The Sleeping Beauty / Peter Volgger

09 30th, 2013

Asmara contains one of the largest, enclosed ensembles of modernist architecture and might therefore gain the status of a World Heritage Site. It illuminates the urban transfiguration of the colonial dilemma and thus that of every European city. On the one hand we can hence investigate this architectural ensemble, as time seems to have stood still. On the other we can read the “modernist program” which the colonial powers inscribed into the city and thus contains the “fatal potential of modernity”. Eritrea conserves those modernist tendencies within a post-modern world, as an experiment, which uses biopoltical strategies in order to defend the “nation-building-project” against the outer influence of globalization. Asmara presents itself as “paradigmatic space”, neither some avant-garde project nor an anti-modern one, as a hypothesis that reduces life to the bio-political mechanism of both production and re-production. Therefore, this city, like no other, enables an analysis of our quotidian reality in a sarcastic way. The city of Asmara provides space for reflection as well as for an empirical analysis of contemporary society, not an archive of memories, but rather an incident that is constantly repeating.

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