Ryan Sargent    Graphic Design & Art Direction    Information   

Visual Communication & Art Direction


Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias




Michel Foucault

Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias 


Heterotopias

First there are the utopias. Utopias are sites with no real place. They are sites that have a general relation of direct or inverted analogy with the real space of Society. They present society itself in a perfected form, or else society turned upside down, but in any case these utopias are fundamentally unreal spaces.

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. 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. The mirror is, after all, a utopia, since it is a placeless place. In the mirror, I see myself there where I am not, in an unreal, virtual space that opens up behind the surface; I am over there, there where I am not, a sort of shadow that gives my own visibility to myself, that enables me to see myself there where I am absent: such is the utopia of the mirror. But it is also a heterotopia in so far as the mirror does exist in reality, where it exerts a sort of counteraction on the position that I occupy. From the standpoint of the mirror I discover my absence from the place where I am since I see myself over there. Starting from this gaze that is, as it were, directed toward me, from the ground of this virtual space that is on the other side of the glass, I come back toward myself; I begin again to direct my eyes toward myself and to reconstitute myself there where I am. 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.

As for the heterotopias as such, how can they be described? What meaning do they have? We might imagine a sort of systematic description—I do not say a science because the term is too galvanized now—that would, in a given society, take as its object the study, analysis, description, and ‘reading’ (as some like to say nowadays) of these different spaces, of these other places. As a sort of simultaneously mythic and real contestation of the space in which we live, this description could be called heterotopology.





First there are the utopias. Utopias are sites with no real place. They are sites that

have a general relation of direct or inverted analogy with the real space of

Society. They present society itself in a perfected form, or else society turned

upside down, but in any case these utopias are fundamentally unreal spaces.

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


Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias

Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias
































I feel as if using windows as a tool for creating work is limiting the production of work. Perhaps a window can be used a metaphor or framework for my practice instead? 

As a designer, I have positioned myself within a reality. A creative reality that moves and changes rapidly with time, trends and styles. Just as multiple realities layer and blend in the window, fragments of cultural and visual influences, research, institutions and experiences layer over one another and tangle together to form what I could be considered as a metaphor for my current practice.

One thing to consider is the aspect of control I have over my practice. I can alter my position, perspective and beliefs as the industry moves. It’s fluid and I can be too.

Just as I shifted into a different window which in turn changed the environment I sat in ­– I can, for example, shift into a commercial space, non-commercial space, a digital or physical space an alternative culture, subculture and so on. These shifts would create new environments for my practice thus altering the practice itself.  

To offset this, other external factors that our out of my control, can fracture and distort my practice. Characters, whether that’s fellow designers, students, clients or institutions have the power to move into and through my practice as they do in the window reflection. Perhaps constructive opinions or feedback from these characters may be the cause of these disruptions, forcing a repositioning or re-structuring of specific elements that define my practice.

Another important consideration is the reflection of myself. Yes, the work and research within my practice is a blend of multiple layers and narratives, whether that’s influences, things I may have read or visual data I have subconsciously consumed however, I am always reflected in this blend. Some of the time, my reflection will be very visible and accurate, perhaps during the creation of self-initiated works or research whereas, other times my reflection may be less visible and perhaps more of an approximation, a commercial project with multiple clients and audiences involved.

We could also consider each new window and entrance to a non-space as a new project or new body of work. Just as when I shifted to a new window, the architectures and objects changed, each project is also different and defined by a new set of objectives and outcomes. We can then use our own reflection, perspective and position to build and form and new space or brand for example.

It’s becoming considerably important to also remember the unstable nature of these spaces I navigate in. The speed of progression when we consider the tools available to designers, the speed in which trends evolve, the digitalisation of artworks and art working, the competitive nature of the industry are just some examples of reasons why my or our chosen reality is unstable and perhaps a fragile space to position ourselves in.

Importantly, windows also allow me to identify not only areas of interest to explore but tools that I may be able to use in order to communicate this research. Evidencing my previous writing on windows as both digital and physical for example, allow for a flexibility and fluidity in my methods of practice in which I can use digital tools and research whilst also exploring the physical. I may also identify performance as an example of potential output if I reference my ideas on the window being a provocation for performance. As well as this I can consider the effects of windows as areas to pursue, for example, distortion, reflection, refraction, space and heterotopias. The window becomes a framework for my practice and my further studies.  


A fiction based on this idea 


I’m crossing Honor Oak high-street towards my house on Grierson road.

