Club Paradise: don’t be a tourist, explores vacation culture, capitalism and the future of human consciousness 2017-2019.

On a perfect Memorial Day weekend, a sunny, hot, but not yet sweaty temperature marks the start of summer on the East Coast of the United States. Boats and kayaks float down the highways. As the season begins, future pleasures and past memories flirt in the hearts of vacationers.

Club Paradise is set on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, a glacier-carved, peninsula paradise. Wampanoag peoples roamed the Cape 10,000 years before Europeans arrived. Thousands of archaeological sites have been discovered, indicating that what Thoreau wrote was true. That the Cape was densely populated by tribes who migrated around the Cape for the seasonal summer powwow, for the hunting and fishing. 

The vacation migration that swells the populations of Cape Cod and Islands is compared to early nomadic tribes led by their shaman on the tracks of game. Only now the game pursued is a state of mind, a workers’ consciousness, tolerant of capitalist slavery.

The projects of Club Paradise consider the deeper meaning of contemporary time off. They examine the selling of nostalgia, the marketing of adventure absent in workers controlled lives, colonization of vacation areas, worker migration, and the use of memory and consciousness to control workers’ minds. Vacation culture is viewed as a means of dividing the empires’ peoples, hastening environmental damage, the extinction of species, the growth of refugees, migrants, and terrorism.

A round-trip ticket flight from New York to London robs the Arctic of three square meters of ice. Vacation demands fossil fuel, traffic, horrendous service problems and abuses that destroy environment. Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries surpassing that of oil exports, food products or automobiles. On the Cape leisure is big business.

Nomadic shamanic consciousness is proposed in this precarious moment in planet history. It is necessary to create paradise at home. To conserve resources, cultivate austerity. A mindfulness of the interconnectedness of all beings is crucial. We must hold the idea of anima mundi as our relationship to the world and deep awareness of our connection to nature.

“Therefore, we may consequently state that: this world is indeed a living being endowed with a soul and intelligence … a single visible living entity containing all other living entities, which by their nature are all related.” Plato

Club Paradise in collaboration with Jeff Crouch. I am grateful to the sites showing this work so their links are included.


Club Paradise 02:11 An advertisement for a fictional resort suggests memory and nostalgia are used by corporate interests in the vacation industry to produce a workers’ consciousness tolerant of capitalist slavery. With Blaine Reininger music, Fly Me To The Moon. Destany Foley.

Last Exit 00:47 Poetry dialogue with screen grabs from the bleak, noir, 1945 Club Paradise. Beginning and ending with gunshot murder, this Club Paradise was released the same year the US bombed Hiroshima. Last Exit becomes a romantic vacation advertisement that comments on perception, storytelling and propaganda. With Jeff Crouch music, Oyster Bar.

Welcome 03:14 The Cape island trader, Trip Barnes, narrates the video. He discusses the seasonal economy of his island and describes the armies of imported workers needed to service vacationers for three months every year, the effects on the environment, community, housing problems (his personal solution), and the politics in his personal life. Photography, video, Martha’s Vineyard.

Cabo Peligro 06:54 Surrounded by a burning world at war with itself, only vacation sites are conflict free. Here we encounter an on-call AI mixologist crafting custom memory enhancing drinks for vacationing workers. Rafael Gonzalez music and photographs. Destany Foley.

Tears In The Night 01:34 Club Paradise is always here, a video poem ad for Club Paradise. With Jeff Crouch music, Raining, and image, Digital Beach.

Moon On Fire Meditation 00:37 Super Blood Wolf Moon eclipse January 2019. With Jeff Crouch music, Burnbuildburn, and digital images. 

Race The Sun Meditation 00:52  With Jeff Crouch music, Early Water.

Club Paradise: desire, vacation, redemption, 2 films, 40 years, graphic essay, in print

BLUE SOUVENIR: memory and wampum, vacation and consciousness, cyanotype prints and two drawings.

Blue Souvenir prints are cyanotypes made with sunlight. The photographic process, originally called a ‘blueprint,’ was used by builders for drawing plans. The group includes two drawings of wampum shells with their distinctive purple edge.

