|dc.description.abstract||The term 'Spice Islands' has been used as a descriptor in m. The thesis begins with a chapter on my exhibition titled Islands of the Imagination. It describes the form the exhibition took, and how the various elements were developed and finalised. One of the most significant components was the canvases which reworked various signs of the Spice Islands. These canvases continued my interest in popular culture and deployed a variety of codes in order to find new ways of discussing the Spice Islands. Other significant elements included artefacts such as spices, Birds of Paradise and coins from my visit to the Moluccas. There were projected photographs taken by myself in the Moluccas, and also I showed many slides made by myself from publications that inspired the idea of the thesis itself. Some of my key photographs for the exhibition are included in an appended CD. any precolonial, colonial and postcolonial contexts. This thesis has charted some of the reasons why this is so, and the images which have been mobilised when the term is used. In the analysis of the images, and the production of my exhibition in 1999, the methodologies used derive primarily from Cultural Studies approaches. Part One, 'From Mythological Islands to the Moluccas,' describes some of the many and varied ways in which these islands were encountered over the last 500 years, and in doing so provides historical contexts for the images in my exhibition. The Spice Islands were initially mythological islands in the Western imagination from which came the most valuable of all spices: nutmeg, mace and cloves. It was these spices that fuelled the desires of European society and led to epic sea voyages. The Spice Islands remained less than real in both written descriptions and maps as the Portuguese entered uncharted waters, and there were many ideas in circulation about where the Spice Islands, or Moluccas, were to be found. The chroniclers of Magellan's voyage brought back to Europe the first evidence of the existence of the Spice Islands in illustrative and descriptive forms. In the 16th century, this pioneering journey was viewed as more significant for its discovery of the Spice Islands than for the circumnavigation of the world - the event for which it is now best known.
Over time, the Dutch were to replace the Iberians as the colonisers of this area, and Dutch representations of the Spice Islands came into broader circulation in Europe. The images that were generated specifically from the Moluccas during the early years of the Dutch East India Company's presence in the islands were far removed from the Golden Age of Dutch art. This is manifested in the subjects that were illustrated, and also the techniques used to illustrate them. The crudeness of these images parallels the perception of these lands as being as far away from Holland as anyone imagined it was possible to travel. The Spice Islands were something other than civilised. In the 18th century, the Spice Islands became known in a much more specific, quantifiable way. They became a site from which investigations took place into the various forms of exotic flora and fauna. This was to be a significant departure from the early representations of erupting volcanoes and warships that appeared in many colonial publications. By the 1790s, French and British plantations were sprouting far away from the Dutch Spice Islands. There were now British and French Spice Islands in different parts of the globe. The term 'Spice Islands' itself was developing its own worth, and becoming as valuable as the spices themselves. By the 19th century, there were the original Spice Islands from which the term is derived but also other islands growing spices in diverse locations that could - and still do - claim legitimacy for the title 'Spice Islands'. In turn, the words 'Spice Islands' grew into a franchise/identity/logo, with other islands and commodities using the term in a transnational, transglobal capacity. Part Two, 'The Spice Islands as a Fractured Sign', suggests ways in which we might envisage an account of the Spice Islands as signs in a semiotic landscape of various media, including newspapers, magazines, websites and museums. This methodology also helps the understanding of my exhibition and the form that it took. It suggests that Spice Islands had become commodities in a somewhat different sense as they emerged as part of the tourist industry. The 'Spice Islands' existed wherever tour operators wanted them to. In popular culture, the Spice Islands could be imagined (with the aid of commercial tourism enterprises) as existing almost anywhere that was warm, a long way from Europe, and part of a trade that was associated with the colonial era. The thesis concludes with images derived from the Maluku wars that started in 1999, soon after my return from the Indonesian Spice Islands. Media reports on the wars provided yet more representations which connected the Spice Islands to the Moluccas once again. The conclusion suggests that to research images of Spice Islands is also to research the background to the fear of terrorism, the representations of Indonesia, religious wars and a wide range of political concerns that affect us today.||en_US