This web site is devoted to Michel Foucault’s ideas on heterotopia. Foucault outlines the notion of heterotopia on three occasions between 1966-67. He attempts to explain certain principles and features of a range of cultural and institutional spaces that are somehow ‘different’ from the ones we inhabit day-to-day.
Foucault simply presents a few thumb-nail sketches which he never develops into a coherent idea. And yet his tantalisingly brief words on the subject have provoked a cottage industry of interpretations and applications from many disciplines and professions throughout the world.
Over the years a dazzling variety of spaces has been explored as illustrations of heterotopia, including: Arab-Islamic architecture, environmental installations, libraries, museums, Masonic lodges, early factories, gardens, performance prototypes, women’s colleges, sites in Fascist Italy, landscapes, gated communities, Buddhist sites, bandrooms, pornographic sites, cybercafés, shopping malls, burial sites and the body of the vampire!
Writers, artists, academics and many others have shown an interest in heterotopia. The web seems a particularly suitable place to explore Foucault’s diverse notion of ‘different spaces’. Rather than trying to draw together a definitive understanding of this curious spatial concept, the site will explore its possibilities (warts and all!).
This site offers background information, reviews of various interpretations and applications, specific studies of sites related to gardens and cemeteries and a full bibliography.
This site aims to be the hub of a network of contributions. Please add comments to individual pages and send in your own text and suggested links. The site is self-funded, so any financial contributions from individuals or organisations would greatly help to sustain the site and develop its potential.