Heterotopia - The Promised Land


The word heterotopia literally translates as the “other” space: the mirror image of something authentic -at the same time existent and fictional. Michel Foucault’s heterotopia is the point where utopia meets reality, an allegorical space where underlying relationships of culture and power are re-framed. In 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 desert and the creation of archetypal settlements and communities constitute the epitome of determination and faith of the first Kibbutzim.  At the same time, however, this transformation has been used as a paradigm of supremacy, both in a logic of seduction aimed at the fascination of the visitor and the viewer, as well as a creation of a condition of self-recognition for those actively engaged as agents in these interventions which in turn become part of their history.

«HETEROTOPIA» explores the topographic evolution of Israel, from the primeval landscape of the ancient MItzpe Ramon crater, to the artificial gardens in the Kibbutz, to the settlements in the outskirts of Jerusalem. By examining different heterotopias –the Garden, the Kibbutz, the Army, Cemeteries, Museums etc- as well as their interrelated environments, «HETEROTOPIA» attempts an insight into the ways that national, political and cultural identities are shaped and reproduced in contemporary Israel and explores the writing of History by looking at what has been accomplished in the name of the Promised Land.


© demetris koilalous