According to French philosopher Michel Foucault, heterotopias are worlds within worlds, mirroring yet disturbing what is outside. They are spaces that are somehow transgressive, or ‘other’: intense, contradictory, or transforming. Foucault provides examples: ships, cemeteries, prisons, gardens of antiquity, fairs, Turkish baths, and many more.
Within the Academy of Fine Arts of Venice offers a forty-meter-long exhibition space, where Peter Halley has created a sequence of varyingly thematized rooms that progress to a final vaulted sanctum. This videogame-like labyrinth unfolds from room to room, combining classical architectural elements such as fluted columns, cenotaphs, and a broken pediment, with wall-size digital prints, arrays of color-changing LEDs, and a large-scale laser-cut sculpture.
To further enrich the language of this narrative, Halley invited American artists Lauren Clay, R.M. Fisher, and Andrew Kuo to contribute to the installation. Working with digitally printed wall-to-wall murals, Lauren Clay and Andrew Kuo created separate chambers realizing their own individual visions. R.M. Fischer produced the totemic illuminated sculpture in the sanctum that culminates the installation. Additionally, Paris-based writer Elena Sorokina has contributed the original walls texts.