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Home + Bound: Narratives of Domesticity in Singapore and Beyond

Singapore: Centre for Advanced Studies in Architecture, Department of Architecture NUS. Co-edited with Melany Sun-Min Park.


HOME + BOUND: Narratives of Domesticity in Singapore and Beyond is the latest and inaugural volume in the Architectural Research Monograph series published by the Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture, National University of Singapore in January 2013. The essays engage with the notion of domesticity set within the geographical bounds of Southeast Asia — more specifically, Singapore and Malaysia. Theoretical frameworks, including those of Michel Foucault, Sigmund Freud, Jacques Derrida and Anthony Vidler, are surveyed against local sites interwoven with varying scales, tropes, (mis)conceptions and antinomies of domesticity: a Chinese cemetery, Singapore's public Housing Development Board flats, the older Singapore Improvement Trust flats, its National Day Parade sites, a haunted house, a rural kampong (village), some national monuments, and a Straits Chinese patriarch's mansion in Penang. What does it mean to be 'at home' in a context where land and space are both limited and contentious? The ideals of stability attached to conceptions of 'being at home' were retrogressive and antithetical to being 'modern' — a fixation in Singapore and Southeast Asia's post-war milieux which continues to thrive under presuppositions of change and subsequent adaptations. The authors thus collectively front home as a destabilised ideology and a constantly evolving physical construct. This volume does not privilege the distinction between loss and recuperation of domestic sites and ideologies, or the ensuing difficulties of their reconciliation. Rather, it highlights the inseparable conditions between the recovery of domestic ideals and the agents who formulate such ideals.



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