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Effect of Interaction in Multiculturalism Spaces
Felix Tanuwijaya (10389)
Module Title: Cultural and Contextual Studies 2B
Module Code: DE2307
Lead Tutor: Anita Nevens
Date: 06 April 2010
Belief in pluralism and the multicultural society is so much woven into the fabric of our lives that we rarely stand back to question some of its effects. These effects can be positive and negative. Positive because it is a fairer system that allows people to truly express who they are within a society, that is more tolerant and that adapts better to social issues. And negative because by time to come it will lead to discrimination and racist to a certain culture. But is it possible that the various cultures can really stay in one space together or will the dominant culture changes the space?
Multiculturalism is a public policy that deals with the problem of managing social cultural diversity in a multicultural nation. This policy works by introducing and implanting the sense of equality to the people in a multicultural country. The aim is to achieve common rights and understandings for the vast varied cultures that settle in a society. Formerly, this was originated from Switzerland in 1957. Then followed by Canada and expanded globally to other developed nations. Nowadays, multiculturalism has been a global phenomenon. Varieties debates and policies by public and government concerning about multiculturalism is surfacing in almost every continents in the world. It seems that at this moment, we need to be sensitive in cultural awareness at both individual and social levels. This awareness is caused by the immigration of people with different backgrounds and cultures from one state or country to several different countries or even continents which created a variety mixture of culture, language, and history in one nation. This resulted cultural change and disruption around the globe which then lead to multiculturalism in a society.
Living together in a society which has a mixture of people from different background, religious, and cultures is commonly accepted as a way of living presently. When different people live together, they establish a multicultural society. Most of the cosmopolitan cities, such as London, New York, Singapore, and other developed nations are formed by the variety cultures of society.
Living in multicultural society has some advantages. People can experience the abundantly variety of cultures, lifestyles, traditions, habits, cuisine and music that are alien to them or in some extend they don't even know that it exists. In order to accept the vast diversity of cultures, the first step is by experiencing and showing respect as well as tolerances to that culture. One examples of a nation with multicultural society is Singapore. In this nation, people from different countries, cultures, religions and beliefs are living harmoniously and even exchanging vows for the rest of their life, despite of their differences. This is a society that immigrants and others should preserve and integrate their cultures with the different cultures, as well as interacting peacefully within one nation. Canada, Australia and the UK are some others nations that best represent this kind of interaction.
In general, the issue that has been the problem of a multicultural society since the birth of it is that some parts of the society reject the earlier models of the unitary, homogeneous nation state. It means that the society was seen as the possession of a dominant group, which used the state to acknowledge their identity, language, culture, history, literature, myth, religions and so on, and then propagate the state as the tools to express their nationhood­­­. This can be done by actively constructed the state through a range of 'nation-building' policies that encouraged the preferred national identity while suppressing any alternate identities. The dominant group was usually the majority group, but sometimes a minority can be the dominant, for example whites in South Africa under the apartheid regime. It seems that the idea of nation-state has reduced the communication between these two groups, which has created a big gap that separate both of their identity, language, history and so on. Based on this statement, the body of the essays will study and explore further on how to blur this two different identities and integrate them together by formulate interaction among them.
Mankind was seen as evolving from a state of "savagery" to "barbarism" to "civilization", and all cultures at particular level in every way that mattered. What makes them different from one ethnic groups and nations to the others is the ranking on the scale of social evolution. It proves that the evolution of the human from back then until this stage now is resulted from their improvement in their interaction skill, either between people, surroundings as well as with the nature. With the advancement in the information and communication technology nowadays, it has lead people to be able to communicate with others from different cultures, cities, nations and even continents. This created a multicultural society. Cultural diversity is a healthy and normal condition that will introduce people to a heterogeneous language, religion, and ethnic that builds a lively social environment. This environment can be conceives as an orchestra, each culture contributes a symphony that will enriched the melodies. But as time goes by, the level of interaction between the major groups and minor groups in a nation has slowly decreased. The question now is: how to increase the interaction between these two groups in a space so that they can live in a harmonious environment?
2.1 Understanding Interaction
The action of interaction happens when two or more objects have triggers a reaction between or among them. In a society, social interaction is created by a chain-reaction of changing sequence of actions between individuals or groups who modify their actions and reactions due to the actions by their interaction partner. The form of social interactions can varied from accidental, repeated, regular, and regulated. This interaction is seen as the roots of all social relations among human. In this simple understanding of interaction lies a complex concept of how interaction happens. People walking by in a public space without interacting with each other, illustrates that interaction do not happen and it relates to human mind set of what really triggers interaction to take place.
