A city square is occupied by hundreds of shouting voices, and transformed by hundreds of sleeping bodies building together a polis for action as well as a home for repose. High-rises are erected and builders hunch and squat in tight quarters, catching breath between shifts. As houses are boarded up, the occasional scene of an underground bench occupied by a bundled figure under blankets becomes more frequent.

Shifter’s 21st issue, Other Spaces, considers the body as a site where architecture’s traditional polarities of private and public collapse. This polarity, mirrored in the distinctions we draw between individual and social freedoms and domestic and political action, are challenged every day by spontaneous, collaborative re-imaginings of space.

“Other Spaces” considers the body as a self-sufficient albeit precarious architecture. It not only builds, but also becomes the very material with which to build. Tremulous bodies alone and together out the sacred dictum that not only divides private and public space but also interior and exterior space, improvising and instituting another space that was always and already here.

This issue of Shifter invites artists, writers and critical thinkers to reflect upon and imagine those other spaces that are coming to be and that are yet to be imagined in the social transformations of our present. Other Spaces may appear to be an Atlas, but it may just as well be read as a diary.

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