Liquid power: A social semiotics of the infinity pool

Thurlow, Crispin (7 November 2019). Liquid power: A social semiotics of the infinity pool (Unpublished). In: Invited lecture. University of Hong Kong. 07.11.19.

The infinity pool is currently an epitomic, ubiquitous marker of distinction and prestige in so-called luxury tourism. Arguably the supreme example of these vanishing-edge illusions is to be found atop the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore, but Hong Kong evidently has its fair share of them. In this talk, I develop a social semiotics of the infinity pool using a three-part analytic structure. I first demonstrate how the infinity pool is mediatized as a status marker which is thereby circulated and normalized. I then consider the semiotic and ideological ways these pools emerges as a mediated practice, paying particular attention to their spatial and embodied logics. I then examine how the infinity pool is distinctively remediated in Instagram. In this regard, digital media offer two very good opportunities for researchers: we find empirical evidence for the ubiquity of tourist practices and also for tourists’ reflexivity and ‘creativity’ – the ways they themselves take up and make sense of their practices. Ultimately, my contention is that the infinity pool materializes a strategically, euphorically (dis)ordered vision of space; this, in turn, tells us something important about both the social semiotics of privilege/inequality and the raw politics of contemporary power relations.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of English Languages and Literatures
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of English Languages and Literatures > Modern English Linguistics

UniBE Contributor:

Thurlow, Crispin

Subjects:

400 Language
400 Language > 410 Linguistics
400 Language > 420 English & Old English languages

Language:

English

Submitter:

Fabienne Blaser

Date Deposited:

16 Apr 2020 07:30

Last Modified:

03 Jul 2020 14:28

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/140475

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