Chapter 1: The Wandering Flaneur

The project is sparked by curiosities festered during the OIP to Glasgow in Summer 2019.
Flaneury is a kind of reading of the streets and the city. The project explores the art of wandering and drifting. Flaneuring can be executed anywhere and everywhere. Everyone flaneurs, be it consciously or subconsciously. Flaneuring encourages us to “be” where we are at and experience our urban cities wholesomely, on a deeper level of consciousness.

1. Elements of Glasgow

“Flaneuring before I knew of its existence.” My drifting journey began without me realizing it. I was photographing strange nooks and corners of the streets of Glasgow. I observed that most of my friends photographs more well-known and representable landmarks of Glasgow. I self-reflected and thought that if someone were to go through my photo album and had to guess where these photographs were taken, it would not be easy to identify the city if one has never been there before. As the photographs captures distinctive elements of the space rather than more reputable identifiers of Glasgow.

2. Making the intangible tangible

Transforming what was seen, touched, heard and felt into a tangible representation.

3. Bringing the art of flaneur back to Singapore's context

The elements observed while wandering and drifting in Glasgow can be categorized into 7 clusters as follows: Life between cracks, Ageing & remnants, Configuration, Texture, Openings & views, Attitude (personality of a space) and Light & shadow. After the OIP came to an end and returning to Singapore. I begin to wonder if these same clusters which exists in the Glasgow context could be observed on the streets of Singapore too. The purpose of selecting Sengkang as my chosen site is parallel with the sentiments of wandering in unknown territory and Sengkang is unfamiliar to me.

4. Drifting in Sengkang

Realizing that the wandering, pausing, and observing routine experienced in Glasgow is known as Drifting. This is important as to me; drifting was to drift through spaces with no tasks on hand and no destination in mind. Drifting also activates our consciousness on a deeper level in comparison to how we get by on the daily with our numbed senses.

5. 265 Drifting stops

DRIFTING STOPS Location: Sengkang mrt as starting point (no set boundary) Duration: 90minutes Role: to be an observer of the city (flaneur)

6. Elements of Singapore

The elements observed while wandering and drifting: Life between cracks, Ageing & remnants, Configuration, Texture, Openings & views, Attitude (personality of a space) and Light & shadow.

7. The 3 Drifting stops

Along the drifting path, 3 stops are chosen to be investigated in depth. A design intervention would also be implemented to amplify the existing element of the site.

8. Study Models

Representation of the intangible elements on site.

9. Drifting stop 1

The first drifting spot identified is along the roadside and under the sheltered walkway. The element spotted at this drifting stop is Openings & views. As depicted by the organic openings on the leaves. The above study model shows a perforated curvature creating depths of light and shadow under its film.

10. Drifting stop 2

Stop 2 is located along the curved road where cars travel. The body in space: the flaneur can be seen dwelling in a squatting manner to photograph the elements on the concrete ground. The flaneur’s aperture (POV): The flaneur observed the imprints left behind by the raindrops on the soil that has been dislodged by the rain. Raindrops left slight concaves on the soil eroded during rainfall. The element of this site is Ageing & Remnants. To me, this title signifies things that have been left behind, has withstood the wear and tear of time and has a spirit of Wabi sabi in it where it is never a finished product as ageing continues its growth or evolution process. A work is never finished. Remnants to me are organic patterns left behind by nature or objects abandoned and forgotten by humans. These are sentimental to me as it can be seen as part of the souvenirs of life.

11. Drifting stop 3

Drifting stop 3 is located where the flaneur is surrounded by tall buildings around her. The flaneur is almost unaware of her bouts of ritual looking downwards are the slightest most minute details for several consecutive stops and then looking up at high spots to juxtopose the precedence and finally looking at her eye level to readjust back to her reality to her eye level. This seems to be a repetitive but subconscious ritual while she is on her drifting path. At stop 3: The facades of the HDB is framing the evening sky. The flaneur dwells arching her neck upwards to capture the elemental scene. The element on this site is Openings & views as the tall building corners off scenes of the sky unknowingly. Being surrounded by tall concrete structures in this case, the flaneur feels like she is exploring a dense forest where the buildings symbolizes tall trees. The city begins to look more like an urban jungle.