Heterotopia as choreography: Foucault’s sailing vessel

Stanger, Arabella (2016) Heterotopia as choreography: Foucault’s sailing vessel. Performance Research, 21 (3). pp. 65-73. ISSN 1352-8165

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In thinking through Michel Foucault’s concept of heterotopia, with a particular focus on the sailing vessel as the heterotopic space par excellence, this article develops an idea of ‘the choreographic’ in order to illuminate the spacetime dialectics which mobilize certain strands of utopian thought. The choreographic is defined incipiently as a place in process and theorized as the making of a situation in which space and time negate one another. The article presents a three-part inquiry through which this idea of the choreographic is used to assess propositions about utopia come-to-earth. The first part of the discussion excavates the choreographic properties of David Harvey’s model for utopian thought and practice (2000). The second part extends that excavation to questions about the spatiotemporal nature of Foucault’s sailing vessel (1986). Finally, the discussion of spacetime oscillation at sea is used to evaluate the utopian character of a lived example: the Middle Passage slave ship. Here the materialist underpinnings of Harvey’s argument are used to extend Foucault’s ideas to (or locate them in) the context of a ship that carries utopia and dystopia entwined. Ultimately, a dialectics of negation is found to be innate in choreography and is uncovered in the concept of utopia itself.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Choreography Heterotopia Utopia Michel Foucault David Harvey Slave ship
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
H Social Sciences > HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism > HX806 Utopias. The ideal state
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
P Language and Literature > PR English literature > PR0621 Drama
Depositing User: Arabella Stanger
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2017 09:53
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2017 11:57
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/69741
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