|dc.description.abstract||This thesis, consisting of a novel and a dissertation, examines the intersections of place, identity and fiction. During earlier studies I encountered nomadology as represented in Stephen Muecke's work on Australian Indigeneity, and also the developments on theories and practices of nomadology undertaken by Gilles Deleuze and FÃ©lix Guattari. I began to explore the production of culture in cities read through these ideas. In the present work, my thinking and approaches have been extended significantly by Edward W. Soja's insights into lived experience, cities and spaces, and by the rhizomatics of Deleuze and Guattari. What is presented here is a hybrid text - novel and dissertation. Both explore ideas about the production of culture in cities and the exchange of external and internal processes that occurs between people and places. I wanted to articulate what I see as particular cultural processes of postmodern cities, which have developed in ways that depart from conventional understandings of what constitutes urban environments and urbanism. There are co-relations between cities that began in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the increasing global influence of American popular culture, and new millennium developments redefined by technological insurgence. We have seen the emergence of a new kind of city, one that offers accelerated, ahistorical, and dispersed spaces and experiences. My theorising of the 'new frontier city' is explicated in the dissertation, and represented in the novel through the Gold Coast.
The relationship between urban formations and postmodern cultural signification is mimicked by the relationship between the two texts. While neither directly refers to the other, an association is developed whereby key characteristics of the new frontier city, such as spectacle, subterfuge, simulation and speculation, are manifested by my fictional characters, thematics and stylistic approaches. In addition, the dissertation sometimes works creatively while the novel is derivative of actual icons, people, monuments and events. The work examines the collapse of distinction between the 'real' (traditionally represented by the city and urban formations) and the hyperreal (presented by fictionality). I see and position the cities of Los Angeles, Las Vegas and the Gold Coast as texts - as new frontier cities where the language of signs, simulation and consumption permeates the cultural and urban fabric in intriguing ways. I argue for the new frontier city as a site rich in narrative potential. I critique readings that privilege Euro-centric, modernist notions of high cultural values and cosmopolitanism which continue to exclude the new frontier from 'serious' cultural status. The fascination I experience for the new frontier city is enacted through an amalgam; a methodology which is applicable to the divergent urban and cultural formations of new frontier cities and the kinds of fictions they produce. The assemblaic and nomadic approach taken in the thesis allows for the development of a relationship of association. For though I am influenced throughout by contemporary urban theorists such as Soja, Sudjic and Frost, whose variant perspectives challenge dominant discourses in their fields, the text remains deliberately unsituated. It contributes to understandings in the realm of urban policy and analysis but ultimately functions as a treatise on how the writer can merge both fictional and non-fictional perspectives to construct meaning and narrative in the seemingly random and impenetrable urban landscapes of the new frontier. The novel and dissertation are therefore parallel documents which map this process rhizomatically. I resist explicit and didactic explications in order to 'mimic' (in Deleuzian terms) the more arbitary and distillatory process of the creative writer. The opening chapters of Future Frontier explore the development history of Los Angeles, the Gold Coast and Las Vegas, concentrating on the meaning and characteristics of the new frontier city in relation to the narrative experience. Section Two concentrates on broader definitions of new frontier cities and the contrasts with European architectural and urban experience. Section Three explores the effects of cinema and cinematic mimicry on new frontier cities. This section features micro-concentrations on celebrity worship, reality TV, plastic surgery and the geography of extreme experience. Section Four focuses primarily on the Gold Coast and examines ways in which the distinctive processes of the new frontier have influenced significant subsections of its culture in the arenas of politics, development and architecture. Section Five posits a 'culture of subterfuge'. Here the associated effects of gambling, risk, speculation, crime and fraud are examined. The closing statement, Culture of Contradiction, offers a navigation through the narrative potentials of the new frontier by recognising it as a site fuelled by inherent, overlapping and divergent fictional voices. This analysis informs the stylistic technique of the novel, which features three contrasting voices and timescapes. These 'speakers' converge obsessively on the elusive character of Jade. The key storyteller is The Dealer, a croupier who attaches himself to Jade in ways which are reminiscent of classic noir but subverted by his displacement in the new frontier. His object is to reveal, to 'turn over' the present. Another aspect of Jade's character is evoked by the recollective voice of Anthony who is isolated and remains ignorant of other players in the game. The third voice is representative of the city - the omnipotent eye of the Gold Coast. Each 'version' of Jade's story overlaps the other. Because the reader never gains access to her own interior monologue Jade remains absent, in an intimate sense, while being relentlessly pursued, coveted and externally revealed. Jade, like the new frontier city, must always be read and experienced through the chimera of unreality - through the affected gaze of others - in order to be known. Jade fascinates as the new frontier city does, and she is marked by desire for impermanence.||en_US