Thanks to Matthew Collins for alerting me to his article published in California Italian Studies, an open-access journal.
Collins, M. (2017) ‘The Formation of a Heterotopia: An Inquiry into the Intermingling of Utopic Thoughts and Concrete Activities in Olivetti’s Ivrea’, California Italian Studies 7 (1) 1-28.
This essay explores the process by which the Olivetti factory and its related structures in Ivrea developed, especially under Adriano Olivetti from the 1930s through the 50s, into what could be regarded as a heterotopic space in keeping with the fundamental significance of the term as it was presented by Michel Foucault. Looking at four significant sources (or causes) of influence—Italian rationalism, Le Corbusier, the corporativist policies of Italian fascism, and Frank Lloyd Wright—the essay traces their respective roles in shaping the built environment of this relatively small subalpine Italian city. Specific projects discussed include the principal factory building and its numerous extension projects, Figini and Pollini’s workers’ housing units of 1935, the rationalist duo’s design of the social services building, and Piccinato’s Quartiere Bellavista.
Just missed this exhibition in Paris but the website (see below) has a wonderful collection of images from the show.
“The exhibition shows a selection of art brut works related thematically to architecture heterotopias. Contrary to a utopia, a heterotopia indeed acts like a counter-space that Harald Szeeman would qualify as an “individual mythology.” curator : Matali Crasset
Dec 2nd, 2017 – Jan 20th, 2018 Paris, 3-5 passage des Gravilliers
3 April 2018
The recent death of Playboy magnet Hugh Hefner coincided with reading ‘Pornotopia’, Beatriz Preciado’s essay on Playboy’s architecture and biopolitics. Although I have misgivings about the book’s potpourri of spatial concepts (one example, tossing in Marin’s complex notion of the ‘neutral’ with no support or justification), chapter 6 concerning the Playboy Mansion raises some interesting relationships with heterotopia, particularly through comparisons with eighteenth century French architect Nicolas Ledoux’s ideal designs for ‘houses of pleasure’. The book is useful in starting to trace how heterotopias mutate through the introduction of new forms of communication technology, forming new subjectivities.
Preciado, B. (2014) Pornotopia, New York: Zone Books.
6 October 2017
Heterotopias hosts studies and visual essays that dissect spaces of play, exploration, violence and ideology. The project focuses on the spaces and architecture of virtual worlds. The zine releases quarterly – 2 issues so far.
Peter 21 April 2017
I have just re-read the editorial to the special issue of HDA Dokumente zur Architektur (10) devoted to ‘The Affair of the Heterotopia’ that was published in 1998. Written by Roland Ritter and Bernd Knaller-Vlay, this short essay remains fresh and insightful and I would set alongside James Faubion’s ‘Ecology’ as one of the most stimulating introductions to this teasingly enigmatic subject. The journal is in English and German. It includes a useful summary of the use and misuse of the concept in architecture, but here are a few general snippets:
The concept heterotopia comes from a different place.
What Foucault achieves here is not a weak concretisation of strong thought, but rather he creates a systematic inconsistency with which he protects the list from being completed. The list of heterotopias suggests an open-ended series that can be continued.
Will there ever be a last text on heterotopia?
Ritter, R. and Knaller-Vlay, B., (eds.) (1998) Other Spaces:Die Affäre der Heterotopie ,HDA Dokumente zur Architektur 10, Graz, Austria: Haus der Architektur.
Faubion, J. (2008) ‘Heterotopia: an ecology’ in M. Dehaene and L. De Cauter (eds.), Heterotopia and the City, London and New York: Routledge, 31-40.
13 May 2016
Came across an interesting piece by Sven-Olov Wallenstein: ‘Foucault and the Genealogy of Modern Architecture’ in a collection of his essays and lectures (2007). The extract below discusses Franco Rella’s interpretation of heterotopia which can be found in Il dispositivo Foucault (1977) along with other critical essays concerning Foucault’s notion of power.
Sven-Olov Wallenstein’s whole essay can be found on academia.edu.
In the collective volume Il dispositivo Foucault (1977, with contributions from Franco Rella, Manfredo Tafuri, Georges Teyssot, and Massimo Cacciari) Foucault’s conception of power was scrutinized in a highly critical but as we will see ultimately misleading fashion. In this sense the polemic is instructive, since it provides a negative relief against which Foucault’s conception becomes clearer, but also because it articulates parts of its polemic in terms of architectural issues.
In the introduction Franco Rella proposes an almost mystical interpretation, where Foucault’s rejection of the “juridical” (prohibitive, negative) and unitary concept of power leads to the idea that power would be nothing but a plurality of dispositifs that attempt to “suture an empty center,” something wholly “other,” a blank or a void in being. In Rella’s interpretation power becomes a non-place, a “mysterious noumenon,”32 and it transforms all concrete spatial arrangement, even space itself, into a heterotopia: “Space is always ‘other,’ always heterotopic” (12). For Rella this also means that the concept of ideology, and with it any distinction between appearance and reality, the false and the true, tend to become useless: “Transparence is absolute. Thus there is nothing to dissolve. Nothing to analyze.” (13) Power, he says, is for Foucault a “non-place” that can only be grasped through its “infinite heterotopic localizations” (ibid). For Rella, Foucault can never reach any determinate contradictions, and his concept of power in the end becomes useless and counterproductive. In the subsequent essay in the book, “The political economy of the body,” he draws the even sharper conclusion that Foucault’s discourse “in the end becomes not a critical discourse on power, but the discourse of power itself” (55, my italics), a kind of demystifying veil draped over reality so as to hide its true contradictions.