A souvenir is a memory aide that reminds you of a wonderful experience. In Blue Souvenir, a series of designs remind you that the vacation industry has a blueprint for your consciousness.

Remember when you were on vacation? You didn’t have to do anything. You were probably able to attain a high state of relaxation, to alter your consciousness. Maybe you swam in the sea, surfed, skied, did yoga, or hiked or bicycled the coast. You were able to produce wonderful memories of experiences to consume later.

You might spend a lot of time remembering a pleasurable vacation. Nostalgia, memory and consciousness are embedded in vacation. And an altered consciousness is a sign of a successful vacation. When you enjoy a memory, you want to produce more. You become a producer and consumer of memory, and, you are a product of memory.

Brand marks and logos are memory aides. Maybe the symbols of brands give you as much pleasure as the product. If so, perhaps you’ll do a Google search for more of a brand’s products online, thus generating more revenue for Google through your unpaid work in memory and desire.

Cape Cod is a vacation destination ringed with ivory sand beaches covered in purple-edged quahog clam shells. Wampanoag carved the shells into ‘wampum beads.’ They wove the beads in designs that are records of complicated lineages of tribes, pacts and gatherings in the paradise peninsula 7,000 years before Europeans arrived. One design documents a more recent land arrangement with settlers:

‘As long as the Sun shines upon this Earth, that is how long OUR Agreement will stand; Second, as long as the Water still flows; and Third, as long as the Grass Grows Green at a certain time of the year. Now we have Symbolized this Agreement and it shall be binding forever as long as Mother Earth is still in motion.’

It is interesting to note, if scientists proceed with a plan of blocking sunlight to prevent global warming or cloud cover is completely lost, and if water dries up and is poisoned with the soil by fracking, pesticides, oil spills, toxic chemicals, Monsanto and jet plane pollution, plastic waste and sunblock, only a dead earth is left spinning. Then this agreement might very well be null and void.

‘Wampum’ did become a word for money. European explorers and settlers used wampum beads along with coin as currency. Later settlers mass produced the beads, flooding the market with predictable results. 

‘My family arrived on the Mayflower,’  describes someone’s ancestors’ migration on the Mayflower ship from England to Cape Cod. Thus the Mayflower captain’s log is a peculiarly American memory aide of lineage. in print,

POSTCARDS: Mail Art Collaboration

SENT is an experimental mail art project with Jeff Crouch. The postcard messages are a secret story without beginning or end. Is a card lost in the mail? Who is writing to whom? What are the motives of writer and recipient? The writing on the back of the cards suggest a narrative different from the usual holiday tourist seeking memories to consume later. Influenced by Derrida’s Postcard, the cards are a secret that serves a purpose we can never know.

In POSTED, Rafael Gonzalez, in Tenerife, Spain, returned seven postcards I sent to him from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA. By chance, a friend gave me an old Cape Verde government public relations cd containing hundreds of photographs of the island. I selected seven photographs to print as postcards. Rafael altered the photograph on the card. On the address side, Rafael stamped it and described his vacation. Or has he? We can not know if his written words are truth, memory, or dream.
The cards hold memories of the printer, two Atlantic trips, my hand, Rafael’s marks, and his story on the paper that was a tree with more memories. The cards have become souvenirs, a memory aide of an experience that may or may not have occurred.
Rafael’s notes are a revealing message. They tell a story that can be compared to the work of dreams. But what is the card trying to tell you?
The cards are trademarked with wings, the messengers wings, maybe even angels’ wings, because angels bear secrets. Yet even if the words are not true, or memories, or a dream, they are a secret message intended for you. Delivered to you from Rafael Gonzalez and Club Paradise.

Biennale Internazionale Mail Art 2020, mail art with Rafael Gonzalez and Jeff Crouch 

TROUBLE IN CLUB PARADISE: Death, drugs, drunkeness, disaster… notorious vacations from literature, news and film reimagined in polaroid, Cape Cod. Complete series @UnlikelyStories

Our memories are the only paradise from which we can never be expelled. John Paul Richter. Still, Moon on Fire Meditation. Blood Moon, Lake Wequaquet, Centerville, Massachusetts