‘Change life!’ ‘Change society!’ These precepts mean nothing without the production of an appropriate space […] The injunction to change life originated with the poets and philosophers, in the context of a negative utopianism, but it has recently fallen into the public (i.e. the political) domain. In the process it has degenerated into political slogans — ‘Live better!’, ‘Live differently!’, ‘the quality of  life’, ‘lifestyle’ – whence it is but a short step to talk of pollution, of respect for nature and for the environment, and so forth. The pressure of the world market, the transformation of the planet, the production of a new space — all these have thus disappeared into thin air. What we are left with, so far from implying the creation, whether gradual or  sudden, of a different spatial practice, is simply the return of an idea to an ideal state. As long as everyday life remains in thrall to abstract space, with its very concrete constraints; as long as the only improvements to occur are technical improvements of detail (for example, the frequency and speed of transportation, or relatively better amenities); as long, in short, as the only connection between work spaces, leisure spaces and living spaces is supplied by the agencies of political power and by their mechanisms of control — as long must the project of ‘changing life’ remain no more than a political rallying-cry to be taken up or abandoned according to the mood of the moment.

-Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space (1974)

livedspace is a research and publishing organisation investigating the social production of space in relation to modern and contemporary cultural production. It was founded by Bopha Chhay and Sydney Hart in 2011. Texts are published in French and English.

For comments and enquiries, please contact us at: livedspace@livedspace.org

livedspace printed matter can be found at the following locations – with more to follow.

 

221A Artist-run Centre
100-221 E Georgia St
Vancouver, Canada
 
Or Gallery Bookstore
555 Hamilton St
Vancouver, Canada
 
Art Metropole
1490 Dundas Street West
Toronto, Canada
 
X Marks the Bökship 
210/ Unit 3 Cambridge Heath Road
London, UK
 
Institute of Contemporary Arts Bookshop
12 Carlton House Terrace
London, UK
 
split/fountain
3C/23 Dundonald Street, Eden Terrace
Auckland, New Zealand