#… , 2016
#… playfully explores the imaginative possibility and utopian potential of tourism as a space of open encounters. Seeking to activate public imaginations, the work consists of a series of graphic motifs from internet culture (the ‘sharing’ hashtag, #) and punctuation (the ellipsis, …), which are applied to surfaces including flags, postcards and merchandising. Looking beyond the norm of extractive tourism, whereby visitors consume a site visually and materially, #… is a proposal for tourists and people of a visited place to stand together in solidarity.
Recasting the tourist as an advocate and broadcaster, the work asserts that tourism can be a mutually enriching form of collaboration. Partly, the work draws from the use of the graphic symbols of the headscarf used by the ‘Madres de Plaza de Mayo’, the women who protested in the 1970s and ’80s against the military junta’s brutal practice of ‘disappearing’ dissenters. Today, the women continue their protest, circling the Plaza de Mayo every Thursday, and are watched on by large groups of tourists. Graphic and non-language specific, Eldret’s #… motif is imagined to infiltrate tourism culture and be interpreted in diverse ways. It is hoped that the images, objects and attitudes that it imprints upon will travel globally, mirroring the movement of the modern-day traveller.
Following on from her time with Urra in Buenos Aires, Eldret spent time in the Chubut area of Patagonia working on And Over to You… a research project that investigates the ways in which people perform and perpetuate collective identities, with a focus on Welsh-Argentinian mythologies and histories.