Re: [Foucault-L] Other spaces

On Thu, Nov 22, 2007 at 11:09:35PM +0100, ?sa Rosenberg wrote:
> I'm reading the "Of Other Spaces" article plus some interpretations of
> Foucaults heterotopia and while I might be able to figure this out in
> time by myself... I thought it would be interesting to hear what you
> guys think.
> I am confused as to whether heterotopia consitutes or facilitates the
> construction of other spaces. When he talks about the mirror, it seems
> that the mirror is heterotopia which makes possible the "other space"
> (the site of simultaneous reflection and contestation).
> "The mirror functions as a heterotopia in this respect: it makes this
> place that I occupy at the moment when I look at myself in the glass
> at once absolutely real, connected with all the space that surrounds
> it, and absolutely unreal, since in order to be perceived it has to
> pass through this virtual point which is over there."

Most interesting that the lecture was given *before* the May '68
revolt (although the introduction doesn't say how it was changed for
publication). Does anyone know if Foucault was connected to the
situationists in any direct way? (I know that Foucault has disclaimed
direct involvement in the event itself.) Would the influence have
been more in the one direction or the other? (Were situationist
architectural ideas popularly known before '68? I would assume
not.) If I could read French, I would read this, but I can't...

Anyway you will want to check the archives of the cleverly named Bureau
of Public Secrets: . There is something
specific there that I would point you to, but I can't recall the title
or find it with google. Apologies!

There are incidentally a few relevant comments on the "revolutionary
battle" in the Actuel discussion I mentioned in another post. Here:

Foucault: I would rather oppose actual experiences than the
possibility of a utopia. It is possible that the rough outline of
a future society is supplied by the recent experiences with drugs,
sex, communes, other forms of consciousness, and other forms of
individuality. If scientific socialism emerged from the Utopias of
the nineteenth century, it is possible that a real socialization will
emerge, in the twentieth century, from experiences.

Jean-François: The events of May were, of course, the experience of
a certain power. But this experience essentially implied utopian
discourse: May was a discourse occupying a space.

Philippe: A discourse that was inadequate. The older ideas of the Left
had only a marginal relationship to the aspirations liberated in May.
The movement could have gone much further if it had been supported
by an adequate theory, a thought capable of providing it with new

Foucault: I'm not convinced of this. But Jean-Francois has reason
to speak of the experience of power. It is of the utmost importance
that thousands of people exercised a power which did not assume the
form of a hierarchical organization. Unfortunately, since power is
by definition that which the ruling class abandons least readily and
recaptures on the first occasion, it was impossible to maintain the
experience for longer than a few weeks.

A discourse occupying a space... I do wonder what really happened in
May '68; anyone know a good account *in English*?

> But then in most other examples it seems that heterotopia IS the
> actual other space. (This is also how i see other people using the
> term, heterotopia _as_ other space).

It seems to me that heterotopias and utopias are the two types of other

[A]mong all these sites, I am interested in certain ones that have the
curious property of being in relation with all the other sites, but in
such a way as to suspect, neutralize, or invert the set of relations
that they happen to designate, mirror, or reflect. These spaces, as it
were, which are linked with all the others, which however contradict all
the other sites, are of two main types.

First there are the utopias ... There are also ... heterotopias.
I believe that between utopias and these quite other sites, these
heterotopias, there might be a sort of mixed, joint experience, which
would be the mirror.

In any case if you want a source on heterotopias the S.I. seems to me
like the best bet, not Foucault.

  • [Foucault-L] Le gouvernement de soi et des autres
    • From: Stuart Elden
  • Replies
    Re: [Foucault-L] HF to HM, Kevin Turner
    [Foucault-L] Other spaces, Åsa Rosenberg
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