Heterotopia, a brief introduction

Heterotopia is opposed to the throbbing moroseness in the dark sun of daily boredom. There is lyricism in a white sheet of paper, poetry in triviality but only art can reveal it. When it becomes flesh, everyday life feels like dull suffering. Photography intervenes as a saving tool to fight against the reduction of living to a dreary and poor experience. It enables to struggle against a daily life that would leave no objective and lasting traces in memory. Its power is heroic, it sits the hysterical rush of the present and enhances life by making time perceptible and sharable with others.

Heterotopia is a phenomenological investigation of the ‘other places’. It uses photography to dissect architectural bodies into their fundamental elements and to reach a better understanding of the world we live in. The objective and austere approach has in common with the one of scientists who collect the data of their experiments. It must exhume the problematic characteristics of places and photography.

Hetero : the other, otherness. Topos : the place.

Heterotopias can be defined negatively, by what they are not. Here and nowhere, they are neither real, nor utopian but both at the same time. Places out of all places but still recorded on maps, they are the physical locations of utopias, utopias that have become matter. Their first principle of otherness is that they have an ambiguous relation to reality.

These other spaces are detached from the commonly established relation to time and have entered a temporality of their own. The linear and sovereign time of the watch is replaced with the slow, soft and suspended time of ruins, with the one of the humanist accumulation of " the stored knowledge ", or with the ever-frozen time of photography.

The spatial arrangements of these places make it impossible to superimpose them to other constructions. This privilege is granted to them by their power of topographic juxtaposition; a power that enables them to gather incompatible spaces within themselves. The series "Heterotopia, the utopian bodies" and “Heterotopia, the stored knowledge" show places in which coexist time and times, spaces and geographies from around the world.

Heterotopias are not subjected to the norms of daily life. They have the faculty to dissolve the behavioral rules that are to be followed in common places and impose to their users atypical ways and customs. The ruins in the series "Heterotopia, the tragic fall" adventure beyond good and evil, on the side of licence. The museum storage rooms in the series "Heterotopia, the utopian bodies" impose, to whom may want to use them, some restrictive behavioral protocols like the wearing of small ultra-sensitive latex gloves.

The last characteristic that defines heterotopias is the question of accessibility. These places are excluded from their topographic neighborhoods. They hide and show themselves using authoritative systems of opening and closing : passport checking, signature of contracts, small bribes, cooptation, initiation rites, bold cutter and climbing : one does not enter Heterotopia just like that.