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The Abject Heterotopia: Le Città Invisibili and ‘Junkspace

Li, XA; (2016) The Abject Heterotopia: Le Città Invisibili and ‘Junkspace. Forum for Modern Language Studies , 52 (1) pp. 70-80. 10.1093/fmls/cqv052. Green open access

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Abstract

This article explores and compares the spaces of abjection in Italo Calvino's Le città invisibili and the ‘Junkspace’ of contemporary cities, as theorized by the architect Rem Koolhaas. Depicted as being simultaneously devastating and scatological as well as exhilarating and aesthetic, abject space is revealed to be paradoxical and disturbing, a formlessness that puts place and identity into suspense. Here, Foucault's notion of heterotopia serves as a perspective from which the nature of this abject space can be better understood. The characteristics of heterotopia – such as heterogeneity, disorientation, fragmentation – are reflected in both the fictional space of Le città invisibili and the concretely lived space of Koolhaasian architecture. But in addition, the abject heterotopias in Calvino and Koolhaas rethink and challenge the Foucauldian heterotopia, for they break down Foucault's oppositions between heterotopia and utopia, offering greater critical potentiality and even utopian implications.

Type: Article
Title: The Abject Heterotopia: Le Città Invisibili and ‘Junkspace
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/fmls/cqv052
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/fmls/cqv052
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10082494
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