I quicken my pace to avoid the pearlescent blue Mitsubishi Subaru that’s racing towards me. Its yellow rally decals reflect and flash in the bus stops advertising board for ultra-fast broadband coming soon to the area. I turn left and carry on walking up the road parallel to some of my frequented local spots. I look into each of them as a walk past, trying to catch a glimpse of the locals I might recognise. I come to the local pizza restaurant on the corner. It has, what can only be described as, high definition, widescreen television style windows that give an almost panoramic and uninterrupted view of the daily mechanics of a restaurant. I walk a little further to the intersection of my road and the high-street. I’m still gazing through the window and into the space as I make a right down my road. As I get in line with the first house something in the corner of my eye stops me in my tracks. I could have sworn I’d seen somebody waving at me in the window. I look again. There doesn’t seem to be anyone inside. Perhaps they have moved downstairs or out of site somehow. I take a step back to where I had come from. There she is! A woman waving frantically towards me. I quickly realise that she isn’t actually waving at me at all. She isn’t even in the window. Well, she is but, she isn’t on the other side of it. It’s a reflection. She’s a reflection. The overlap of the restaurants interior and the woman waving had mixed and blended together to fool me, to trick my brain. I turn around to take a look at her, almost in an attempt to convince myself of her authenticity. She isn’t there. In fact, she isn’t even close. She’s perhaps 30 yards beyond the corner of the road. It’s an odd sensation. She isn’t in my sight yet I can see her in the reflection. Not only can I see her, but she’s close to me. I can almost touch her. She is present in this new reality but not in my truest reality. I examine the reflection further. Moving left and right. Towards the glass and away from it. As I do, I realise something is happening. The architectures, vehicles, roads and bodies behind me are shifting with me or in some instances against me, opposing my movement. They are distorting and refracting depending on my perspective. My position and movement are forming and destroying new objects and structures in the space of seconds as the glass surface attempts to render my 3D space into 2D images. I align myself in the middle of one the frames. Layers of information fill the space. The interior of the structure, my road, me, all overlapping and blending together. Characters enter for a moment as they walk by. They are part of this skewed and distorted non-space without even knowing it. They leave. I stay. I’m transfixed on these new spaces forming in front of me. They are unstable. Easily Fractured by passing car headlights and movement but always reviving and reforming. I sit amongst these blended realities. I watch the narratives as they tangle around me. Is it me? Perhaps not, It’s a version of me yes, but it’s an almost inverted approximation. I’m actually viewing an alternative version of myself in an unreal space. I shift into the next window to see what happens. New objects, vehicles and architectures form the new backdrop. Another version of the alternative non-space I was just in materialises. I remain the same. Or do I? Is this in fact another version of the alternative approximation of myself I saw in the previous window? I exit the space as I continue my walk home. My thoughts begin to wander. Something feels familiar about that moment.
















I’m crossing Honor Oak high-street towards my house on Grierson road.

I quicken my pace to avoid the pearlescent blue Mitsubishi Subaru that’s racing towards me. Its yellow rally decals reflect and flash in the bus stops advertising board for ultra-fast broadband coming soon to the area. I turn left and carry on walking up the road parallel to some of my frequented local spots. I look into each of them as a walk past, trying to catch a glimpse of the locals I might recognise. I come to the local pizza restaurant on the corner. It has, what can only be described as, high definition, widescreen television style windows that give an almost panoramic and uninterrupted view of the daily mechanics of a restaurant. I walk a little further to the intersection of my road and the high-street. I’m still gazing through the window and into the space as I make a right down my road. As I get in line with the first house something in the corner of my eye stops me in my tracks. I could have sworn I’d seen somebody waving at me in the window. I look again. There doesn’t seem to be anyone inside. Perhaps they have moved downstairs or out of site somehow. I take a step back to where I had come from. There she is! A woman waving frantically towards me. I quickly realise that she isn’t actually waving at me at all. She isn’t even in the window. Well, she is but, she isn’t on the other side of it. It’s a reflection. She’s a reflection. The overlap of the restaurants interior and the woman waving had mixed and blended together to fool me, to trick my brain. I turn around to take a look at her, almost in an attempt to convince myself of her authenticity. She isn’t there. In fact, she isn’t even close. She’s perhaps 30 yards beyond the corner of the road. It’s an odd sensation. She isn’t in my sight yet I can see her in the reflection. Not only can I see her, but she’s close to me. I can almost touch her. She is present in this new reality but not in my truest reality. I examine the reflection further. Moving left and right. Towards the glass and away from it. As I do, I realise something is happening. The architectures, vehicles, roads and bodies behind me are shifting with me or in some instances against me, opposing my movement. They are distorting and refracting depending on my perspective. My position and movement are forming and destroying new objects and structures in the space of seconds as the glass surface attempts to render my 3D space into 2D images. I align myself in the middle of one the frames. Layers of information fill the space. The interior of the structure, my road, me, all overlapping and blending together. Characters enter for a moment as they walk by. They are part of this skewed and distorted non-space without even knowing it. They leave. I stay. I’m transfixed on these new spaces forming in front of me. They are unstable. Easily Fractured by passing car headlights and movement but always reviving and reforming. I sit amongst these blended realities. I watch the narratives as they tangle around me. Is it me? Perhaps not, It’s a version of me yes, but it’s an almost inverted approximation. I’m actually viewing an alternative version of myself in an unreal space. I shift into the next window to see what happens. New objects, vehicles and architectures form the new backdrop. Another version of the alternative non-space I was just in materialises. I remain the same. Or do I? Is this in fact another version of the alternative approximation of myself I saw in the previous window? I exit the space as I continue my walk home. My thoughts begin to wander. Something feels familiar about that moment.

