Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/219856
Title: FISSURES IN THE MODERN PLANNED CITY THROUGH THE LENSES OF DIRTY REALISM : THE CASE OF SPATIALIZATION OF SEX IN THE CITY
Authors: YEO SIEW LING, MELANNIE
Keywords: Design Track
Wong Yunn Chii
Prostitution
Red-light districts
Architecture
Issue Date: 22-Feb-2010
Citation: YEO SIEW LING, MELANNIE (2010-02-22T07:45:08Z). FISSURES IN THE MODERN PLANNED CITY THROUGH THE LENSES OF DIRTY REALISM : THE CASE OF SPATIALIZATION OF SEX IN THE CITY. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Nations forge and manage their identities through various mechanisms of self-representation. As such, Singapore’s squeaky clean image is variously received and characterized as ‘prim and proper’, ‘strait-laced’ and, in unflattering cases, even ‘sterile’. This is as much a product of the ideology of modernity and urban planning where cleanliness and functionalism are perceived as valued qualities. However, the “reality” presented is far from what is often ideologically prescribed in the image. The spaces and activities for sex trade, for example, thrive in the cracks and recesses of the seemingly, carefully planned. This dissertation is neither directly about prostitution nor sexual pathologies and perversions. Rather, it examines the ecosystem of such activities and spaces in the red-light areas. Through the lenses of ‘dirty realism’, the work offers an understanding of these shunned and insalubrious aspects of Singapore’s urban life. This is the case of the everyday, expressed through transgressions and instrumental appropriation of spaces. Beyond the physical manifestation of representations of these activities, this work also examines the social and phenomenological facet of ‘dirty realism’ in specialized settings where staging of sex occurs. In particular, it examines the behavioural patterns of the users and usability of these niches under the rubric of an urban choreography and drama – invitation, staging, prescription of roles, reception and transaction. It is argued as an antithesis, that contrary to the portrayal of sex activities in chaos and spontaneity, the activities of the sex trade are systematic and can be mapped in different typologies across urban spaces and class affiliations: from the conservative to the modern, from the low to the high-class. These niches are not indeterminate and impulsive. While contained and segregated from the public viewing cone, they are self-regulated within rigid sub-zones that exist to facilitate the structure and speed of transactions. These settings influence people to behave and conduct themselves in particular manners under different forces of control, like casts playing out their specific roles on stage. In total, five red-light areas in Singapore were identified, studied and presented as case studies with the intention to generate a better or perhaps a new perspective in understanding the ecosystems in these self-regulated sex niches.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/219856
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