Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/220473
Title: QUESTIONING OF MEMORY � OBJECT RELATIONSHIP IN URBAN BUILT ENVIRONMENT : OF INDIVIDUAL, OF NATION STATE AND THE WORLD
Authors: PEU SOO YONG
Keywords: Architecture
Design Track
Tsuto Sakamoto
2010/2011 DT
Involuntary memory
Memory
Object
Objectification
Provocation
Issue Date: 7-Jan-2011
Citation: PEU SOO YONG (2011-01-07). QUESTIONING OF MEMORY � OBJECT RELATIONSHIP IN URBAN BUILT ENVIRONMENT : OF INDIVIDUAL, OF NATION STATE AND THE WORLD. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Drawing inspiration from ‘City of Small Blessings’, a fiction by Simon Tay which highlights the struggles, negotiations and resistance of Singapore populace against their state-controlled built environment, of an old man between safe-keeping his rented house and the memory of his old house, this dissertation seeks to explore and question the relationship between memory and object in the urban context with personal memory as a crucial point of discussion. The relationship is further studied at collective level of its interaction with individual memory recollection in order to understand the memory tug-of-war which takes place within individuals amidst the flux of multilayered memories. In the fiction, ‘City of Small Blessings’, memory recurrence is traced to discover the elements and factors contributing to the ever-flowing memories of the past to the main character. This study is further analyzed with reference to Proustian memory, involuntary memory as coined by Marcel Proust in his semi autobiographical novel, À la recherche du temps perdu. It suggests the primacy of involuntary memory against voluntary memory and the non-reliance of memory provocation to the ‘object of memory’. Memory – object relationship at collective level is examined through the working principles and execution of Singapore’s ‘memory institutions’ under their claim as caretaker of national memory. Singapore conservation demonstrates institutional act of memory objectification which reduces its citizens’ differentiated memories to singular and definitive collective memory. Museum exhibitions are discussed to show the shortcomings of ‘memory personalization’ done through specific representation of the past. The symptoms of memory objectification are demonstrated in the case of the old national library demolition. The collective are being falsified by the perception of mere dependency on the library building as an object to persistence of memory whereas individuals’ specific recollections of their moment in the library prove otherwise. Singapore’s desire to enlist Tiong Bahru SIT flats as World Heritage Site (WHS) brought forward the study of the principles and guidelines set by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Its execution is studied through the enlistment of Melaka and Georgetown as WHS under the title Historic Cities of Straits Settlements where Singapore as one of the strait settlements in the past is being excluded. The discussion further highlights the complication between the multilayered memories of the old flats as told through anecdotes and UNESCO inscribed memory of the place in global view. The discussion of how personal and institutional memory saturate each other in the study of memory – object relationship culminates to an envisaged revolutionary stage, explored in National Library Board initiated competition, The Singapore Memory Project: Very Competition where a mass of personal memories are made public on a designed virtual platform. It marks a new leap from the conventional reductive memory objectification at institutional level. By studying personal memory at different circumstances in comparison to Proustian memory, the argument of this dissertation does not seek to identify a definitive method to involuntary memory provocation. Rather, it opens up criticism on the prevalent mode of memory ‘preservation’ at individual level up to global level and highlights the tension exists in individual memory recollection within a state-controlled urban built environment. Ultimately, it shades a new light on the perceived memory-object relationship, suggesting the possibilities of other alternatives besides mere objectification as means to memory provocation. Dissertation Supervisor: Mr. Tsuto Sakamoto
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/220473
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Restricted)

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