Lak-ka-pid-lak-ka-perd: contemporary urban conditions with special reference to thai homosexuality

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (artistic)

Abstract

Major Asian cities like Hong Kong, Taipei and Bangkok have been constantly on the verge of rapid transformation, whether politically, socially, and particularly sexually, due to the process of capitalisation, modernisation, and globalisation over the last decade. In response to the impact of the transformation on the historical and traditional space of the city, the region's unique cultural and historical background has produced certain conditions of urban arrangements that may have put into disarray the traditional relationship between binary oppositions, whether tradition/modernity, old/new, global/local, heterosexual/homosexual, and the like. It is a kind of in-between condition that manifests itself through different scales and different levels, physically and metaphorically, of space. It is when the old meaning of spaces has been unfixed and the new one has not yet emerged fully that it leads to a multiplicity of meanings and functions that at times derive from contradictory ideologies.

Although much research has been undertaken on the new urban landscapes in Asia by urbanists and social geographers, there is still an area that needs to be further explored, particularly how these new urban landscapes and their conditions anticipate the process of generating creativity and alternative ways of living and thinking resulting from destabilised boundaries, in particular the sexual one. It is therefore the aim of this thesis to attempt to grasp, explain and interpret the contemporary urban conditions. In my effort to understand this rather unorthodox and complex condition that cannot be simply explained by the dominant mode of thinking based on binary opposition, I am aided by the Thai term lak-ka-pid-lak-ka-perd, literally meaning "sometimes closed-sometimes open", inspired by Thai ideology regarding space that is less fixated on physical boundaries, as well as a few influential ideas concerned with the nature of "otherness", particularly Michel Foucault's "heterotopia". Nevertheless, it is not the intention of this project to establish another term to describe the contemporary urban conditions. The term is used as an initial attempt to open up an alternative way of thinking beyond the binary opposition. It also signifies the unsettling process of arranging oneself or a subject on any particular side of the binary. My use of the term will continue to question: what is left beyond if the relationship between spaces that has been set up by the fixed dualism of centre/periphery has been disrupted and possibly broken up? How can we build identity around such conditions? How can the various forces of power and their complex relationships be revealed and broken down through the understanding of the conditions?

I use lak-ka-pid-lak-ka-perd as both a means to explore and a terminology for these conditions manifesting themselves through different kinds of spaces, including the spaces of the city of Bangkok, the katoey body of the transvestite boxer, a group of queer Asian cinema, as well other related spaces within urban landscapes. I adopt different theories and methods in order to create a new paradigm of understanding, including artistic and non-artistic approaches, such as writing, photographing, mapping, video-making, curating, etc. In a sense, they will make of this thesis a metaphorical space, a platform for expressing, testing and reflecting ideas that are constantly shifting when new elements are added, as in the case of the new urban conditions.

Details

Authors
  • Sopawan Boonnimitra
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Arts

Keywords

  • Konsthistoria, Art history, otherness, lak-ka-pid-lak-ka-perd, queer Asian cinema
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2006 Sep 15
Publisher
  • Malmö Art Academy
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2006-09-15 Time: 10:00 Place: Lunds stadshall External reviewer(s) Name: Golding, Johnny Title: Prof. Affiliation: University of Greenwich ---

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