The Dark Side of the Rainbow – Michel Foucault

Heterotopia – Digital Image by Vicki Weetman 2012

Heterotopias are meant to disturb us. Foucault tells us that their otherness inverts our everyday space causing us to look outside of ourselves.  All of the motifs within this image are examples of heterotopias, the feeling is intentionally dark and disturbing. Included in this graphic is the boat, Foucault’s heteropian site ‘par excellence’, and this boat represents the ‘ship of fools’ which carries the passenger ‘par excellence’, the insane madman.  As a floating asylum, the ship of fools is a both a prison and a place of freedom on wide open sea and as such represents the resistance some heterotopic sites have to opening and closing to everyone but a few.

Heterotopias – Roadside memorials


Roadside memorials are not mentioned in Foucault’s list of Heterotopias yet they have become increasingly important within modern culture as sites of grieving and memorial, often tended with as much care and thought as a real gravesite.  This distinction as a place of ‘difference’ inside our everyday space, closed to all except those for whom it has meaning,  certainly qualifies the roadside memorial as a heterotopic site.  There is continued debate over whether roadside memorials should be allowed.  Many view roadside memorials as a distraction and therefore a danger to other motorists while others see them as important places for expressions of grief, and subsequently serve as a warning to the dangers of the road.   Sensitivities are particularly roused around the fact that the memorials are often erected on public land, the memorial site carving out a very private closed space within a ‘open to all’ public space.

Roadside memorials would seem to be a site for more sustained sociological investigation particularly in regards to it’s proliferation and resistance and the meaning behind both.

We’re not in Kansas anymore. Edward Soja

Thirdspace – Digital Image by Vicki Weetman 2012

Chess is called the ‘great game’ and the knight is the one piece that can move through three spaces, even if those intervening spaces are occupied, thus it and the game itself become a conceptual piece.  Using the motifs of space, time and the interaction between the board pieces, Thirdspace is, as Lefebvre states, a representation of space.

Postmodern Spaces


Edward Soja gives a talk on the very postmodern, fragmented space of the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles. From the outside the Bonaventure does not stand out from the high-rise office buildings that surround it, however the internal space is  confusing. The interior of the Bonaventure is purposely built to disrupt our logical and linear understanding of building space, even the entry is hard to find, and like another very famous hotel you may ‘check in but you can never leave’…that is until you find one of the establishment to help you.