Israel. These tourist practices include both actual travel to the lands associated with the Bible and the modeling of the Holy Land, both there and elsewhere, in a variety of media. Both travel to the Holy Land the modeling of the Holy Land have long histories.
Since the mid-nineteenth century, vicarious travel to this part of the world by members of Christian (primarily Protestant) and Jewish communities has taken place through an ever-widening variety of media, including travel literature, fiction, illustrated albums, photographs, stereopticons, slide shows, scale models, museum displays, worlds fair expositions, and more recently films, broadcasts, videos, and websites. This material is well suited to comparative, historical, and interdenominational approaches to the media aspect of Holy Land tourism.
Consider, for example, how the following three projects use different kinds of media to offer vicarious encounters with the Holy Land from the perspective of contrasting religious and political perspectives:
The Holy Land Experience
A “Living, Biblical History Museum," this evangelical Christian theme park near Orlando, Florida, was conceived by Marvin J. Rosenthal, a convert to Christianity and executive director of Zion's Hope, especially to encourage Jews to convert to Christianity through multi-media displays, environments, reenactments, films, models, souvenirs, projections, and a 'Scriptorium' of original manuscripts and books.
Holy Land Virtual Model Tour (360 degree panorama from middle of the model, located at the Holy Land Hotel in Jerusalem)
Aish HaTorah’s Window on the Wall (Western Wall webcam)
The Jerusalem Exhibit, St. Louis World’s Fair, 1904 (a very nice 9-image slide show)
"Framing Jerusalem," Jerusalem Quarterly File 6 (1999).
How does each of these mediations configure the site? How does each mediation define the geographic, temporal, demographic, and other boundaries?
What is the range of media deployed in each example, and how do they interrelate?
What is the presumed audience for each site? How is this conveyed, even implicitly, by its mediation?
What is the nature of the encounter with the Holy Land facilitated by each mediation? How do the different types of mediation (theme park, website, scale model, etc.) inform the encounter? How do they limit it?
How does each site communicate what is sacred about the location? How does it use its particular media to convey this?