This workshop will contribute to a growing counter-commentary that reckons with ‘outmoded’ motifs in the built landscapes of East and Central Europe. Socialist building projects are too often savored as ruins and filed away as elegies to utopian chimeras. Signatures of moved and dispersed populations in the topography of these regions are often memorialized in a discourse of nostalgia forecloses on the future. Are there other stories to tell about buildings and spaces that have outlived their original ideological assignments? Can we swap out a forensic account of obsolescence for a discussion of how these environments were lived in and made use of? What options exist today for repurposing, preserving and re-inhabiting these time-stamped sites: how can we accommodate their particularities, and how can they once again accommodate us? Throughout two days of conversations, we will reflect on these questions and voice some strategies for enlivening and caring for the heterogeneous landscapes of today’s East and Central Europe.
Please note this conference will take place at the following locations and times:
- Friday, Oct. 23: International Affairs Building, Room 1512, Columbia University. No ID required.
- Saturday, Oct. 24: Heyman Center for the Humanities, Second Floor Common Room. ID required for entry.