The space in which we live, which draws us out of ourselves, in which the erosion of our lives. our time and our history occurs, the space that claws and gnaws at us, is also, in itself, a heterogeneous space. In other words, we do not live in a kind of void, inside of which we could place individuals and things. We do not live inside a void that could be colored with diverse shades of light, we live inside a set of relations that delineates sites which are irreducible to one another and absolutely not superimposable on one another.
There are also, probably in every culture, in every civilization, real places – places that do exist and that are formed in the very founding of society – which are something like counter-sites, a kind of effectively enacted utopia in which the real sites, all the other real sites that can be found within the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted. Places of this kind are outside of all places, even though it may be possible to indicate their location in reality. Because these places are absolutely different from all the sites that they reflect and speak about, I shall call them, by way of contrast to utopias, heterotopias.
Michel Foucault. Of other spaces (1967)
For the next two months coming (December + January), we decided to explore the notion of heterotopias in cinema. According to Foucault, the cinema (building) itself is an heterotopia in its ability of allowing several overlapping spaces to exist. A room with a two dimensions screens where a three dimensions world is able to exist. Heteropias in cinema (films) are therefore increasing the amount of overlapping worlds and thus question the status of reality of any of those worlds.
Foucault distinguish two main types of heterotopias. The first one is called crisis heterotopias ie. privileged or sacred or forbidden places, reserved for individuals who are, in relation to society and to the human environment in which they live, in a state of crisis: adolescents, menstruating women, pregnant women, the elderly, etc. The second one is called heterotopias of deviation: those in which individuals whose behavior is deviant in relation to the required mean or norm are placed.
We will probably focus more on this second type of heterotopia through cinema and try to observe in them their poetical and political aspects.picture: Stalker from Andrei Tarkovky (1979)