2.2 Case Study of a Space that triggers Interaction and Support Multiculturalism
What draws people together is the question that will solves the problem and bridge the gap in multicultural society. In this vast and comprehensive world that is filled with a variety of cultures and ethnics from different continents around the world, there are few things that are generally the same in all of this diversity. One of that is Sports and a space that is successful in generating interaction is the Stadium. This space creates a relationship between people and public by offering an environment that enables them to share and feel the experiences together. It also acts as communal spaces which reflect the passions, visions and spirits of the spectators and public. As well as a space to foster human connection around and shared passions. The Stadium transforms, invigorate and bridge excitements to people in order to integrate the varieties of different groups into one solid community .Beyond just as a building, it is built as an inspiring structure where passionate relationships can be experienced and created an impact to the memories of each spectator and community. In essence, it is a space that embodies the spirits, passions, emotions and energies of the public and brings them into one community.
By understanding and researching in the background, function and idea of how the stadium can generate interaction, it appears that when people shares common interests and experiences that is when they started to interact. For example, people and fans from different culture and ethnic go to the stadium because they have the same interest, which is to enjoy sports. But when they are inside the space and among the public, they didn't really interact with the public. Most of them only interact within their own groups. But when they share the same experience likes the team that they support are winning or losing they will unconsciously interact with the public because they are sharing the experience they have felt. As a result, the gap between groups of different cultures and ethnics is bridged and there won't be a domination of groups that can lead to racism. So, by creating and introducing the two groups with the same interest and experience that they can share, it would eventually able to create a multicultural society without any discrimination and domination.
The designed space which is a club is influenced by this idea of interaction. It is being applied to solve the issue of creating an ideal club. Clubs are designed as hospitable social meeting places. It is a place to enjoy and escaped from weekday activities. But nowadays, most of the design is more focused as a place to drink, dance and listen to music. As a result, public interaction is lacking and group of strangers are remain separated and only interact with people in their group. The aim of this project is to design a cohesive environment that can bridge this gap between groups, as well as to facilitate human interaction.
The project started by understanding what really draws people together. Based on the research, it seems that when people share common interest and experience that is when interaction happens. And from this statement, it leads to the concept of integrating fun and fear. The reason is most of the people will start to interacts unconsciously as soon as they felt this experience. For instance, when we are alone in a completely dark space, we will immediately feel fear and this experience will trigger us to look for or interact with someone else. Patrons go to a club because they share common interest which is to have fun, but not all of them feel the same experience. That is why they only interact with people within their groups. In order to bridge the gaps between groups, 2 solutions are being proposed for this problem.
First, it is to force people to dance by locating the bar area in the middle of the dance floor. It is to trigger interaction with the public because when people dance they experience fun and will unconsciously interact with each other. Although it is a nonverbal communication, but as time goes by, this action will slowly lead to verbal communication and will create bonds that formulate a sense of belonging to the crowd in this club. By providing the patron with this experience, they will often come and this will increase the income of the club.
Second, is by introducing feeling of fear in the club. When we go to club, we expect to have fun experience, and most of the club achieved that. But by creating this feeling, it will double the experience of fun as well as trigger interaction. It is set at both of the entrances by creating dark and enclose spaces that lead patrons to one meeting point. At this point they will start to interact because they have felt lost and inconvenient. As they started to interact, they will feel relieved and at the same time they are being lead to the main area by the music. Because of the contrasting experiences from fear to fun, this will doubles the experience of fun and make an impact to the patrons memories.
Multiculturalism happens as the result of globalisation which is caused by the advancement of technology. In a nation with a multicultural society there are pros and cons regarding to this cultural diversity. The pro is people are able to learn and explore new culture, language, music, and cuisine that are alien to them. As well as they have the privilege to experience diversity of the environment that is around them. For the cons, in most cases the majority groups will tends to dominate the minority groups by using the state as the tools to express their nationhood. This problem happens because of the lack of interaction between the two groups. In order to solve that, it is important to understand what interaction is and what components that can trigger interaction. It leads to a case study of how stadium can make people inside the space interact with people from variety of backgrounds, cultures and ethnics. By understanding and exploring how the stadium works, it is obvious that people will start to interact with each other when they share common experience and interest. So, by introducing the two groups with the same interest and experience that they can shares , it will slowly solves the problems and give birth to a harmonious multicultural society.
The idea of interaction has also influenced the design space which is nightclub. A nightclub is meant to be an ideal place to socialize with public. As times goes by, the basic element of this space which is to socialize is decreasing. Instead, the tendency of the design is focus more as a place to dance, enjoy music, drink in order to have fun and escape from the stressful weekdays. And this leads to the lacking of public interaction that resulted groups of people remain separated. Based on the research of interaction, it leads to the concept of integrating fun and fear in order to bridge the gaps between groups.
From the concept, 2 solutions are being proposed for this problem. First, it is to force people to dance by locating the bar area in the middle of the dance floor in order to trigger the experience of fun. Second, is by introducing feeling of fear in the club. It is set at both of the entrance by creating a dark and enclose pathway that will lead people to one meeting point. As a result, people in the space will experience this two contrasting experience and create an impact to the memories of the patrons as well as it will trigger interaction between groups and public.
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