Svetlana Boym on Ruins









‘Embarrassing Monumentality in the Wake of the Cold War’

A Public Lecture at the University of Manchester by Svetlana Boym (Harvard University)

This lecture explores the ruins of modernity and metamorphosis of monuments across media—in public art, architecture and literature. It proposes an alternative off-modern history of the Cold War period beyond ruinophilia and iconoclasm. The discussion will examine the ‘monument to the Cold War’ and the embarrassing monumentality in the works by Robert Smithson, Vladimir Nabokov, Pussy Riots and others.

Svetlana Boym is a writer, theorist, and artist. Her books include The Future of Nostalgia (2001); Another Freedom: The Alternative History of an Idea (2010); Architecture of the Off-Modern (2008); Territories of Terror: Memories and Mythologies of Gulag in Contemporary Art (2006); the novel Ninochka (2003) and the play The Woman Who Shot Lenin. Among her exhibitions are Off-Modern: Ruins of the Future (Moscow Biennial, 2013); Phantasmagorias of History (Watchtower, off-Berlin Biennale, 2010); and Hydrants Immigrants (Parson’s School of Design in New York City, 2011). Boym is the Curt Hugo Reisinger Professor of Slavic and Comparative Literatures at Harvard University and a faculty associate of the Graduate School of Design and Architecture. Native of St Petersburg, Russia, she lives in Boston, USA and at

5-7pm Tuesday 13th May

John Casken Lecture Theatre, Martin Harris Building

University of Manchester

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