13-14 June 2019
What happens when an object loses its original purpose? Why does architecture find itself displaced, unwanted and repurposed? Buildings and physical infrastructure possess a longue durée that is fundamental to their spatial and political impact. But their long-term pretension can also become their undoing: politics, society, media and culture change faster than bricks and concrete. Structures can usually adjust only in very expensive ways: with renovation or destruction. History leaves behind either heritage or rubble, both a sort of an architectural ‘living dead’.
Despite all the ruins and the heritage industry produced by the three volatile decades after the ‘End of History’ in 1989, the dichotomy seems to be a misleading one. Decay, under-use, omission, ruin porn, gentrification: these socioeconomic processes often operate outside of a clear dichotomous relation, producing something completely new as well. They demand a different set of conceptual tools to be able to think our time and our (in)ability to operate with the objects existing here and now. Our theoretical sieves have become too dense to differentiate in a meaningful way. We want to direct the attention to the vast residue that gets left behind. This is the extensive yield of nonuments, an open term extending from abandoned monuments to decaying infrastructure, from speculative destruction of heritage to architectural residue of abandoned futures. An amalgam of affirmation and negation, nonument asks for a redefinition of spatial politics through theory and art. Locating the spatial fragments and leftovers as indicators of otherwise unseen political and economic dynamics, nonuments demand our coming to terms with the existing.
Nonument symposium will scan for Europe’s nonuments on its geographic as well as other types of peripheries with the help of theoretical, conceptual and art-practice based contributions from around the world. From Cyprus to Prague and from Vienna to Balkan Mountains, nonuments ceaselessly pose questions of how to think them and how to engage with them. Hotel, power plant, railway, congress center, control and dispatch hi-tech center and a former anti-aircraft tower stand neglected or are being destroyed. At the same time they also trigger popular fascinations and consummations. A two day art and theory symposium in Prague, held in the shadow of the destruction of Transgas building, will address the dilemma of how to operate with the nonumental residue of geopolitical concussions, social changes and unresolved historical tensions.
Save the date! Participation is free of charge.
Full program, more info and registration coming soon!
– A proposal of six European nonuments:
a hotel, a power factory, a railway, a congress center, control and dyspatching hi-tech center and a former bunker.
– Memory and post-socialist condition
– Infrastructure and Ideology
– Conflict and suppression
– Impossibility of a Future