1 December 2017
First day of the Symposium "Time and Senses"
3rd Session of "The Human Condition" project
moderated by Alexander Bikbov
19:00 – 19:10
Panel 1. Specters of a Neo-liberal City
Alexander Bikbov (Russia). Welcome speech
Municipal management reforms all over the world always are inscribed with the future trauma. Beyond the apparent chaotic jumble of simulations involved in urban development we find deep-going hidden rifts and shifts in the social foundations of the cities, which had been built in the post-war period. Policies of safety and soft segregation, strategies of pretty facades and architectural renovation, smart technologies and conveniences offer much more than just additional options. These processes are already actively employed to erase the whole life-styles and architectural layers from the urban scene, and to bar other possibilities of urban development and social equilibrium. Despite their political and material distinctions, Moscow and Beirut, Los Angeles and Barcelona find themselves within the same horizon of neo-liberal urbanism. These common features require a most careful analysis, and not so much in the name of the cities' past as in the interests of their future. How is this presumably common and "transparent" space split with barriers and borders? What and who disappears from the urban scene when neo-liberal managers and commercial operators take charge? Where the removed elements end up? Are these tactics of seduction sufficient for the organization of pure and pretty, but at the same time socially selective cities? How can you manage that part of the population which does not conform to prescribed standards? What role is given to the replicas of historical buildings in the city centers and to safety procedures in the areas of comfort?

ALEXANDER BIKBOV (RUSSIA) Sociologist, editor of the interdisciplinary journal Logos, associate fellow at the Maurice Halbwachs Center in Paris. He is involved in various research and general projects examining structural changes in Russian society, perception of social hierarchies and inequalities in today's world, neo-liberal reforms in education and culture, public and protest movements, social history of science, and the sociology of knowledge. Author of the book The Grammar of Order: Historical Sociology of the Concepts which Change our Reality (2014) as well as academic and educational essays explaining the changes occurring in contemporary Russia and the world.

Watch video
19:10 – 19:30
The Spectre of Normalization
Ruben Arevshatian (Armenia)
After almost 3 decades lasting turbulent evolution of post-soviet nations that had quite divert histories and logics of development, which still need to be thoroughly explored and compared, these days it is possible to follow a certain common dynamics in the political, social and cultural processes in those societies of striving towards deliberate or unconscious radicalization of power. Though the political vectors of that "power" could be different and sometimes opposed, the logic of their orientations in a paradoxical ways intercross at a certain common objective/desire for "normalization". Collective discontentment related to the hypercapitalist reality became the reason of either undifferentiated nostalgic references or obsessional demonization of the Soviet past. Following the general trends in post soviet capitals it is still possible to notice not only specific common aesthetical preferences towards neo-imperial – neo-stalinist style in architecture but also retreat to the negation of the modernist core of the common historical background by denying the modernizing and emancipatory potentialities of socialist society and emphasizing the suppressive colonizing aspect of Soviet system. Parallel to the tendentious annihilation and degeneration of the modernist architectural heritage in those societies the neo-stalinist style is being rehabilitated in new architecture through the refined and even "perfected" reproduction of notorious Stalinist aesthetics. In that regards it is interesting to follow how the collective unconscious deletes or rehabilitates specific strata of the memory and how architecture turns into a system of control by employing that process.

RUBEN AREVSHATYAN (ARMENIA) Artist, art critic and independent curator. He is the president of AICA-Armenia and teaches at the Contemporary Art Institute, Yerevan. He has published widely on contemporary art, architecture, and theory - mainly around topics and on issues of urban and cultural transformation focusing on Post Socialist contexts.

Watch video

19:30 – 19:50
On latency, ghosts and construction of imaginaries in postwar Beirut
Khalil Joreige (Lebanon /France).
After the official end of the civil wars, the city of Beirut lives under a contradictory regime of memory and urban policy, that of reconstruction and nostalgia as if nothing happened. Some vital and repulsive dimensions of past and present in the city life remain less and less visible in the newly created space produced with an important contribution by private construction companies. The invisible is what interests the most Khalil Joreige and Joana Hadjithomas in their common work. The presentation will deal with latency and other forms of resistance, haunting ghosts, some strategies to reconsider the relation to images, the writing of history and construction of imaginaries in postwar Beirut.

JOANA HADJITHOMAS AND KHALIL JOREIGE (LEBANON / FRANCE) The artists and filmmakers Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige work across multiple mediums, including video installation, photography, feature film, the documentary essay and performance. Based on archives, personal stories or everyday experiences, their works take place in an experimental dimension, with narratives that question dominant imaginaries, the production of knowledge and the writing of contemporary history. Their artworks have been shown in museums, biennials and art centers around the world and are part of important public and private collections.

Watch video
19:50 – 20:10
Architecture as "Information Carrier" and "Memory"
Nikolai Lyzlov (Russia)
Urban environment is a book, a collection of texts, with the buildings as pages, sentences and episodes, as memories of past epochs, events, people, and destinies. Whole civilizations have lived and gone, leaving no other traces except ruins. Urban environment (the city's software) is an ethereal field, finely-tuned and complexly organized, instrumentally inscrutable but appearing to us in powerful mental sensations. This is an emanation of numerous human lives and long coexistence of whole generations of people preserved in hand-made material objects.

NIKOLAI LYZLOV (RUSSIA) Architect, Vice President of the Moscow Architects' Union, Professor at the International Academy of Architecture, lecturer at the Moscow Institute of Architecture, head of the Studio of Architecture.

Watch video
17:25 – 18:00
Made on