About Xenotopia

My name is Angus Cameron.  I am an academic social scientist at Leicester University in the UK.  I have a diverse disciplinary background encompassing journalism, Art History, International Relations, Critical Political Economy, Geography, State Theory and, most recently, performance art. A few key themes run through all of what I do, but these are not always represented in my more formal academic publication.  I have set up this blog as a repository for various aspects of my work that I think might be of interest to a wider readership.

In particular, the blog is an archive of various activities and events associated with my long-term interest in xenospace. Xenospaces are peculiar entities – spaces that are fictional but functional, imaginary domains that we create to do things, think about stuff or legitimate our actions at a ‘distance’. Although they tend to be described in terms that sound familiar, if we look a bit closer they are far from simple. Terms such as ‘offshore’ or ‘social exclusion’ are, for example, routinely used as though their meaning were self-evident. But if we look at them more closely, they start to appear very odd indeed. Just where is offshore? If people and communities are socially excluded, where are they?  In both cases these terms (and there are many others) play a tricky game with our spatial expectations.  Both suggest spaces that are somehow ‘external’, but without being very specific about what they are external to.  Try to come up a with a precise definition of ‘onshore’ or ‘social inclusion’ and you’ll see what I mean.  Both offshore and exclusion are, in practice, fictional spaces, but they are no less real for that.  Indeed, they are highly functional and their existence has significant material consequences for all of us.  And by that I mean not just the fact of their existence, but the possibility.

I have investigated these strange spaces over many years. This blog records and archives aspects of my engagement with them through my academic research and publication, my teaching, and through my involvement with a number of contemporary artists with similar interests. It will also reflect on some related matters, particularly the history and theory of cartography and the materiality of money, markets and economies.

Angus Cameron, June 2011

 

[My University Page]

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