Outside-Singapore : a practice of writing : making subjects and spaces yet to come

Chan, P 2006, Outside-Singapore : a practice of writing : making subjects and spaces yet to come, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Architecture and Design, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Outside-Singapore : a practice of writing : making subjects and spaces yet to come
Author(s) Chan, P
Year 2006
Abstract This thesis highlights the practice of writing as a way to engage with the amorphous thing-space-State-city-nation-citizens that is "Singapore". However, the thesis is not about Singapore, nor is it a representation of what was Singapore or what it should be. Its concern is how the practice of writing contributes to, rather than defines, the process of making subjects and spaces, peoples and nations, citizens and cities; the kinds of subjects and spaces this thesis is concerned with are yet to come.

What this thesis offers is not a negative critique of the Singapore government's neo-conservative policies on urban development and nationhood. Concerned with subjects and spaces yet-to-come, this thesis writes of the potentialities beyond measure that governmental, socio-political, cultural, subjectival and spatial bodies can have in the process of their continuous differential relation with each other. The notion of potentialities beyond measure, as used in this thesis, draws primarily from the writings of Deleuze and his notion of difference as difference from itself, or differentiation; Hardt and Negri and their notion of the new empire as an empire of change offering up non-dualistic resistances, and is not predicated upon the hierarchy of an imperial centre and outposts. The thesis also draws on Bhabha, Nancy, Foucault and Blanchot's respective concerns with how theory as a practice of writing is not just reiterative but experimental and capable of producing novel meanings, subjectivities spaces. Addit ionally I will weave the writings of Spinoza and Nietzsche throughout the thesis. Many of the aforementioned writers, too, draw from Spinoza and Nietzsche to develop their own notions of unquantifiable potentiality. Particularly I am interested in how Nietzsche, via his "Overman", and Spinoza, via his notion of the ever-changing body, overcome dualism, and conceive of life and the ethics of living as beyond high moral principles and opposition. Rather, an ethical life arises from attending to life's own capabilities for transformation.

The implications this notion of potentialities beyond measure has for Singapore's post-colonial project allows us to negotiate a way of doing post-colonial theoretical writing (and art-making and creative writing) that goes beyond identitarian politics, relativism, telos and essentialism. Additionally such a writing moves beyond the theorist's voice as representative of Singapore's territory and people: the spaces and subjects spoken of are never there yet. A post-colonial project may attend to the production of a Singapore yet-to-come, a Singapore outside oppositional imaginations of Singapore, an 'Outside-Singapore'. There is nothing 'inside' this Outside-Singapore; this Outside-Singapore is inside a practice of writing from which emerges the potentiality of new subjects and spaces.

How is a practice of writing practised? This thesis will draw the conceptual, material, spatial, textual and philosophical forces from three artworks and one theoretical text that focus primarily on Singapore city. I will then combine the forces offered up by the aforementioned writers and artists with other conceptual, textual and philosophical forces to produce a practice of writing that may incite the production of subjects and spaces yet to come, and ultimately those potentialities beyond measure.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Architecture and Design
Keyword(s) Singapore
Post-Colonial Studies
Absolute Potentiality
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Created: Tue, 25 Jan 2011, 12:43:03 EST
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