My research is positioned at the crossroads of architecture, visual practice, geography, and feminist studies. This intersection reflects my belief that architecture influences, and is influenced by, everyday existence. I strive to reframe architectural discourse as a dialogue between that of the architect’s making and that which is co-produced through one’s everyday encounter with architecture. My focus lies at the intersection of two key interdisciplinary research areas: (i) affect in architectural discourse and representation; and (ii) gendered perspectives on architecture with specific interest in domestic space. The politics of affect and gender converge in their attention to embodiment, emotion, subjectivity and intimacy.
More specifically, my work examines the tensions between architectural discourse produced by the discipline, and architectural representations that occur spontaneously from outside the discipline as an outcome of everyday use, occupation and experience. My work critiques and negotiates the gaps between these two modes of architectural representation; aiming to resituate architectural discourse in a dialogic relationship with everyday practices, subjects and objects. I argue that the locus of the everyday with its spontaneous, affective and often activist-inclined representations of architectural space, is critical in theorizing architecture at the seams of the discipline, specifically where architecture overlaps with other cultural and visual practices. My larger ambition is to broaden Southeast Asian architectural knowledge to include a diverse pool of agents, narratives and evidence, challenging an architectural scholarship shaped primarily by nationalist agendas. My research is invested in what it means to think about architecture through interdisciplinary concerns.
In rethinking architectural production and representation through the experiencing and gendered body, I advocate an affective feminist dimension for architectural research. I employ affect, with its attentiveness to emotions, instincts, and subjectivity to examine architecture from an embodied and grounded user’s perspective. Contrasting with Southeast Asian architectural scholarship’s predominantly nationalistic concentration, this intimate approach attends to marginalized subjectivities. It reframes architectural discourse through such subjects’ occupancy, use and experiences. Significantly, my research accords importance to understanding populist perceptions of architecture. I adopt popular culture, the domestic, seemingly trivial practices and archives as critical research material. Through the residues of ideology, human desires and failures contained in them, these affective objects and practices become consequential for understanding how power and disempowerment operate in the built environment. I advocate this approach because it critiques architecture as an insistently autonomous discipline, and transforms architectural discourse into an emphathetic and humanistic practice of care.