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Chasing Inuka: Rambling around Singapore through Tan Pin Pin’s Films

In Asian Cinema and the Use of Space: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Lilian Chee and Edna Lim, eds. (New York: Routledge, 2015), 59-76.



In their iconic text on the modern city Collage City, Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter lamented that despite its “good will and good intentions,” modern architecture has failed to materialize a city which carries the greater good, hopes and liberalism of its people.3 This shortcoming is attributed to the conflict between “a retarded conception of science and a reluctant recognition of poetics” on the part of its urban planners and architects.4 Until today, the unresolved dualism between “efficient (urban) management,” which Rowe and Koetter critiqued was being “disguised” as “science,” and the dynamism of a “counterculture” generated by city life, its people and communities, continue to fracture and divide cities.5 Collage City’s postmodern reaction to a “total design” approach is its advocacy of fragmentation and bricolage to produce a constellation of micro-utopias across the city’s spaces. Indeed, Rowe and Koetter’s reminder about the importance of historicity in the formation and perception of the modern city is particularly relevant to a critique of Singapore’s contemporary urban evolution.


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