(Re)Constructing Memory (as Violence)

A video recording of this presentation is available here

Abstract: Recent scholarship in the field of embodied cognitive science have proposed a notion of the “encultured human being” following the conception of cognition as being enacted through (bodily) interactions with material, social, and cultural environments. (Memorial and heritage) architecture exists at this boundary between the cultural/ collective memory and the collective body memory because it has both a supportive and contingent role in memory making. This has been followed by the most recent trends in design of memorial places that notably shift from static, unilateral readings of “future heritage” to more dynamic, affective experience of architecture and creation of memories, which ultimately raises the question of (ever changing) political readings and intentions. In the most extreme cases, the perverse insisting on guilt, victimization and/or ideology in the design of places of memory can be considered as violence in its own right. This is particularly symptomatic for divided, war-torn societies, such are those of former YugSurvivor Cities.

Biography: Aleksandar Staničić is an architect, researcher, and Marie Curie Fellow at TU Delft Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. Previously he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT, and a research scholar at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies, Columbia University. Aleksandar’s work, broadly speaking, explores the architectural engagements with violence-driven transformation of urban morphology, politics of urban (re)construction in cities of upheaval, and disaster resilience design. It stems from two book projects, War Diaries: Design after the Destruction of Art and Architecture (co-editor, University of Virginia Press, 2019) and Transition urbicide: Post-war reconstruction in post-socialist Belgrade (author, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). His professional portfolio includes awarded design on postwar housing in Syria, and multiple grants and fellowships from the Government of Lombardy Region, Italy, and Ministry of Education, Republic of Serbia. Aleksandar earned his PhD at Politecnico di Milano in 2014.
Staničić, Aleksandar. “(Re)Constructing Memory (as Violence).” Paper presented at "Reconstruction as Violence: The Case of Aleppo," Cambridge, Massachusetts, May 10-11, 2019.
Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT
reconstruction process