Non-Locative Spaces


After re-watching the last episode of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, I was inspired by the non-locative space that Agent Cooper enters when visiting the Black/White lodge. It exists outside of the visible spectrum – one can only enter through a ring of sycamore trees, when Jupiter and Saturn are in alignment. Is this similar to entering alternative spaces through WiFi gateways? Could a wireless network be interpreted as an alternative room/space/world? Can one create their own custom room/space/world? Will they allow others (friends, similar groups, community) to enter their custom spaces?



In Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” the astronaut Bowman enters a portal beyond Jupiter and the infinite, arriving in a non-locative Louis XVI-style room, that maps the 4th dimension (time) on a 3d plane.



What happens when multiple people on a network create their own rooms? Does it become a shared, non-locative space? Does it grow to a city, eventually? This brings me back to Italo Calvino’s poem/prose “Invisible Cities,” wherein Marco Polo and Kublai Khan discuss “cities and memory, cities and desire, cities and designs, cities and the dead, cities and the sky, trading cities, hidden cities,” which all turn out to be the same, constantly shifting city.

Illustrations: Janet Kershaw


In Haruki Murakami’s “Wind Up Bird Chronicle,” Toru, spends more and more time in a non-locative hotel room in Tokyo, which he enters through an intangible portal at the bottom of a well. Later on, he wanders through the hotel, encountering distorted hallways and unstable rooms, revealing plot lines in non-linear progression.

With all this, I’m reminded of the counter publics that Alison Powell refers to in her thesis, as separate, autonomous spaces for groups and people that lie outside of the majority. In “Divining a Digital Future,” Dourish and Bell write that local belief systems of the Warlpiri and Kaiditch peoples of central Australia hold that a separate Dream state exists in addition to the physical landscape. This dreamscape “carr[ies] the resonances of human activities and events…patterns of habitation and settlement, migrations, meetings, battles, and births and deaths…leave their impact on the land…experience of the landscape is thus a cultural one…the topography of the land is…encountered as physical, mythical, and historical.”(80-81) Could non-locative personal and group spaces merge with a physical, mythical and historical catalogue of past events, in a community or other shared experience?