Some places record the rise and fall of a significant building, or evoke historical events that took place there. Others, like the site where the notorious St. Louis public housing complex known as Pruitt-Igoe once stood, serve less as memorials than material imprints of loss and unresolved histories.
Michael R. Allen & Heidi Aronson Kolk
Michael R. Allen is senior lecturer in Architecture and Landscape Architecture and lecturer in American Culture Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, as well as director of the Preservation Research Office. Allen created and managed the Pruitt Igoe Now competition (2011-2012) with Nora Wendl. Allen’s current research concerns historic preservation and narratives of American nationalism, and the politics of inhabitation rights in the contemporary American city.
Heidi Aronson Kolk is a cultural historian whose research and teaching focuses on American material and visual culture, space and place, cultural heritage, and the politics of memory. She is author of a forthcoming book, Taking Possession: Life, Death and the Politics of Memory in a St. Louis Town House (2019, University of Massachusetts Press) and serves as Assistant Professor in the Sam Fox School of Design + Visual Arts, and also Assistant Vice Provost of Academic Assessment, both at Washington University in St. Louis.
Posts by Michael R. Allen & Heidi Aronson Kolk
The real Elvis is American, remember, and America is a consumer society. The desires we project, the stuff we buy—that is what feels real to us. It lets us have any Elvis we want. He left plenty of kitsch in his wake, plenty of pseudo-religion, plenty of Elvis jokes—but he was not, is not, a joke. He lived our contradictions, released our inhibitions, and lost himself in the process.