n Communicatio : South African Journal of Communication Theory and Research - The odds on casino paintings : research article




This article considers the role of decorative paintings in two South African casinos, namely Carnival City and Caesars Gauteng. It suggests that entertainment landscapes such as casinos are subject to subtle and elaborate mechanisms whereby the creation of seductive milieus reinforces the myth of leisure and paradigms of hedonistic consumption. The use of strategies such as themeing is examined in order to propose that entertainment is increasingly predicated on the imperative of creating exotic, fantastic, escapist or extraordinary experiences - but at a price. The contentious issue of the need for a more authentic so-called African identity in casino developments is also broached. The authors point out that within the postmodern cultural hypermarket of unlimited choices, eclecticism and pastiche, cultures and histories have the potential to be reduced to themes and stereotypes, and can be endlessly re-duplicated in simulacral fantasy landscapes. This production of escapist consumer spaces is important, because the social role of casinos in South Africa has undergone radical changes during the last few years - far from being places of adult entertainment, they now embrace diverse forms of leisure activities for families.


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