Ecologies of Decay

How was the socialist modernity and its ideology materialised in the global rural and urban territories? What are the social and political transformations that have occurred in the post-socialist villages and towns after socialist projects? In what ways can the material and visual ruination of rural spaces capture the collective memories of local communities?

Reflecting on the above questions, Ecologies of Decay: Modern Ruination in the Global (Post)Socialist Peripheries (16-17 June 2022) takes ruination both as a metaphor and as an actual reality to theorise the social and political transformations that have occurred in the global peripheries at the aftermath of socialist modernity. Ruins are concrete spaces of abandonment, forgotten material remnants, decayed sites, and objects from another past. Here, abandonment is clearly not something momentary that occurred in a specific temporal framework but rather a continuing process—a ruin always in the making which can offer a framework to understand the very process of decay. Ruins can also be a critical position and standpoint to capture the functioning and withering of discourses and experiences located on the margins and the back alleys of mainstream modernity.

The conference is consisted of four academic panels that examine issues related to abandonment and ruination of post-socialist towns, precarity and labour, material and visual remants of difficult pasts; a panel with invited art practitioners Driant Zeneli, Maria Kapajeva, Dominique Petit-Frère (Limbo Accra) and Miloš Kosec; and three keynote talks by Dace Dzenovska, Deana Jovanović, and Larisa Kurtović.

It has been made possible through the generous support of UCL’s IAS Octagon Small Grants Fund and the FRINGE Centre for the Study of Social and Cultural Complexity (SSEES).

Conference programme available here.

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