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The eleven essays in this volume explore the surprising resilience of productive instabilities enclosed in historical asymmetries, cultural paradoxes, and misplaced topographies. The recent history of Central Europe - a history that vividly blurs the line between imagination and reality - is a particularly vibrant case study of such dynamics, the same dynamics that lie at the heart of modern perception. It investigates how varied and opposing tendencies co-exist and are transposed from one cultural and temporal register to another; how they emerge and are maintained in constantly renewed, productive tensions - what we call 'inhabited ruins.' Along the way the reader will encounter music from the Terezin concentration camp as a reversed Potemkin village, the BMW as an itinerant lieu de memoire, Mies van der Rohe's architecture as spaces belonging nowhere, anxious geographies, extra-territorial sounds, misremembered avant-gardes, and post-apocalyptic identities that fell out of time.