Visiting Scholar Lecture: Heterotopias of the Cold War

Kellen Auditorium

66 5th Avenue, First Floor

Wednesday, February 27 1-2pm

Heterotopias of the Cold War: Soviet Secret Societies in Transition

In this lecture Visiting Professor Dr. Xenia Vytuleva will discuss the urban phenomenon of Soviet Secret Cities ZATO, it’s correlation to the concept of “human geography”, and how these “realized utopias” reflected the socio-political and aesthetic discourses of the Cold War.

Lasting one fifteen-millionth of a second, the double lightning flash of Hiroshima and Nagasaki precipitated an official carte blanche to establish a new, utopian and secret format of Soviet urbanity. Nameless, not plotted on any map, even blurred on Google Earth, Soviet secret cities, or ZATO, were sites of highly secretive military and scientific research and production. Inspired by ideal cities, based on perfect geometric plans, articulated by progressive modernist architectural language, ZATO were representing the most updated ideology of the Party. Shimmering on the surface of the Soviet landscape these dots of strategic information listed under randomly changing numbers could be traced only by gossips or sometimes after a telephone call.

Dr. Xenia Vytuleva is an architecture historian, theorist and curator. She holds a Ph.D. in art history from Moscow State University, teaching and lecturing in Moscow State University, Architectural Association in London, Program of Media + Modernity at Princeton, and the Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation at Columbia University in New York. Her current course at The New School “Revolutionary Design and Architecture, Soviet Experience” explores the dynamics between architecture, art and politics.



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