Ruins and ruination: Melancholy, fantasy, politics
Ruins and ruination processes are an integral part of both local and global landscapes. As archeological remains, as traces of war and dispossession or as urban scars of disintegration and neglect, ruins range from the concreteness of natural or man-made processes to being powerful symbols of melancholy on the one hand and fantasy on the other. The course will deal with local and global demolitions. We will explore with Walter Benjamin the ruins as a representation of the West and with Edward Said the ruins as a representation of the East. We will examine how ruins are represented in art and literature, how to photograph ruins, and how to write about them. We will ask what is between ruins of monuments and ruins of everyday life, what ruins do we see, and which we are blind to. We will look at the connection between the capitalist economy and the practices of demolition and construction and analyze the city as a palimpsest of layers written on top of each other. Finally, we will examine the possibility of hope among the ruins: how they allow us to rethink ourselves and the time in which we live and how they produce a civic action of memory and change.