heterotopia - the promised Land


Literally speaking Heterotopia is defined as the “other” space: the mirror image of something authentic -at the same time existent and fictional. Fouceault’s Heterotopia is the point where Utopia meets Reality, and refers to the allegorical space of underlying relationships of culture and power. Towards the establishment of contemporary Israel, accomplishments over the natural environment have been used as paradigms of domination and supremacy, while notions such as memory, history & religion have been employed in order to create and consolidate national & political identity.

The transformation of the hostile Palestinian desert and the creation of archetypical communities constitute the epitome of determination and faith of the first Kibbutzim. However at the same time, with regard to the writing of History, this transformation has been used as a paradigm of supremacy in the “politics of seduction”, which does not only refer to the satisfaction of those who physically participated in these accomplishments and became part of their history, but also to the fascination of the visitor and the viewer.

Essentially Heterotopia attempts an archaeology of Geography and explores the spatial evolution of Israel, starting from the primeval landscape of the ancient MItzpe Ramon crater, and concluding to the settlements in the outskirts of Jerusalem –an established academic term used in urban studies- which is often omitted from –or rephrased in- contemporary architectural terminology in Israel, towards the reshaping of its collective consciousness.

By examining different Heterotopias –the Garden, the Kibbutz, the Army, Cemeteries, Museums etc- as well as their natural and cultural environments, my work HETEROTOPIA attempts an insight in the ways that national, political and cultural identities are shaped and reproduced in contemporary Israel.

Ultimately HETEROTOPIA explores the writing of History by looking at what has been accomplished in the name of the Promised Land.


© demetris koilalous