Gail Ritchie Contemporary Art
Tonight is Hallowe'en. The clocks have already gone back and other strange things - if you believe in them - are afoot. Temporal and spatial ambiguities were described by Foucault in his 1967 essay 'Of other places' and it was here that he used the terms heterotopias (places) and heterochronias (times) to discuss the liminality of a dizzying range of objects, locations and events from mirrors to museums, from fairgrounds to brothels and from retirement homes to prisons. According to Foucault, all societies had heterotopias; places that existed but were hidden, forgotten or ignored despite their reality. In these places, time was made strange. We all know the spookiness of cemeteries and mausoleums, especially at this time of the year but I wondered if Foucault's ideas could be applied to the monument or memorial. Shown above is a response to this in the form of a digital collage. A field of stubbled wheat is out of focus and something has appeared in the sky to disrupt the pattern of the clouds. Its surface shimmers and reflects a landscape which we cannot see. Foucault's ideal hereotopia was a ship because it is a space that that is self contained and yet floats on another infinite space, the sea. For me, thinking memorially, it is something that is unmoored, adrift, reflective and disruptive. Something that mirrors a multiplicity of pasts as it floats into unknown futures. We do not have to stand before it in sombre thought. It finds us when we need it. Happy Hallowe'en!
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