Bolzano 21.07.2014 BozenJeffrey Schnapp, Professor of Romance Literatures and Comparative Literature (Harvard)

Monday, Nov. 7 at 7:00 in Lovejoy 100

Bz ’18-’45: one monument, one city, two dictatorships is an exhibition opened to the public in July 2014. It illustrates the history of the Monument to Victory, erected by the Italian Fascist regime in 1928. ‘Uncomfortable (Revolutionary) Monuments’ recounts the tale of the Monument and its reframing via BZ ’18-’45 as a work of critical contextualization. The exhibition is a commentary on the evolving social and political framework of the second half of the twentieth century to the present day. A three-banded LED ring to the third column of the monument’s façade is intended to reframe and alter the monument’s meaning.The ring unbalances the ideology embedded within the neoclassical symmetries of the façade and marks the difference between the totalitarian then of the monument’s construction and a now characterized by cultural pluralism and tolerance. By unbalancing, the ring rebalances; by defamiliarizing, it refamiliarizes. It performs a symbolic reversal that gives a state monument (and the history that it stands for) back to the local citizenry and renders visitable a site that has been fenced off for over a half-century.

Jeffrey Schnapp is the founder/faculty director of metaLAB (at) Harvard and faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. At Harvard, he serves as Professor of Romance Literatures and Comparative Literature, and is on the teaching faculty of the Department of Architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. His most recent books include The Electric Information Age Book (2012), Modernitalia (2012), The Library Beyond the Book (2014), Digital Humanities (an essay on cultural heritage management issues), and Blueprint for Counter Education – Expanded Reprint. Futurpiaggio (November 2016) is his forthcoming book on the 130-year history of the Piaggio Group. His main current writing project is a comprehensive study of the artist-designer Bruno Munari, titled Bruno Munari, A to Z. His work in the domains of media, design, digital arts and humanities, and curatorial practice includes collaborations with the Triennale di Milano, the Cantor Center for the Visual Arts, the Wolfsonian-FIU, and the Canadian Center for Architecture. Among his projects are: Trento Tunnel, which was featured in the Italian pavilion of the 2010 Venice Biennale of Architecture and at the MAXXI in Rome; and Panorama of the Cold War. He also served as chief consulting curator for BZ ’18-’45, one of the European Museum Forum’s finalists for the 2015 Museum of the Year award.

Student Discussions

  • Extreme Repurpose Monument Edition December 19, 2016 swgray20On November 7, Professor Jeffrey Schnapp delivered a talk about monuments and their place in history. Many monuments can outrun their historical importance and relevance. Depending the original motive behind ...
  • The Killing Fields December 19, 2016 mwyndhamHave you ever been moved to tears by a monument? Have you ever been angered? Moved to action? Encouraged to rest in gratitude? How have monuments impacted you, and what ...
  • Monumental Mistakes December 19, 2016 Matthew HoffmanDuring my semester abroad in Cape Town, South Africa I was constantly hearing about the protests centered around “Rhodes Must Fall.” At the University of Cape Town’s central campus, there ...
  • The importance of memory December 14, 2016 Nicholas ArchibaldJeffrey Schnapp’s lecture on the importance of monuments was right in my ballpark, so to speak. This semester, I took a class focused on debating the Nazi past, both from ...
  • Frozen in Time: Monuments December 13, 2016 kdonchikHistory has a way of reminding us that it is still here. Learning from the past and growing together while using history as an important basis of information is an ...
  • Confronting our Histories December 12, 2016 adcurtisThe past shapes the present. It is important to regard history in this way. Jeffrey Schnapp’s lecture about uncomfortable monuments argued this same point. He believes that it is important ...
  • The meaning behind the monument December 9, 2016 PokemonHunterBefore listening to Professor Jeffrey Schnapp’s lecture, I never really paid much attention to monuments, they were simple landmarks, large markers that were well sculpted or nice to look at. ...
  • Dealing with Uncomfortable Monuments December 8, 2016 Grace CarrollIn Jeffrey Schnapps’ talk about developing the BZ ’18-’45 monument in Bolzano, Italy, Schnapps discusses the story of transforming an uncomfortable, yet important, story into one generations can learn from ...
  • Uncomfortable History December 4, 2016 mahurl20Throughout history, monuments have been erected to commemorate victories, honor powerful leaders, or serve as the symbol of a movement. However, when the victory was gory or unfair, the ruler ...
  • Historical Meaning of Symbols/Monuments as Time Progresses November 29, 2016 mjconnolProfessor Schnapp’s captivating talk discussed the role of symbols and monuments in “uncomfortable” revolutions and used the specific example of the Monument to Victory, which was erected in Italy by ...