Wallenstein, S. (2007) ‘Foucault and the Genealogy of Modern Architecture’ in Essays, Lectures. Stockholm: Axl Books, 362-404.
Cacciari, M., Rella, F., Tafuri and M. Teyssot, G. (1977) Il dispositivo Foucault. Venice: Cluva.
Defert, D. (1997) ‘Foucault, Space, and the Architects’ in Politics/Poetics: Documenta X – The Book, Ostfildern-Ruit: Cantz Verlag, 274-283.
Tafuri, M. (1987) The Sphere and the Labyrinth, London: MIT Press.
Teyssot, G. (1998) ‘Heterotopias and the History of Spaces’ in M. Hays (ed.), Architecture Theory since 1968, London: MIT Press, 298- 310.
11 June 2015
International EOA Conference 2015
Osservatorio Outsider Art is organizing from May 28th to June 1st 2015 the annual conference of EOA (European Outsider Art Association), whose members are museums and European institutions that deal with Outsider and Irregular Art in all its forms
The conference will be devoted to spontaneous environmental sculptural or architectural works and their protection. It is divided into two sessions held in Palermo (May 28th and 29th) and Messina (May 31st). The speakers are among the leading experts on the topic.
The official language adopted for the conference is English, but there is an interpreting service.
For more information and pdf of programme, click poster:
13 March 2015
Michel Foucault (1926 – 1984): les arts & les lettres/arts & humanities in the 21st Century
Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies & Collège de France Symposium
L’Institut d’études avancées de Paris
17 quai d’Anjou, Paris 75004
June 12 – 13, 2014
Art and architectural history, visual culture, literary studies, media and film studies and aesthetics have all “partaken” of Foucauldian theories, but a comparative exploration of Foucault’s significance has been lacking. If the reception of Foucault has focused on single disciplines and discrete areas of thought, it has also differed across specific linguistic and/or geo-political lines. This colloquium seeks to map the philosophy of Foucault as it impacts the future of the arts and humanities across cultures, institutions and practices.
19 May 2014
The journal Society and Space (EPD) have made the following stimulating short essay by Henri Lefebvre open access for 2 months. It has not been published in English before.
The journal has also opened up a discussion forum related to the piece. Also looking forward to the first publication of the following book next month:
28 April 2014
In recent posts I have mentioned the Norwegian visual artist, Knut Åsdam, whose acclaimed work engages with the notion of heterotopia. His work and writing has encouraged me to look at Dan Graham’s glass/mirror/steel structures and pavilions. In interviews, Dan Graham says that some of his work subverts corporate architecture by ‘creating a kind of heterotopic situation‘.
See interview by Sarah Rosenbaum-Kranson museomagazine
Following recent mention of David Grahame Shanes’ model of ‘Recombinant Urbanism’, this type of work seems to be exploring, disrupting and undermining ‘enclaves’ as heterotopia.
4 April 2014
It has been pointed out to me that the website does not include reference to Shane’s influential work Recombinant Urbanism, exploring conceptual modelling in architecture and urban theory and design.
Shane divides cities into three relational elements: enclaves, armatures and heterotopias. Put very simply: enclaves are buildings that contain individuals and functions; armatures are the circulation networks that connect enclaves and move people and goods (EG streets); and heterotopias are places of ‘difference’ that alter the city over time:
Shane, D. G. (2005) Recombinant Urbanism: Conceptual Modeling in Architecture, Urban Design, and City Theory London: Wiley.
He takes another look at these concepts in:
Reflections on these books would be welcome.
4 April 2014
20 May 2013
I should have mentioned Boyer’s stimulating paper on Foucault’s various reflections on the utopian and heterotopian features of mirrors.
20 May 2013
Latest in series exploring philosophers ‘for architects’ (previous books have included Kant, Gadamer, Deleuze etc.)
From the mid-1960s onwards Michel Foucault has had a significant impact on diverse aspects of culture, knowledge and arts including architecture and its critical discourse. The implications for architecture have been wide-ranging. His archaeological and genealogical approaches to knowledge have transformed architectural history and theory, while his attitude to arts and aesthetics led to a renewed focus on the avant-garde.
Prepared by an architect, this book offers an excellent entry point into the remarkable work of Michel Foucault, and provides a focused introduction suitable for architects, urban designers, and students of architecture.
Foucault’s crucial juxtaposition of space, knowledge and power has unlocked novel spatial possibilities for thinking about design in architecture and urbanism. While the philosopher’s ultimate attention on the issues of body and sexuality has defined our understanding of the possibilities and limits of human condition and its relation to architecture.
The book concentrates on a number of historical and theoretical issues often addressed by Foucault that have been grouped under the themes of archaeology, enclosure, bodies, spatiality and aesthetics in order to examine and demonstrate their relevancy for architectural knowledge, its history and its practice.
10 December 2012
Visions of the Real: An Architect’s Approach on Cultural Landscape Studies by Alexandru Calcatinge (2011)
The cultural landscape is what lies around us and has to be understood and learned to deal with. The best way to do this is to start from the beginning in order to understand the contemporary iterations of the concept. We will not reinvent the concept, but we will try to create a new way to see it. The operative concept of cultural landscape is part of a reality that is seen and visioned differently by each individual. This means that the concept has an almost infinite number of meanings. Thus this book presents some of the visions of the surrounding reality through the eyes of an architect…
extracts from ebook