https://www.frieze.com/article/too-slow-too-fast-lockdowns-changing-tempo

https://designopendata.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/sixmemosforthenextmillennium_italocalvino.pdf

To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction
To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction

To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction
To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction

To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction
To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction

To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction
To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction

To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction
To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction

To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction
To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction

To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction
To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction


To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction
To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction

To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction
To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction

To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction
To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction

To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction
To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction

To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction
To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction

To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction
To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction

To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction
To focus on Reflection, Distortion, Refraction

v

Through researching and writing for my dissertation I am becoming more interested in digital windows and potential of using screens as a mechanism or tool to make work around reflection, distortion and refraction.

Are screens replacing windows?
If so, what do digital reflections look like?












 

“As public buildings and domestic spaces boast image-bearing glass skins, as large-screen televisions are big enough and flat enough to substitute for real windows, as “windows” within our computer screens stream images from multiple sources, as virtual reality technologies expand from the gaming world into entertainment or daily services, the “virtual window” has become a ubiquitous portal-a “wormhole”-to pasts and futures.” – Anne Friedberg, The Virtual Window From Alberti to Microsoft

My initial interests in windows and heterotopias are now shifting towards ‘digital windows’ and the space between physical and digital windows. The digital window or frame allows us to, through a primary container, view Fragments of visual information across temporally fractured secondary frames. I’m interested in how we can affect or disrupt time using this idea as a framework. I’m also interested in digital reflection and how our screens attempt to condense as 3d environment into a 2d flat image.


“As public buildings and domestic spaces boast image-bearing glass skins, as large-screen televisions are big enough and flat enough to substitute for real windows, as “windows” within our computer screens stream images from multiple sources, as virtual reality technologies expand from the gaming world into entertainment or daily services, the “virtual window” has become a ubiquitous portal-a “wormhole”-to pasts and futures.” – Anne Friedberg, The Virtual Window From Alberti to Microsoft

My initial interests in windows and heterotopias are now shifting towards ‘digital windows’ and the space between physical and digital windows. The digital window or frame allows us to, through a primary container, view Fragments of visual information across temporally fractured secondary frames. I’m interested in how we can affect or disrupt time using this idea as a framework. I’m also interested in digital reflection and how our screens attempt to condense as 3d environment into a 2d flat image.





“As public buildings and domestic spaces boast image-bearing glass skins, as large-screen televisions are big enough and flat enough to substitute for real windows, as “windows” within our computer screens stream images from multiple sources, as virtual reality technologies expand from the gaming world into entertainment or daily services, the “virtual window” has become a ubiquitous portal-a “wormhole”-to pasts and futures.”

– Anne Friedberg, The Virtual Window From Alberti to Microsoft


The window reduces the outside to a two dimensional surface; the window becomes a screen. Like the window, the screen is at once a surface and a frame-a reflective plane onto which an image is cast and a frame that limits its view. The screen is a component piece of architecture, rendering a wall permeable to ventilation in new ways: a "virtual window" that changes the materiality of built space, adding new apertures that dramatically alter our conception of space and (even more radically) of time.

– Anne Friedberg, The Virtual Window From Alberti to Microsoft


We know the world by what we see: through a window, in a frame, on a screen. As we spend more of our time staring into the frames of movies, television, computers, hand-held displays-"windows" full of moving images, text, icons, and 3d graphics - how the world is framed may be as important as what is con­tained within that frame.

