An experiment in both form and content, the essay lightly adopts an Australian storytelling style to perform its material as it narrates a road trip across central Australia. Arriving at the Daly Waters Pub in the Northern Territory, the travellers are taken by surprise by the strange décor. It is a place made significant by the multiple ‘authorships’ of hundreds of tourists. Visitors have left not only ID cards, pictures, and signatures, but also flags, number plates, thongs, caps, and bras. We analyse these traces left by travellers as objects of exchange that signify people's desire to mark a place and use this phenomenon to introduce the idea of a complementary concept to that of the ‘souvenir’, and which we call ‘survenir’. The palimpsest effect of these survenirs (since none is erased) introduces time by accretion, rather than by chronology. The sociality generated through ‘survenirs’ is not just among humans but among all sorts of things, concepts and affects that assemble to create Daly Waters Pub as a tourist destination made not for, but by, its visitors. It is a materially interactive site composed by them.
- Daly Waters Pub
- material interactivity