Strategically, as members of cultural and social groups, we tend to forget much in order to adapt better to the challenges of our lives. However as globalized individuals we encounter most varied types of memory and oblivion. As city residents we observe with much regret how many things that are dear to us either disappear or are rebuilt beyond recognition. As carriers of political views and preferences we can see how selectively the key political camps employ the struggle against historical oblivion. As family members we get involved in serious arguments with our near ones regarding what and how needs to be remembered and what should better be forgotten. No one knows the right proportion of memory and oblivion in the lives of individuals and groups of people. It is not for nothing that Paul Ricoeur and Avishai Margalit insist on returning again and again to the subject of the value of memory and specifically its contribution to individual lives and communities. The discussion between the scholar Elena Trubina and photographer and author Leo Rubinfien concerns a possibility of achieving some common grounds in the understanding of memory and oblivion between a New-Yorker, who had survived September 11, 2001, and a Russian lady who had never experienced a catastrophe of such scale.
ELENA TRUBINA (RUSSIA) Doctor of Philosophy, professor. Studies problems of identity and identification, post-Soviet culture, subjects and urban spaces, social theory and methodology of interdisciplinary research projects. She is the author of the book City in Theory (2011) as well as a number of books and articles devoted to post-socialist urban space, subjectivity, culture and memory.
LEO RUBINFIEN (USA) Street photographer, curator and writer. His photographs were exhibited in Metropolitan, museums of San-Francisco, Cleveland, Seattle, Tokyo, Rome, and Washington. He is the author of Map of the East (1992), a collection of essays and photographs presenting globalized South-East Asia; and Shomei Tomatsu: Skin of the Nation (2004) about the Japanese photographer Shomei Tomatsu.