A heterotopia is a site that has a link with reality, often through an object or ritual, but one that also exists separately from any material place. It is an implied or suggested space based upon the purpose of the object and the expectations of the viewer.
Joe’s work focuses on memory and history through the collection of certain objects and the photographic medium. These discarded objects, no longer used for their original function, invite the audience to consider their forgotten life. An empty chair suggests the person that might sit down, or the one that used to sit and therefore emphasises the lack of such a person. A key does not exist without a door to a room, but when we do not know where it is from or to where it grants access, it becomes symbolic of the space that cannot be accessed or even known. Through their collection, display and re-contextualisation the idea of absence is given a material presence.
Heterotopias are often contradictory spaces, a balance between the real and unreal. They can trigger a response on a personal level, but also reveal our collective tendencies based within our perceptions of the world. They are both a confirmation and questioning of reality.