de/ en
„Bunker-TV, TV-Bunker:
Heterotope Mechanismen am Beispiel
von Schutzbauwerken und (Fernseh-)Serien“

(Ph.D. - philosophiae doctor/Doctor of Philosophy)

This thesis surveys two fields using an interdisciplinary approach: In a scientific and theoretical way on the one hand and a practical and artistic way on the other hand the dissertation tries to deal with real and abstract forms of shelters (such as bomb shelters, gated communities, global defence programs and the firewall on your computer or surrounding whole countries) and fictional forms of serial narration - especially on television or on tv-ish forms.
Those fields seem to be vastly different and for many reasons incomparable: one so-called entertainment and the other a possible part of war. Of course the often deadly and violent backgrounds of bomb shelters and the politics that led to their construction especially in Germany during World War II have to be mentioned and analysed: the exlution and later the killing of innocent people based on an cruel ideology of "them" and "us".
The frame joint that is used in this dissertation to tie those fields and to function as the theoretical base of the entire thesis makes obvious how omnipresent such mechanisms still are - sometimes in different forms, sometimes not deadly on first sight. These mechanisms can be called heterotopic. The concept of French philosopher Michel Foucault - the heterotopia - is often used and discussed. Critics say the concept is inconsistent - first of all because Foucault defined it twice (1966/1967) and created a discrepancy between his two drafts. However a more close analyses of his theory shows that the heterotopia is useful and in some way consistent respectively its inconsistence is consistent in itself: to describe how our real or virtual world is divided into spaces or at least two rooms, that are linked to another and are not, that rely on each other or act as opposites to each other. You see the general idea of heterotopia is nether good or bad respectively their are many connotations to both fields/to certain heterotopias which lead to sometimes positive forms (intercultural dialogues) and/or negative, sometimes extreme and deadly phenomenons (like mentioned above). But the heterotopic theory includes a third space, a space between where different opinions clash or a synthesis can be achieved. The heterotopia can be described as a serial phenomenon: stagnation, progression, repeating itself. A few examples: In ancient times a king/queen based his/her power on "the other" - in that case a divine power. The other can be an unreachable space, a stereotype. Not knowing what it is made of, we just assume something, sometimes in discriminating ways. Even worse some accepted stereotypes lead to exclude the other no matter what: For examples Jews and/or forced labours were - according to the cruel fascistic ideology/a baseless racial "concept" - not allowed in German shelters during the Nazi regime. Ideologies of such or in other ways heterotopic movements often promise some kind of goal to reach but they need the other/an enemy to exists - their goals are changed accordingly many times. Certain rooms conserve certain opinions - sometimes the world seemed more orderly during Cold War. Nowadays we can witness that many movements are a reaction to uncertainties or the feeling that the world is darker then ever, that truth seems never or nowadays nowhere to find. Those feelings are often a result of more "awareness": Via many news channels and the internet of course certain problems become more obvious than 20-30 years ago when global problems often just were not of any interest or just were not accessible. The illusion of more orderly times finds continuance in strict political movements or simple narratives on television: Everything we be all-right next week!
Continuing, back to other examples: The jail is - in a heterotopic sense - a room that marks crime, makes it visible-invisible behind huge walls - a bipolar world can be emphasised this way (very simple: good and bad), the jail is a station in some peopleīs lives. A vacation shows us another space - perhaps including another narration (compared to work), some theme parks recreate long gone eras or futuristic/imagined ones and their narrative structures, in cinemas we can immerse into a flat but involving world on the screen - for a short time the two rooms overlay one another: the audience room here and the action on the screen there; but the immersion can become extreme, letīs call it uberimmersion - so that the normal room/the process of passing the threshold is forgotten: In a conclusion you can get lost in-between (perhaps in a refugee camp not knowing what to come/what will happen to the space you have left) or you accept willingly or under force that the new room is your normal room - finally the heterotopy is a question of perspective, too: The normal room can become a heterotopy, the heterotopy a normal room. But those grey areas can remind us that the world is more than black and white ... that there is the possibility of dialogue. Especially the modern tv series - the serial/the so-called qtv serial - discusses different perspectives and that the world has many colours. Further examples: The museum shows us different times - it although tries to conserve those periods, in a serial sense time seems standing still. By the way: Such curating always runs the risk of being reinterpreted according to present parameters. Carnival seems to be some kind of excess but it is - of course - confined to a certain amount of time - and you are not really allowed to do anything what you want, the police is there if necessary. Carnival is some kind of outlet. Festivals return on a regular basis. The transgression of a threshold forces us to accept certain rules: narrative patterns or house rules - or that we are ageing ... suddenly the clubs seem very loud! The heterotopy can arise without intention, it can be a planed space - like a colony (But we have to realise that those spaces were not empty!), some people may want to control it, every participant co-creates it (according to or as a deduction of moderne media theory such as ANT). Even the human being is some kind of heterotopia in itself - different subjects, again for work and leisure perhaps - like famous German poet says "Two souls alas! are dwelling in my breast." (Goethe) - perhaps there are even more ... and so on

