Program in Media and Modernity presents Designs of Destruction: Lucia Allais (Associate Professor of Architecture, SoA, Princeton University) with respondent Michael D. Gordin (Rosengarten Professor of Modern and Contemporary History, Princeton University)
Tuesday, November 27th
Between 1943 and 1945, the Allied Air Forces produced aerial photographs of 79 Italian cities, annotated them with the location of monuments, and appended them with elaborate instructions for aerial bombers on “how to miss cultural sites.” Similar lists and maps of monuments were produced by the Allies for almost every country in Europe, expanded or shrunk to fit various phases and types of fighting. The longest German list was 150 pages; one map of 23 monuments for the whole of France was once made. What kind of media were these? To what use were they put; how did they partake in the technologies of precision on which Allied aerial strategy hinged, and how did they help inaugurate a new global regime of cultural preservation? Lucia Allais will narrate and analyze this remarkable episode, drawn from her book, Designs of Destruction: The Making of Monuments in the 20th Century (Chicago: 2018). The book chronicles the triumph of the cultural monument as a modern and global building type between the 1930s and 1970s.