Updated: May 5


5pm GMT

Book launch: Tolyatti

Please join us at the book launch for Tolyatti (V-A-C/Velvet Cell, 2020) by Guido Sechi and Michele Sera. Organised in collaboration with V-A-C Foundation.

Tolyatti (V–A–C Press, The Velvet Cell, 2020) by Michele Cera and Guido Sechi, is the outcome of a visual/scholarly research project devoted to the public spaces of the former USSR, focusing on the Tolyatti automobile factory.

The automobile district in Tolyatti appeared at the and of the 1960s in the vicinity of the then-under-construction car factory. The designs for the “Auto-grad” combined Soviet concepts of a minutely-planned “city of the future” with self-sustaining super-sized housing estates known as “micro-districts” (mikroraiony), wide boulevards and spaces for collective interaction. On the other hand, Tolyatti is a vivid instance of a contemporary Russian monotown (a city organised around a single industry or factory complex), located on the peripheries of globalisation.

The participants in the presentation discuss the fate of public spaces, post-Soviet cities and their visual representations in the contemporary media; as well as tendencies of urban transformation today.


Guido Sechi, researcher and lecturer at the Department of Human Geography of the University of Latvia. Primary sphere of interests: urban and regional studies of the post-Soviet space.

Michele Cera, photographer, participant in multiple international exhibitions. His main photographic interest is in human settlements and landscape representation and survey.


Daria Bocharnikova is an historian of modern architecture and urban planning. She received her PhD in 2014 from the European University Institute in Florence and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University. Her research interests lie at the intersection of urban studies and history of state socialism. In 2012 she started teaching at the Faculty of Liberal Arts at St. Petersburg State University and launched the international collaborative project Second World Urbanity together with Steven E. Harris that explores the history of urban planning and lived experience in socialist cities across Eurasia and beyond. In 2016 she moved to Brussels where she began to work at the Centre for Fine Arts BOZAR as institutional advisor and curator of Russian Turn program, while continuing to collaborate with KU Leuven as visiting scholar at the research group Modernity en Society 1800-2000 en Centre for Russian Studies and the Free University of Berlin.

Dace Dzenovska is Associate Professor in the Anthropology of Migration at the University of Oxford. Her research interests pertain to the changing relationships between people, territory, political authority, and capital in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. She is the author of School of Europeanness: Tolerance and Other Lessons in Political Liberalism in Latvia (Cornell, 2018) and the Principal Investigator of the ERC project ‘’Emptiness: Living Capitalism and Democracy After Postsocialism’’.

Anna Shevchenko is an architectural researcher and critic who is written for, Afisha Daily and many other publications

Evgenia Gubkina is an architect, historian of architecture, curator of architecture and art projects, educational activities. She is a co-founder of the NGO Urban Forms Center and the avant-garde women's movement “Modernistki”. Since 2012 she has been a consultant at the Ukrainian Constructivism Weeks in Zaporizhzhia. Ievgeniia is the author of “Slavutych Architectural Guide” (2015) and author of the study and co-author of the book “Soviet Modernism.Brutalism. Post-Modernism. Buildings and Structures in Ukraine 1955-1991” (2019). In 2020 she curated multimedia online project "Encyclopedia of Ukrainian Architecture".

Vladimir Kulić is an architectural historian whose work focuses on Yugoslavia, Eastern Europe, and the former socialist world. His books and exhibitions include Unfinished Modernisations: Between Pragmatism and Utopia, Modernism In-Between: The Mediatory Architectures of Socialist Yugoslavia, Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980, and Second World Postmodernisms: Architecture and Society under Late Socialism.

Kirill Glushchenko is an artist and founder of a fictional publishing house called Gluschenkoizdat

Yaroslav Aleshin is a curator of exhibitions and urban integration programs at V–A–C Foundation

Chaired by:

Maria Mileeva, Lecturer in Art History, Courtauld Institute of Art

Michał Murawski, anthropologist of architecture, Lecturer in Critical Area Studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London

This event is organised by PPV in collaboration with the V-A-C Foundation.

Registration is free but essential:

Updated: May 5


3pm GMT

Book launch. Keti Chukhrov's Practicing the Good. Ft. Boris Groys, Vijay Prashad, Angela Dimitrakaki, Samo Tomšić and Frank Ruda

Please register for the event here.

Practicing the Good is a philosophical consideration of Soviet Socialism that reveals the hidden desire for capitalism in contemporary anticapitalist discourse and theory.

“…the political economy of historical socialism offers an indispensable logical tool that can map the paths of radical recomposition—and the radically different epistemological development—of such notions as labor, sexuality, power, gender, culture, unconsciousness, consciousness, reality, and the general, in socialist society and in Western thought respectively since the 1960s.”

This event is organised in collaboration with PPV (Perverting the Power Vertical: Politics and Aesthetics in the Global East), an art and research platform based at UCL’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies.


Keti Chukhrov is ScD in philosophy and an associate professor at the Department of Сultural Studies at the Higher School of Economics (Moscow). From 2017 to 2019, she was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow at the University of Wolverhampton in the UK. She has authored numerous texts on art theory and philosophy. Her full-length books include: To Be—To Perform. ‘Theatre’ in Philosophic Critique of Art (European Un-ty, 2011) and Pound &£ (Logos, 1999), as well as a volume of dramatic writing: Merely Humans (2010). Her book Practicing the Good. Desire and Boredom in Soviet Socialism (University of Minnesota Press, 2020) deals with the impact of socialist political economy on the epistemes of historical socialism.

