Autorzy projektu: Therese Eberl, Mitchell Gow, Marta Kowalczyk

Artykuł został opublikowany w magazynie Burrasca – The 5th World

Welcome to Heterotopia

You’ve arrived at the edge of the world. We’re glad you found us; we need you. Stay so long as you are not welcome elsewhere. Denude yourself of all that is unwanted. Expose your desires, your fears. Here, we repress nothing. We have nothing; nothing but endless possibilities. We live a paradoxical status quo. We live for ourselves. We don’t dream, we act. We conquered the void and exist within the terra nullius – ruling from the penumbra of the failing world we have fled. We exist upon our divergent island of solace; devoid of quixotic ideologies.
Welcome to Heterotopia.

The revolution is over; the future is here. It was not a call to arms but a call to communities that has seen our progression into the Fifth World. We have established the ‘new, more finely fragmented social order’ based upon many more diverse and short-lived components to any other previous social system.1 The world is now ordained in uncertainty, upheaval, and anarchy. However, this has allowed us to uncover perfection through the midst of chaos. The collective action of communities – their harbouring and will – has bled influence into a dying world, leaving ‘the unsociable species, on the contrary, doomed to decay’.2 And, both the assertion and passive influence of the world’s heterotopias have become the antidote to the ‘erasure of difference’ implicit in the late capitalist world.3 These deviant communities are the cornerstone of our society; a society that oscillates between the unified anarchist state and absolutism, working to restore our understanding of freedom and suppress a debilitating plague of homogeneity.

Impermanent Perfection

Of the universally multifaceted forms of heterotopias that are granted power in our new world, there is one to suit you. Each varies in temporal and spatial character, intentions, and scope of influence. Importantly, it is your personal reaction to normative society that will dictate where you deviate to. Whether you are against, wish to briefly transgress, or otherwise just escape the dominant hegemonic culture, there is a place that will be of your interest.
That place, for many of you, will be in entities spawned within the context of the existing urban form. They are necessarily impermanent, perfect moments; offering connection and collective attachment. They are alternative environments that have significant purpose in relation to the rest of space. Heterotopias act to create ‘a space of illusion that exposes all real space’, or alternatively, become places that appear to have perfected reality.4 And, within the new social order, any endeavour to seek out a flawless experience as such is a comment on society; one imbued with lasting meaning within the context of history.

Our Defenders of Freedom

For the fighters – those who demand answers through protest and stand proudly in opposition of the oppressive forces that still exist in our contemporary world – a defiant heterotopia is to be found, where voices demand to be heard. You are the custodians of the urban fabric at the heart of civilisation; utilising the agora as your platform for maintaining our dynamic urban spaces; the ‘cultural conduit through which unrecognised groups can pose alternatives to hegemonic ideology’, and emanate prospects of change.5 You ensure our politics are played out by people in the public realm who wish to fight for the world they desire.
What is crucial is your intrinsic and confrontational connection to the city. The potential for social change relies upon heterotopias that are part of the urban landscape and not detached from it.6 You are an overt contrarian; likely enjoying a short existence. And, though your presence in the urban setting is of primary importance, you are simultaneously at the frontier of conquering the ideological battleground that dictates societal conventions.

The Sanctuary of Refuge

If it is all too much and you wish to rid yourself of the burdens that living within the constructs of society warrants, then leave. Flee civilisation. Though, you are destined to only retreat so far as you feel comfortable; till you arrive at your heterotopia of refuge. Join those who have fled the nomos in search for the absolute discontinuity of normality and instead found their sanctuary; a safe haven against the violence of society, legal or illegal.7 It exists as your isolated pocket of the earth; forever tempting you to cast roots and call it home. It may go against convention in the 5th World to tell you how to live, but be reminded – the existence of heterotopian sites of ‘absolute otherness’; distinctly disconnected from the dominant, spatial order – severely limits their ability to affect hegemonic society.8 For under the current social order, to define the distance or depth at which you wish to deviate, is to define an individual’s extent of power.

The Fifth World

The 5th World relies upon heterotopias to act as ‘constellations of all other spaces’; forming a society linked through collective action. Such action is primarily influenced by paralleled minorities that have aligned to form the majority.9 Yet, it is not a world grounded in allegiances. Instead, it thrives on individual difference. We respect and value the unique ways in which people choose to exist. Intrinsically related, both power and space have been granted to those that wish to inhabit dead space within cities; where there exists an open discourse surrounding the progression of humanity.
Through empathy, our new world understands that heterotopias exist out of necessity. To not permit their existence is to oppress, suppress, and coerce the urban fabric: to manipulate, distort and fragment it into monstrosity. We have produced a society that is not controlled and thus not contrived, rectifying our once perverted perception of liberty; an unattainable ideal when under an authoritative hierarchy of power. We are the heterotopic, self-organised societies of the 5th World, whom have sculpted the lives we dare to live, as ‘in civilisations without boats, dreams dry up, espionage replaces adventure, and the police the pirates.’ 10

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– (1984b) Des espaces autres. Une conference inédite de Michael Foucault, Architecture, Mouvement, Continuité 5 (October): 49-9