Title: Fantazied Romanticity: Rethinking the Roles of Curtained Motel in Thai Contemporary Culture
Stream: Architecture and Urban Studies/Design
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Sant Suwatcharapinun, Chiang Mai University, Thailand
Jakkit Mancha, Chiang Mai University, Thailand
Examining through the lens of a social-sexual production, this paper focuses on the curtained motel, known amongst Thais as “Rong Raem Man Rud”, in Thai contemporary culture which has long been constituted by Thai sex-gender discourses or the so-called “Hetero-normality”. In general, this is an enjoyable place for anonymous sexual activities or having sex without any string attached. For many, this place is condemn and tainted while for some it is partially legitimated and culturally tolerant. This paradoxical meaning of curtained motel becomes our focusing point. It is important for us to explore curtained motels before they close down due to the rapid change of the mobile culture which allows people to meet virtually and to initiate sexual interaction elsewhere not limited to the hotel facilities. This paper aims to analyze curtained motel in terms of social-sexual production of the space through the question of what and under which conditions curtained motel has been constituted; and to argue for an alternative value and meaning that differ from those given and imposed by mainstream sex-gender discourses. Methodologically, this paper embraces Michel Foucault's Other Spaces as the theoretical framework for collecting and analyzing data of a field survey based on 6 curtained motels, built during 1977-1991, in Chiang Mai Municipality. This paper also aims to use curtained motel as a reflecting point, opening up for the discussion on the dominant cultural value and perhaps leading to an alternative meaning in Thai contemporary culture.
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