Authors’ Reading on Heterotopias

On occasion of the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Frankfurt event location PRIVATEOFFSPACE hosted readings by both Michael Schindhelm and Henning Lobin. While Michael Schindhelm presented his book “Lavapolis”, Henning Lobin, director of the Center for Media and Interactivity (ZMI) at Giessen University, introduced “Engelbarts Traum”.


Lavapolis is the name of a fictional island in the Mediterranean, which on the one hand mirrors European realities, while on the other hand questions them. A heterotopia, according to French thinker Michel Foucault, Lavapolis is different from any utopian vision: Not a no-place, but a space of otherness. Lavapolis is different from our world, while intrically linked to it. Thus the question “What is possible?” does not only shape the book and worry the island’s residents – rather it is a challenge to question the world we live in.


Henning Lobin’s book focuses on Douglas Engelbart, the inventor of the computer mouse, and at the same time scrutinizes the question in how far the Digital Revolution changed our conception of reading and writing. According to Lobin, the option to manipulate, delete, complement or edit a text from all over the world means that we have to reconsider the meaning of texts, signs and writing.


The project “Friday in Venice” thus can be seen as a missing link: The transmedia storytelling project, initiated by Michael Schindhelm and carried out with the support of various individuals ans instutions, such as ZMI, offered the opportunity to uphold the story. Online or during the various shows (for example at the Biennale of Architecture in Venice), the audience had the opportunity to participate in the narration on the island.

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