Peripheral Homes

‘Foucault uses the term heterotopia to describe spaces that have more layers of meaning or relationships to other places than immediately meet the eye … These are spaces of otherness, which are neither here nor there, that are simultaneously physical and mental.’   – Wikipedia: ‘Heterotopia (space)’

 

The city outskirts, neglected and dumped on, is the land of temporary dwellings, ranging from regimented caravan parks to neglected mobile homes. These peripheral places share space with the scrapyards, quarries, active industrial zones and abandoned industry. These are places where abandon accumulates and homes are makeshift. It is the indistinctiveness of these places, which are neither rural nor strictly urban, that gives them a strange quality of impermanence and transition. The definition of what constitutes home or community is questioned here: are these permanent dwellings or holiday homes? Places to live in or of abandonment?

For this project I have ventured outside of what is narrowly defined as urban to pursue the frisson which occurs on the edges of the city where the built up areas merge with the rural landscape. The city outskirts, neglected and dumped on, contain more layers of meaning than immediately meets the eye. My meanderings have taken me from sprawling derelict sites to unclaimed brownfield areas. This is the land of scrapyards, temporary dwellings, quarries and abandoned industry, where abandon accumulates and homes are makeshift. It is the indistinctiveness of these spaces, which are neither rural nor strictly urban, that gives them a strange quality of impermanence and transition.

Peripheral refers to things and places outside of the main vision, forgotten either because they are not thought interesting or because they remind us of things best not dwelled upon. These could be described as places where movement stalls and memory collects in a seemingly purposeless way. There is no importance attached to these particular places; as such they are places of denial. This is space which entices the imagination to fill it with association: the minor or superficial aspects become prominent. The outskirts of the city and perimeters of the landscape then become layered with meaning.

The Peripheral also relates to Freud’s concept of the unheimliche: literally the unhomely. New spaces are always old places. There is a strangeness to these peripheral places; a remembering of other times, real and imagined. If place has a memory then memory has a place here. If place is a space held in mind then these are the neglected aspects of the mind. Within this project location is purposefully kept vague to heighten the sense of dislocation. These are neither dystopias nor utopias, they are places of otherness, the antithesis of the traditional, English pastoral.

 

 

 

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