across, beyond, through : : critique, fantasy, technology
Place and non-place are rather like opposed polarities: the first is never completely erased, the second never totally completed; they are like palimpsests on which the scrambled game of identity and relations is ceaselessly rewritten.
- Marc Auge
Topia, derived from the Greek word topos, means place. For some time, places have been the subject of architecture and theory, including ideas on genius loci, critical regionalism, supermodernity, and the generic city. As such, places may freight phenomenological ideas about a region, visionary social provocations, or dystopic economic or political fictions. As a utopia, place is a space of exception and critique, imagined as an alternative to real or perceived persecution or opportunity. As an e-topia, place is reconfigured by and through efficient technological systems and interfaces. Places have numerous meanings and operate at different scales, such as areas of land, or imagined communities. Taken together, places inspire or caution us against conditions of culture, society, environment, political structures, economic regimes, and emergent technologies. Our consideration of place can be thought of as real or imagined, defined or diffused, lasting or ephemeral. In this issue of [TRANS-] journal, we ask contributors to examine the various qualities of place, how and why places are created, and the persistence and permutations of place in architecture and related fields.
Topia as [place, space, non-place]
At its root, the notion of place has long been explored through lenses of phenomena, environment, social connection, and experience. The relationship between place has been juxtaposed and contrasted with conceptions of space and non-place, generating a series of debates. Ultimately, these debates aim to investigate what constitutes place and how the physical, material, social, and phenomenologic illuminate our perception of place. Is space an abstracted form of place, activated by experience? How do people shape or inform place and non-place, and vice versa?
Place as [built or unbuilt] Critique
The creation of a place can be an act of critique. As such, place may be the antidote to non-place urban realms or a utopian alternative. Places can provide separate states of existence, identities, social structures, laws, and relations to the environment. In particular, utopias can point out social inequalities, environmental injustices, adversity, struggle, and corruption. On the other hand, dystopias parlay disillusionment if not totalitarian experiments. When built, how do places, utopias, and dystopias present social, political, economic, or environmental critiques? How does the unbuilt condition question conceptions of built places and their impacts on these critiques?
Place as [built or imagined] Fantasy
Places can present fantasies that manifest in many forms related to music, art, literature, architecture, film, and photography. These fantasies may mirror real experiences or depict uncharted worlds. Places may impart fantasy in a number of ways—as cautionary tales, visionary fables, escapist entertainment, or harbingers of technological or social progress. Imagined visions may serve as important introspective tools that drive society forward. Built visions may serve as immersive environments, cut off from the world. What characterizes fantastical places? How are they visionary or separate from the everyday world?
Place [time] and Technology
The components and systems of technology challenge place-based thinking. Technologies can distort the relationship between space and time, distance and speed, as well as simulation and reality. Through speed or artifice, technology can alter how place is comprehended and operate as benevolent or dystopic agents. How do technologies aid or hinder the definition of place? How do technologies reconfigure place, space and time? What are the risks and promises for place and society?
The Call ::
[TRANS-] topia is looking to the architecture and related fields for research and creative work that addresses the concept of topia. We welcome original works in any form that can be reproduced in two-dimensions. Please limit written submissions to 3000 words. When applicable, include figure captions, endnotes for citations and sources, and prepare all images as separate .tif files (at least 600dpi). A brief 100-word biography of the author and 300-word abstract or description of the project are also required. Submit work via email by March 11, 2019. For questions, please visit us at www.transjournal.org or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.