The thesis first surveys both fields and their characteristics separated from each other, than takes a deeper look into Foucaultīs works to carve out a more valid concept of the heterotopia including some theories similar to the ideas of Foucault (for example Auge, Soja ...). Than both fields are questioned according to a deduced catalogue of seven points.

The practical and artistic side of this thesis tries to exemplify the previously described phenomenons. On the other hand these art projects are a source of the theoretical part.
Three projects were created within this doctoral thesis: "Habitat 1", "Habitat 2", "Habitat 3" - in a way a progressive serial form or a "classic" structure consisting of three acts. The three projects deal with heterotopia on many levels: in their stories, in their narration, in their acoustic and visual style. As mentioned above not only real objects can be understood as heterotopic - serials on television or even a book have thresholds: beginning with the cover, an intro, than there are distinct narrative forms - for example the mysterious rules of a fantasy universe (dragons and so on on "Game of Thrones", which is - behind this instance - a parable on politics).

    "Habitat 1" is a small study to explore serial conception. This short serial consists of two five minute episodes. It is an ensemble series playing in the near future. An ideal state is failing, its people try to escape, so the regime builds a huge wall to separate their heterotpia from the other side. The episodes were filmed in 16:9 and fulldome - to compare the aesthetic of illusive immersion within different media.

    "Habitat 2" is the main part of this thesis, it is a film of 22 minutes - the first act of the pilot episode. In a what if scenario the cold war becomes a real conflict during the mid 80s - a group of people finds themselves in the bunker of the GDR government: separated from their loved ones, separated from each other due to social differences and rank. But there is something odd about this situation - as if the heterotopia is controlled from somebody else ...

    "Habitat 3" is a concept of a publication: the book as kind of a bunker/a heterotopia, the content as a topia. A interdisciplinary team (of practical and theoretical nature) tries to create an introductive approach to illustrate serial narration - primarily on television. Economic concepts, qtv schemas and the structures of several television flows will be described. The book simulates the structure of television and tv-ish forms: So all text series/serials are subdivided in several episodes that follow each other in a random interval. Only via typographic markers and the layout their are separated or the other way round: connected. The book --- "Vier Typen seriellen Erzählens im Fernsehen" ("Four Types of Serial Narration on Television") --- was published subsequent to the ph.d. publication: late 2017/early 2018.

URN (Uniform Resource Name) of Ph.D. Thesis by Soenke Hahn:

› Read The Dissertation - official published in two pdfs (German) + six videos (standard definition) via Open Access/OPUS Bauhaus University Weimar
Location: ›



  • "Habitat 2"
    Serial Concept/
    Sample of Pilotīs 1st Act: 16:9 (HD)
    ca. 22 min., 2015/2016/2017,
    Part of Dissertation

    › more

  • "Habitat"
    Film/Short Serial: 16:9 (HD) und Fulldome (3k)
    ca. 2x5 min., 2013, Part of Dissertation

    › more