– Anne Friedberg, The Virtual Window From Alberti to Microsoft


 

“As public buildings and domestic spaces boast image-bearing glass skins, as large-screen televisions are big enough and flat enough to substitute for real windows, as “windows” within our computer screens stream images from multiple sources, as virtual reality technologies expand from the gaming world into entertainment or daily services, the “virtual window” has become a ubiquitous portal-a “wormhole”-to pasts and futures.” – Anne Friedberg, The Virtual Window From Alberti to Microsoft


My initial interests in windows and heterotopias are now shifting towards ‘digital windows’ and the space between physical and digital windows. The digital window or frame allows us to, through a primary container, view Fragments of visual information across temporally fractured secondary frames. I’m interested in how we can affect or disrupt time using this idea as a framework. I’m also interested in digital reflection and how our screens attempt to condense as 3d environment into a 2d flat image.


Consolidation

My initial interests in windows and heterotopias are now shifting towards ‘digital windows’ and the space between physical and digital windows. The digital window or frame allows us to, through a primary container, view Fragments of visual information across temporally fractured secondary frames. I’m interested in how we can affect or disrupt time using this idea as a framework. I’m also interested in digital reflection and how our screens attempt to condense as 3d environment into a 2d flat image.


So how did these screens enter our rooms? They were smuggled in, as windows. Always the interior has pivoted on the opening: the view out. Early on, we supplemented the few real openings in a wall with artificial ones: first in tapestries; the paintings;  then bulky consoles of the first television sets. Where windows mould not be made , we made our own views out. This long history led, finally, from television sets to computer screens.

Mathew Stadler text - Macguffin Mag

“The dominant window in my working reality is. My screen: I’m a screen worker. But when I look up from it, I really like to enjoy or witness that slow and spacious reality where nothing much happens.”  

- Erik Wong - Macguffin Mag





“The dominant window in my working reality is. My screen: I’m a screen worker. But when I look up from it, I really like to enjoy or witness that slow and spacious reality where nothing much happens.”  


So how did these screens enter our rooms? They were smuggled in, as windows. Always the interior has pivoted on the opening: the view out. Early on, we supplemented the few real openings in a wall with artificial ones: first in tapestries; the paintings;  then bulky consoles of the first television sets. Where windows mould not be made , we made our own views out. This long history led, finally, from television sets to computer screens.

(WINDOWS AND APPLE BACKGROUNDS, LIKE VIEWS OUT OF A WINDOW)


Jean baudrillard - screened out

Charles Arthur - it’s the screens, not the internet that are making us stupid

Sherry Turkle - life on screen

Matthew Crawford - the world beyond your head: how to flourish in an ages of distraction

https://www.samuelfouracre.com/index.html


Charles Arthur - it’s the screens, not the internet that are making us stupid

Charles Arthur - it’s the screens, not the internet that are making us stupid


F
=







How would some of my ideas surrounding windows (Access to information, mechanism of privacy, provocation of performance and so on) translate digitally if screens were in fact replacing windows? 

FINAL 

FINAL PRESENTATION FILM >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

FINAL PRESENTATION FILM >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
FINAL PRESENTATION FILM >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The film acts as my first itteration of the type of work I would like to explore making next term. It encapsulates all or as much of my research as possible whilst showing my material explorations.

Some thoughts moving forward








As they render has taken so long, this is the first time I have seen this video in its entirety so I guess it
could be considered a type of performance as I only had one shot at it. *(Desperate stretch)*

Anyway because of this I have noticed a couple of things that didn’t go to plan this time and I would like to consider for future works of this kind.
  • I would like the transitions to be much punchier and potentially more difficult to follow. I’m thinking of a data-moshing style like in this Samuel Fouracre film, D.^^.$.® >https://vimeo.com/123827006  (1:25 onwards specifically).
  • I would also love to explore the audio, in the same way, I am exploring the visuals by layering and pushing them to collapse, a form of audio reflection perhaps?
  • In this iteration of the video, the Body Double soundtrack by Pino Donaggio gets a little lost but I kind of like that. It seems to appear again in the right moments.
  • Adrian’s idea that came up today around gathering data and setting up some type of autonomous algorithm is super interesting and exciting as well so I would like to look into that. Perhaps it’s also something that connects with Scott’s project.

Anyway,

Enjoy and well done to everyone for today!

P.S The beginning of the vid is a lil bit slow and sticky ALSO PARTIAL NUDITY, although probs should have written that at the beginning.




Some 

Some Stills