The Artificial Kingdom: A Treasury Of The Kitsch Experience. Rather than engaging the tired stances that see kitsch as either bad taste or a bad copy of «true art», this book presents it as a cultural sensibility of loss, tracing its origins as a massive phenomenon to the nineteenth century. Presenting kitsch as the ambivalent «cristallization» of the lost experience of pre-industrial life, TAK explores this sensibility through the objects and narratives that it produced, in particular those related to the popular underwater imagery of the time: aquariums, paperweights, the myth of Atlantis and Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
The Artificial Kingdom was published by Pantheon Books in 1998 and reprinted by Bloomsbury Press in 1999 and University of Minnesota Press in 2002 (paperback). It just appeared in French as Royaume de l’artifice (Fage Editions, 2008) and in Spanish El reino artificial (Gustavo Gili Editores, 2008).