Rachel Wilberforce takes her photographic inspiration from Foucault, notably his notion of heterotopia:
“As we know, the great obsession of the nineteenth century was history: themes of development and arrest, themes of crises and cycle, themes of accumulation of the past, a great overload of dead people, the threat of global cooling. The second principle of thermodynamics supplied the nineteenth century with the essential core of its mythological resources. The present age may be the age of space instead. We are in an era of the simultaneous, of juxtaposition, of the near and the far, of the side-by-side, of the scattered. We exist at a moment when the world is experiencing, I believe, something less like a great life that would develop through time than like a network that connects points and weaves its skein”. Michel Foucault (1984)
My practice engages the relationship between our interior and exterior worlds and approaches landscape, the body and architecture as interchangeable. In photographing empty spaces or reworking found imagery and objects; I draw from the residual and trace, and issues of memory and transition in detailing its history and presence. These spaces, outside of the ordinary, are linked to Foucault’s concept of ‘heterotopia:’ “something like counter-sites, a kind of effectively enacted utopia in which the real sites… found within the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted… It makes the place that I occupy when I look at myself in the glass at once absolutely real, and absolutely unreal” (1967). Heterotopology introduces a way of reading and diversifying space. Here, with different aspects of ‘formal’ heterotopias – an heterotopian play of elements, without settling. In our modern life, things can become dislocated, non-fixed and overlooked, and my work attempts to convey this feeling through evoking both a distance and sense of empathy with my subject matter. We can interpret our material world from our imprints and how we project ourselves (some truths some fiction) onto it, and vice versa. In so doing, my work considers the ways we (un)knowingly assimilate, appropriate or reject societal ideologies. In an attempt to reflect on what is revealed, it questions what could or might have been, and what can still be.
I am currently exploring the geometric, spatial and the psychological within different spaces and dimensional formats, via sculpture and photography.
Source: Heterotopian Studies