Nonument is a groundbreaking inquiry into the fate and future of a wide range of threatened, neglected and celebrated buildings, styles and structures. The term Nonument describes architectures, public spaces and monuments that have undergone a process of transformation within which they have acquired a new meaning. Nonument sheds light on many of the most hotly contested debates in the areas of architecture and conservation, as well as the political and cultural forces shaping them. Employing this concept through organisation of art projects, interventions and interdisciplinary symposia, a series of diverse contributions emerged. The publication mirrors this polyphonic nature of approaches through three different interconnected parts.
Book sections: Reflections, Case Studies, Index of nonuments, Visual essays
In the first section, Reflections, seven writers reflect on the phenomenon of contemporary nonuments and their relevance in contemporary society. These essays offer a bird’s eye view of the vast nonumental field from all across the globe, from contextualising the fetishism of both British brutalism and Yugoslav “Spomeniks” to the influence of post-colonial discourse and laissez-faire economics of the post-1990 transition from socialism to capitalism upon the changed urban space. Contributors, each through their own (inter)disciplinary language, address the negation of monuments and buildings as politically charged destruction of memory, driven by commodification, but also as a spatial opportunity and as a chance to rethink how to come to terms with one’s own past.
The Case studies section presents studies of seven nonuments: the Berengaria hotel in Cyprus, the Buzludzha monument in Bulgaria, the Flak towers in Austria, the Genex building in Serbia, the now demolished McKeldin Fountain in Maryland, US, the Transgas complex in the Czech Republic, and the Pioneer Railway in Slovenia.
The two Visual essays in the centre of this book are devoted to the sites of two Nonument Group case studies: the Pioneer Railway and the McKeldin Fountain. These were also the sites of the Nonument Group art interventions.
The outer sleeve of the book is printed with an index and a map of nonuments in Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Serbia and Slovenia. Rather than a glorified collection of obscurities and architectural styles, this database hopes to become a device through which we can better understand the impact of governmental changes on the uses of public space, the way we comprehend space and architecture, and the role that the politics of space play in the creation of dominant narratives.
4 Start here
10 Nika Grabar: Nonument Now! An essay on constituting the visibility of a disappearing collective rememberance
22 Miloš Kosec: Nonumental Infrastructure
38 Ljubica Slavković: From a blind field into a modus operandi: Legalizing the Wild City
52 Alexei Monroe: Brutal? Fluffy Brutalism in the Age of Digital Neofeudalism
78 Branislav Dimitrijević: Egypt or October: The canonisation of memorial sculpture and dynamics in Yugoslav art criticism
106 Elke Krasny: Public Memory: Monuments, Power, Activism
118 Hans van Houwelingen: Monument of Shame
Nonument Group’s Visual Essays
130 McKeldin Fountain
158 The Pioneer Railway
194 Fred Scharmen: Thinking of a Master Plan: A look at how McKeldin Plaza came to be, and how it was all undone
208 Danica Sretenović: Traveling for the sake of travel: Pioneer railroad in Ljubljana (1948-1954, 2019)
222 Aneliya Ivanova: The House-Monument of the Bulgarian Communist Party on Buzludzha Peak
234 Vladimir Dulović: Symbolic Perceptions of Belgrade’s West Gate Building and Their Repercussions on its Present State and on its Future
246 Achilleas Kentonis: Berengaria Hotel as a legend generating machine
256 Joshua Köb: Vienna’s flak towers: cautionary grey giants or concrete facts?
264 Ladislav Zikmund-Lender: Anatomy of Demolitions: How We Got to the Case Transgas?
280 Book foundations - glossary of terms
283 List of photos
AuthorDimitrijević Branislav, Grabar Nika, Kosec Miloš, Sretenović Danica, et al.
PublisherMoTA - Museum of Transitory Art