Author: Alexandra Pereira-Edwards

On Infrastructures and Intimacies: Sex Work and Spatial Politics

Studio: MArch Thesis

Advisor: Piper Bernbaum

Year: 2020-2021

Project Description

Cities are constituted by overlapping networks of infrastructures and intimacies. These networks form the often-overlooked space of the everyday for many, yet for sex workers these networks have the capacity to reproduce patterns of violence and marginalization. A deep reading of Canadian sex work legislation exposes an interconnected web of power, policing, and exclusionary tactics with harmful repercussions—essentially making it illegal for sex workers to exist in either “public” or “private” spaces as defined by Western logic.

Situated within sex-positive feminist discourse and an ongoing infrastructural turn across disciplines, this thesis engages sex work as a lens through which to assess acceptable forms of intimacy within the space of the city, and to recognize numerous affective infrastructural networks that subvert dominant stigmas associated with the profession. The work seeks to examine the politics of visibility within the built environment by delving deeper into the notion of exposure as an analytic tool, explored through the production of a scripted performance in two spatial acts. These acts, as tools of exposure, express the plurality of space and ultimately ask how reframing oppressive narratives surrounding sex work and intimacy can offer new ways of existing in collective space.