Rebekah Tien

Methods and Analysis

Threshold Unfolded

A Threshold of Evanescence for the Women of Bousbir

Bousbir Quartier Réservé (1924-1955) was a highly regulated, and completely walled-off red light district built to satisfy the sexual needs of European males during the French Protectorate in Casablanca. It was a projection of a far-east fantasy, an erotic theme park. Yet, for the women working within, Bousbir was a perpetual prison – where time seemed to loop, with the women stripped of their individuality – resembling the social order of the religious dystopia of Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale.

This project is an intervention of two buildings and a gate along the route from the walled-off district to the external medical dispensary, which turned the women’s weekly route for the mandatory STI inspection into an extra-thick threshold between the two realities. The project challenges the role of Light, Wall and Opening in Bousbir and works with these modest tools in (re)introducing “temporality” and the sense of “individuality” to the women of Bousbir.

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