Cospatiality: Changing rules of double use, excluding, inviting, imagining
The 2020 annual conference of the research group Religion and Urbanity: Reciprocal Formations focused on phenomena of supposition and entanglement of spaces or their double use, in other words phenomena that we summarily call cospatiality.
Urban space is characterised by multiple overlapping spaces, created by the imaginations and use of space and complicated by the movement of different people and groups. Religion offers an interesting lens into this phenomenon since it is as much a technique to mark out space by ritual usages, ephemeral or lasting sacralisations of space, as it is a cultural technique.
According to the geographer Jacques Lévy cospatialité is „une des interspatialités caractérisée par la mise en relation de deux espaces occupant la même étendue” (Lévy 2003, p. 213). Under purely Euclidean conditions, co-spatiality is essentially impossible. The concept, however, invites us to search for places or spaces that are used, viewed or interpreted by different groups, simultaneously or consecutively, for different purposes. The occupation of these spaces can thus be real or imagined. Sacred and profane uses of a place can coincide. An interesting question is also whether such double or parallel uses require regulation or whether they simply belong to the everyday practices of an urban society, internalised by inhabitants and tacitly picked up by visitors. Would cospatiality thus be a sign of urbanity? In cities as typical "machines of synchronisation and inclusion" (Nassehi) such phenomena are particularly frequent. The "milles plateaux" by Deleuze and Guattari could also provide theoretical input on the phenomenon of the overlapping or nesting of spaces.
Instead of focussing on already frequently examined sacred buildings or sacred spaces, the annual conference was interested in zooming in on the (primarily) non-sacred spaces in cities, which different groups, also religious ones, appropriate.