Sunday 9 June 2013

Dubai.  The 21st colonial city, a city that was able to capitalise on money and land.  A city whose physical appearance, its hotels, malls, amusements and attractions are all constructed from future promises.  Full of engineers, planners, and human services personnel.  The city of 200 000 Emirates employs 2 million in labour from India, Nepal, South-east Asia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and parts of Europe.  A city in beautiful denial.  Charming visitors.  Making not fortunates, unfortunates over night as fortunes spell becomes a personal, social and cultural indemnity.  It seems everyone is aspiring to one lifestyle.  Our lifestyle.  Our aspirations and expectations make us not worse off, but others worse off.  The divide between not worse off and worse is moralised.  And those who speak of the immorality of such unconscionable behaviour are marginalised and patronised. The literature of postmodernism teaches us the death of universalism, the death of the grand narrative.  And you could argue pluralism exists in Dubai, but like any city –it is constrained within ideological parameters of neo-liberal capitalism.

The trip will be an accumulation of experiences: social and cultural expressions of inequality, personal conflict, twisted realities and popular fantasy.  I have no preconceived ideas or expectations or feelings about the subject.  As is the condition of modern life, I am stressed.  I have work I must continue to do.
- Kirsten Norvilas (Bachelor of Urban, Rural and Environmental Planning)

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