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PRINCETON UNIVERSITY

Soviet Secret Cities During The Cold War

 April 24, 2012 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 | 6pm | Room N107 Princeton School of Architecture

Lasting one fifteen-millionth of a second, the double lightning flash of Hiroshima and Nagasaki precipitated an official carte blanche to establish a new, utopian and secret form of Soviet urbanity. Nameless and unrepresented on maps, Soviet secret cities, or ZATO, were sites of highly covert research and production for military and scientific purposes. ZATO were inspired by ideal cities and articulated through a progressive, modernist, architectural language that represented the ideology of the Communist Party. Distributed throughout the Soviet landscape and listed as mere geographic points under randomly changing numbers, they were sites for the invention of weapons of mass destruction.

Panelists Jean-Louis Cohen (Institute of Fine Arts, New York University), Michael Gordin (History of Science, Princeton University), andXenia Vytuleva (NIITIAG RAASN/Moscow, Columbia University) will discuss the urban phenomenon of ZATO, and how these “realized utopias” relate to larger socio-political and aesthetic discourses.

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