Reading Across the Plaza: The Public Voids of the Post Soviet City
with author Owen Hatherley
Tuesday 30th September, 7pm AA Bookshop
There are few things in urbanism today so unfashionable as the ceremonial public square.
The vast, proverbially windswept plazas built under “really existing socialism” from the 1920s to the 1980s are widely considered to be useless spaces, designed to intimidate or at least impress. Yet if they are only of use to those in power, why is it they have been used so successfully in protest? From Petrograd in 1917 to Independence Square in Kiev during the Orange Revolution, these spaces have become focuses for mass protest.
Beginning in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz, and taking in Warsaw, Ljubljana, Kharkov and Moscow, Owen Hatherley heads in search of revolt, architectural glory and horror. Along the way he encounters the more civic squares that replaced their authoritarian predecessors and finds that, paradoxically, the old centres of power are more conducive to dissent than these new, ostensibly democratic plazas.
Across the Plaza: The Public Voids of the Post Soviet City is available to buy from the AA Bookshop
About Owen Hatherley
Owen Hatherley is a freelance writer on political aesthetics, based in South-East London. He is the author of four books: Militant Modernism, 2009; A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain, 2010; Uncommon, 2011 (an essay on the British pop group Pulp); A New Kind of Bleak, 2012.
About Strelka Press
Strelka Press is a digital-first publisher of new writing on architecture, design and the city. Reviving the essay as a popular form, Strelka Press publishes critical writing in digital and print editions.
About AA Book Club
AA Book Club is a series of informal discussions open to all about writing and architecture drawing on fiction, essays and journalism and often featuring wine.
Book Club is held at the AA Bookshop,32 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES 7-8.30 pm.