SEMINAR – WEB EVENT: The World in the Casino: Contract, Model and Exhibition in Three Asian Cities

  • Date: –16:00
  • Location: Via Zoom
  • Lecturer: Kah-Wee Lee, Fellow, SCAS. Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning, National University of Singapore
  • Website
  • Organiser: Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS)
  • Contact person: Klas Holm
  • Seminarium

Kah-Wee Lee, SCAS and National University of Singapore, gives a seminar on "The World in the Casino: Contract, Model and Exhibition in Three Asian Cities". The talk will be followed by a Q&A session.

Abstract

Over the last twenty years, the center of the casino industry has relocated from Las Vegas to three cities in Asia-Pacific, namely Singapore, Macau and Manila (Philippines). Underpinning this transformation is a partnership between states and concessionaires whereby the sovereign right of taxation is leased to private entities, which in turn allows states to tax populations outside of their territories. In this presentation, I share my analysis of the "state-concessionaire" relationship across three sites - the contract, the model and the exhibition. I begin by contextualizing this relationship in colonial revenue farming and contemporary geopolitics. Then I discuss how a particular model of casino development, known as an "Integrated Resort", mystifies this relationship and promotes the casino industry to new markets in Asia. Finally, I zoom into one casino lobby and show how the state-concessionaire relationship is exhibited in a tableau of gems and antiques. By moving across different sites, I aim to develop a kaleidoscopic treatment of what scholars call "casino capitalism". Rather than an epochal shift in the historical stage of capitalism, I highlight the inflections caused by the cultural, political and historical diversity of this region as well as the novel ways it is being attached to the global capitalist order. The world, as seen from the casino, is fractious and emergent.

For more information and the webinar link, please see http://www.swedishcollegium.se/subfolders/Events.html.