While the world reels, reconfigures, and recovers from the drama and trauma of 2020, wishing to thwart the effects of grief and comprehend what was once incomprehensible, there is all good reason to turn our
imagination to ‘what ifs’, dreams, and other speculations as an antidote to hopelessness. This issue calls for contributions that consider the unlikely, improbable or downright impossible in spatial design. In recent history, fictions, fantasies and fabulations have offered productive opposition to the rampant instrumentality of pragmatism and functional planning. Their impact has instilled optimism, sparked alternative visions, and been sites of countless critiques of conformity and the status quo. Loosely defined
impulses towards the unrealisable and the most illogical of things approached in the most logical of ways have led to unparalleled episodes of creativity in drawings, poems and material production. From Piranesi, Peter Greenaway, Kurt Schwitters, Dora Maar, Hans Op de Beeck, Ursula Le Guinn, John Hejduk, to Danielb Libeskind, explorations of the impossible have led to new interpretative frontiers that move the limits of interiority and spatial practices. Lest we not forget or become complacent with the contributory and often unrecognised impact of contemporary social media, advertisement, and technological surveillance that continues to shape interior worlds, experiences, and values. In many ways, there is as much focus on unpacking, making sense of and disproving the dangerous impacts of fictions, fantasies and fabulations as there is on setting the scene for dreams and magical realities.
This issue recognises the complex story of fictions, fantasies and fabulations in spatial design, not as counter-productive forces, but as the necessary counter-balances which offer liberty from convention, propriety, and rational assumptions about behaviour, space, time, and material—the core elements of interior worlds. Far from retreating into solipsistic escapism, fictions, fantasies and fabulations serve as crucialsites for speculative invention, futuring, and critical reflection. Resistant to the reductive inertia of pragmatism, these generative properties reign in that mercurial shadow world of meaning and value not directly associated with cause and effect.
The issue is intended to frame an open examination and exploration of the fictions, fantasies and fabulations in spatial and interior practices. It prompts us to draw, write, perform and record the critical edge of the unrealisable in an era that has literally experienced the limits of reason. As described by poet Franny Choi, there is no more time for poetry without stakes because ‘people are literally dying.’ There is no more time for creative practices that don’t ask questions that we ‘truly don’t know the answer to.’(1) Choi’s sentiments air a sense of urgency for relevance as much as they point to the value and agency of poetic meaning and making in artistic, spatial and interior practices.