The Singapore Arts Festival and the Aestheticisation of the Urban Landscape

Chris Hudson
Vol 29, Number 1, p.1
In the last two decades Singapore has experienced a proliferation of arts and cultural events, paralleling changes in the economy in the post-industrial era. Events such as the Singapore Arts Festival have precipitated material change and the redesign of public space. The emergence of post-Fordist regimes of flexible accumulation and the production and consumption of symbolic and cultural goods have not only transformed economies, but have reconfigured urban space in sites around the world. Typical of this transformation is the deindustrialisation of inner city space and urban regeneration to accommodate tourism, new forms of global cosmopolitanism and cultural consumption. The reconstruction of the urban landscape has also incorporated new forms of aestheticisation of urban life. These spatial and aesthetic changes are implicated in the control of both space and culture. Through an investigation of the 2009 Singapore Arts Festival, this article examines the ways in which the aestheticisation of the urban landscape provides the space where economics, culture and politics intersect. It examines the construction of the nation’s global brand image, the culture of consumption that drives the economy, and the manipulation of individual consumer desires.