Heteropolis. Published by Adaptive Actions. Montreal, 2013, 320 pages, soft cover. Colour / black and white. Bilingual, French and English texts.
Instead of being limited to a reflection on the concept of heteropolis, this remarkable publication actually uses the book form to mobilize and embody it. For Adaptive Actions, the collective and platform behind the heteropolis book project is not so much about the coexistence of heterogeneous elements in urban space, but rather a “project that is yet to be developed… an inquiry that could reveal hidden conditions that might activate its development.” After the opening interview with the theorist Michael Hardt, which sets down some of the central ideas, pertaining to the concept of heteropolis and its ramifications, the book follows with 52 other contributions that are presented in a wide range of forms such as texts, drawings, stories, scans of legal documents, photographs, captions, diagrams and so on, each providing a particular inflection of a heteropolis. One can enter the volume anywhere and connect any proposed adaptive action with any other of the presented actions, creative projects and analytical or narrative texts, which focus variously on trans-border spaces, physically, legally or financially gated enclaves, imagined future communities for the 1%, various urban interventions in Montreal, Tirana, Beirut or Shanghai and intriguing micro-cultural locales in NY or Miami to name but these. This richly documented, imaginative and well-thought out journey through a textual-visual space not only reveals the global heteropolis in our midst, it also triggers one’s desire to engage in an adaptive action of one’s own.