Boris Groys is a philosopher, essayist, art critic, media theorist and internationally renowned expert on Soviet-era art and literature, especially the Russian avant-garde. He is a Global Distinguished Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University, a Senior Research Fellow at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe and a professor of philosophy at the European Graduate School (EGS). His work engages radically different traditions, from French post-structuralism to modern Russian philosophy, yet is firmly situated at the juncture of aesthetics and politics.

Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, editor and journalist. He is a writing fellow and chief correspondent at Globetrotter. He is the chief editor of LeftWord Books and the director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He is a senior non-resident fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China. He has written more than 20 books, including The Darker Nations and The Poorer Nations. His latest book is Washington Bullets, with an introduction by Evo Morales Ayma.

Angela Dimitrakaki is Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Art History and Theory at the University of Edinburgh and director of the MSc in Modern and Contemporary Art. Her books include ECONOMY: Art, Production and the Subject in the 21st Century (co-edited with Kirsten Lloyd, 2015), Gender, ArtWork and the Global Imperative (2013), Art and Globalisation: From the Postmodern Sign to the Biopolitical Arena (2013, in Greek), Politics in a Glass Case (co-edited with Lara Perry, 2013). She has co-edited the special issues ‘Social Reproduction and Art’ (2017) and ‘Anti-fascism/Art/Theory’ (2019) for Third Text, where she is an Editor. She is a Corresponding Editor of Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory and co-organiser of the Marxist feminist stream of the journal’s annual London conference. She contributed to the collectively authored ‘On Social Reproduction and the Covid-19 Pandemic’. Angela lives in Edinburgh and Athens.

Samo Tomšić holds a PhD in Philosophy and is currently a researcher at the Interdisciplinary Laboratory Image Knowledge Gestaltung at the Humboldt University Berlin. His research areas comprise contemporary European philosophy, structuralism and poststructuralism, psychoanalysis (Freud and Lacan), epistemology and political philosophy. Recent publications include The Capitalist Unconscious (2015) and The Labour of Enjoyment (2018).

Frank Ruda is a senior lecturer in philosophy at the University of Dundee, UK. His most recent publications include Reading Marx (with Slavoj Žižek and Agon Hamza, Polity 2018), The Dash – the Other Side of Absolute Knowing (with Rebecca Comay, MIT Press, 2018) and Abolishing Freedom. A Plea for a Contemporary Use of Fatalism (Nebraska UP 2016). With Agon Hamza, he is the co-editor of the journal Crisis and Critique.


Michał Murawski (chair) is Lecturer in Critical Area Studies at UCL (SSEES) and co-convener of PPV.

Maria Mileeva (chair) is Lecturer in Art History at The Courtauld Institute and co-convener of PPV.

This talk forms part of the IAS fifth anniversary festival on the theme of ‘Alternative Epistemologies’.

All welcome; please register. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need assistance on the day.

Updated: Mar 24


1pm EST / 5pm GMT

Book launch. Re-Centring the City: Global Mutations of Socialist Modernity

Download a free copy of the book here.

Is architectural "monumentality" and "palatiality" still relevant in the 21st century? What role does "centrality" play in the cities of today? Do we belong to Culture One, Culture Two, Culture Three, Culture Tree or Culture Free? What does socialist modernity have to do with the above?

Join scholars, architects, and artists for the launch of the co-edited volume Re-Centring the City: Global Mutations of Socialist Modernity (co-edited by Jonathan Bach and Michal Murawski). This transdisciplinary volume frames global high modernity through the lens of the socialist city, refracting London, Mexico City and Chennai through the prism of Moscow, Kyiv, Simferopol and the former Polish shtetls (among others). By re-centering the experiences of the ‘Global East’ it challenges our understanding of world urbanism. The event features special guest comments from Solomon Benjamin, Keller Easterling, Jennifer Robinson, and Kimberly Zarecor and short interventions from many of the authors from around the world.

This event is co-hosted by Yale University (Macmillan Centre: Program in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies), UCL (Perverting the Power Vertical (PPV); the FRINGE Centre; the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) and the Institute for Advanced Studies); The New School (Global Studies Program); and UCL Press. The publication emerged from a UCL Grand Challenges grant awarded in 2016.

With introductory remarks from Professor Diane Koenker (Director, SSEES); Professor Douglas Rogers (Faculty Director of Program in Russian, East European, & Eurasian Studies at Yale; Professor of Anthropology); and Dr Ian Scott (Director of Grand Challenges and Cross-Disciplinary Development, UCL).


Solomon Benjamin is Professor of Urban Studies at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Chennai.

Keller Easterling is the Enid Storm Dwyer Professor of Architecture at Yale.

Jennifer Robinson is Professor of Geography at University College London.

Kimberley Zarecor is Professor of Architecture at Iowa State University.


Jonathan Bach is Professor of Global Studies at the New School, New York.

Michał Murawski is Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Critical Area Studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London.

For details of the volume contributors, and to download a free PDF copy of Re-Centring the City, please click here. Contributors participating at the launch include: Clem Cecil, Andreas Schönle, Vladimir Paperny, Daria Paramonova, Owen Hatherley, Jonas Tinius, Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll, Kuba Snopek, Natalia Romik, Jennifer Mack, Tom Wolseley, Patrick Neveling, Pushpa Arabindoo, Joy Gerrard, Adam Kaasa, Yevgenia Belorusets

Please register for the event here.

Download a free copy of the book here.

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