Art, Spatiality, and Politics

A Home for the Bewildered: the Paradox of Concert Hall and Heterotopia

Free Admission


Mena Mark Hanna


Lecture in English

In 1967, Michel Foucault described his current epoch as one being concerned with space, that is, a space which is geographic or liminal, political or ideological, occupied or free. With an increasing preoccupation with space in late capitalism, Foucault’s concern grows into disquietude, using artistic spaces, for example, to engage with the politics of land use, race, and sustainability, or using concepts of decoloniality and critical whiteness to critique some of our most hallowed artistic spaces.

This lecture series will engage with space, cultural and performative practice, and political engagement in the arts, pivoting around the following set of evolving questions: What are spaces of exclusion and inclusion in artistic practice? In what ways can art contribute to spatial justice? How are spaces racialized and segregated artistically? And how do artistic spaces capture, reflect, or comment upon socio-political ideologies?


Mena Mark Hanna
A Home for the Bewildered: the Paradox of Concert Hall and Heterotopia

In attempting to describe the concert hall and its functions as a heterotopia, I am essentially trying to explain certain types of “otherness” that can be experienced through the concert hall. As a cultural and discursive space, the concert hall experience can be transformative, perturbing, and contradictory, an extension, I argue, of a classical music culture industry that has exclusive norms, practices, social contracts, and orders.

The concert hall is a distillation of one of the most curious paradoxes at the heart of the classical music experience: how can the same thing be seen as being, simultaneously, so universal and so exclusionary to different people? I propose an answer rooted in postcolonial discourse.

The lecture series will be video-streamed live on the website and on the YouTube channel of the Barenboim-Said Akademie.

Lecture Series

Promoter & ticket sales

Pierre Boulez Saal | Französische Straße 33 D, Berlin, Germany