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The Icon CurtainThe Cold War's Quiet Border$
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Yuliya Komska

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226154190

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226154220.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 28 October 2020

Uses

Uses

Visual Nostalgia at the Prayer Wall

Chapter:
(p.179) Chapter Four Uses
Source:
The Icon Curtain
Author(s):

Yuliya Komska

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226154220.003.0005

Looking at and across the Iron Curtain was its visitors’ foremost goal. What characterized the visual economy of the Cold War borderlands? To answer this question, this chapter reinterprets nostalgia, an important driving force behind the construction of the “prayer wall,” as a visual phenomenon. More complex than the controlling gaze, at the Czechoslovak-West German border nostalgic vision was bifocal, pivoting on a disconnect between the act of looking and its outcome. Through border-themed poetry and snapshots of observing subjects, the chapter explores the nomenclature that Sudeten Germans developed to account for this split. The lay taxonomy of nostalgic vision, goes the argument, determined the architecture of new lookout towers—the most significant additions to the “prayer wall.” The chapter closes with an analysis of two such sites.

Keywords:   nostalgia, architecture, poetry, visual, gaze, vision, lookout tower

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