The Zone and Zones - Radical Spatiality in our Times

Broj 2 - Godina 2 - 06/2012

Uvodnik

The long-expected fourth issue of [sic] – a Journal of Literature, Culture and Literary Translation offers a selection of papers presented at the second international conference entitled Re-Thinking Humanities and Social Sciences and held at the University of Zadar in September 2011. The conference topic, The Zone and Zones - Radical Spatiality in our Times, proved to have been intellectually enticing to almost one hundred scholars who managed to create a radical space of their own. Immersed into the zone of Croatian seaside filled with the aroma of pine trees and the Adriatic Sea, the zone of leisure rather than work, they managed to create an intellectual heterotopia by discussing the multilayered meanings of space. ..

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Izdvojeno

Jedan je čovjek rekao: „Najljepše godine moga života su ondje, u prašini eksplozije.“Zaspali su u kukuruzu. Ništa ne čuju, ništa ne vide. Mladi su. Kukuruz ih štiti.Operaciju su najavili u tisku. Televizija, radio ponavljaju informaciju, riječi naviru, uporne, i ako se rečenica izgubi od jedne do druge sobe, rekonstituirat će se između kuhinje i balkona. Čuje se: „rušenje… problemi… zone… stambeni park… prenaseljenost… predgrađe… dotrajalost… rušenje… eksploziv… stambena četvrt… deset nebodera…“ Shvaćamo da će već mjesecima zazidani neboderi biti srušeni. Barem je to jednostavno. Iz jednog se nebodera preselila u drugi. Kad je suprug došao po nju u selo, odmah je pristala. Sve te godine u kući koja nikad neće biti njezina. Od prvog je dana znala da je majka njenog supruga neće voljeti. Nije ju zlostavljala, ignorirala ju je, kao da ona nije bila majka djece njenog najstarijeg sina. Svekrva ju je intrigama pokušala odvojiti od dječaka kako bi ih poslala da žive s ocem jer ona nije bila dostojna odgajati sinove, a kćeri, to je manje važno, one mogu ostati s majkom. U dvjema sobama kuće koja nije njena kuća čekala je dan kad će je suprug izbaviti od prešutnog i podmuklog proganjanja. Otputovala je s djecom, svekrva je plakala, htjela je otići s najstarijim sinom u drugu zemlju. Starica je ostala u svojoj kući....

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On the basis of ever-mounting evidence, amongst which is the “zone” problematic of the Zadar conference that occassioned these notes, it can be concluded that the spatial turn has insinuated itself as an all-pervading heuristic tool throughout the humanities and the social sciences. The extent to which space and spatiality have usurped the central stage in the various branches of reasearch can be gauged by admonishments that what we are witnessing is a new fundamentalism that has simply inverted the terms of the dualism of time and space (May and Thrift 2001: “Introduction”). According to Michael Dear the sway of space is manifested in multifold ways: in the ubiquity of spatial analysis in social theories and practices; in the explosion of publications devoted to the exploration of the interface of the social and the spatial; in the reintegration of human geography into various domains of knowledge; in the focus given to difference and the consequent diversification of theoretical and empirical practices; in a theoretically informed exploration of the relation between geographical knowledge and social action; and, finally, in the unprecedented proliferation of research agendas and publications pertaining to these isuuses (Dear 2001: 24). Two recent collections of papers are indicative of the ubiquity of spatial issues in scholarly work....

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Shurina soba miriše po njoj, miriše tmasto i na mladost. Kad je dignem iz kreveta, obraz joj je naslonjen na moje rame, ali pridigne glavu i natjera se otvoriti oči, bojeći se da nešto ne propusti. „Mama, igramo se nešto?“„Da, milo, igramo novu igru.“ Pitam se može li osjetiti miris viskija na meni. Malo sam omamljena, ali nekako sam i bistra kao voda. Nosim Shuru iz njene sobe u kuhinju, tijelo joj je opušteno i toplo u mom naručju. „Moraš popiti ovaj vilinski napitak, dušo, a onda ćemo prileći.“„Na pod?“„Da, ljubavi, tu na pod. Vidiš, napravila sam nam udoban krevet.“Dodajem joj čašu i ona polako guta; stisnula je usne na gorki okus, ali pristaje na igru, smjestivši se na jastuk koji sam stavila na pokrivač na pločicama. „Laku noć, mamili“, kaže Shura, njezine zadnje riječi. Odem do štednjaka i sve plamenike otvorim na najjače, zatim legnem kraj nje. Put u Irsku je dobro prošao. Unajmili smo auto u Dublinu – zlo, smrdljivo mjesto – i krenuli na zapad prolazeći kroz jedan ružni grad za drugim do Connemare. Ondje se kopno otvara prema Atlantiku kao mladenka svome mladoženji; neukroćeno je to, gorko lijepo mjesto kamena i vode. Naša kućica na proplanku bila je oronulo zdanje uz rub močvare hrđave boje. No Ted je vjerovao u svoju poeziju pa je sve bilo glađe i podnošljivije. Ni Sylvijina glava nije ležala na jastuku između nas kao kod kuće u Engleskoj. ...

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Featuring as one of the privileged metaphors in humanities and social sciences, theatre provides primarily an image of a circumscribed space whose spatial syntax and modes of human engagement take place within and with respect to the larger space of the city, the world, and, as in Calderon’s Gran teatro del mundo, the universe. It is precisely as a special organization of spatiality that theatre reached the status of Foucault’s radical hetero-topos, flexible as it proved to be as a model for not only counter-representing all the human dealings in the external space, but also of conceptualizing, as in Freud’s psychoanalysis, man’s inner world, his psychic topography. But theatre is above all a concrete place, a built form with its own spatial history, its changing social and ideological functions, and its ways of bestowing to the bodies that enter into it actual or phantasm identities, thoughts, sensations, feelings and memories.My intervention will deal with one of the ruling borders/dichotomies/barriers of theatrical space, the one dividing “front stage” from “backstage” regions. In his detailed analysis of the latter in an individual and concrete theatre building, Andrew Filmer relies among others on Edward Soja’s “trialectics of being”, and thus also on Lefebvre’s categories of perceptual, conceptual and lived aspects of spatiality which Soja evokes, which will here be of particular interest. In contrast to the repercussions of such an analytical triad for the ethnographic study of concrete theatrical sites, I will ask how it pertains to potential manipulations of the aforementioned division of front-stage and backstage within contemporary performance practice. The temporal aspect of this manipulation should also be emphasized, having in mind the historical provenance of a whole backstage mythology – evidenced in numerous novels, plays and films situated in the backstage world - in the elaborated architectural designs of the so-called théâtre a l’italienne. It is its 19th century version, especially after the introduction of the electric light, that sharpened the separation between the darkened auditorium, the enlightened stage and the invisible space behind, where the actors prepared themselves for the entrance, and where the stage-hands of technicians assured the smoothness of the contrivance. Given the fact that 20th century European theatre history is crucially marked by attempts at breaking free from the coercions of such theatre architecture, with all its ingrained power relations, and particularly the ways in which it dictates the actor-audience relationships, contemporary come-backs to this type of theatre in the form of site-specific performances requires some further theoretical and interpretive elaboration....

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