since I received the request to engage with the topics of History and cultural heritage, like Katerina, I have been thinking about cultural heritage as a problematic term. I completely agree with her. we can think of cultural heritage as a mummified item, but we can also think of it as something dynamic, constantly changing, crisscrossed by all sorts of odd, subtle and definitely oppressive relations of power, and definitely multilayered.
She is right when she mentions the implication of cultural heritage and the political.
However, I also have other items in mind. for instance, how do we define cultural heritage? what stands for it? and who gets to call it cultural heritage?
very briefly: when I think of cultural heritage, I don't necessarily think of big monuments and landmarks. by themselves, those are, to say it bluntly, pieces of stone. what makes them monuments though is the fact that there is an entire city living in their proximity, and a bunch of people assigning significance to them. this significance can be historical, geographical, but also very personal. there are sounds around these buildings and stones, and those are very different from the sounds that used to define the area in the past. Also, I think cultural heritage is not merely defined by architecture and iconic places, but also by the animals living in the interstices of the city, the plants that are being planted, chopped or moved to make space to these building, or the people who live there, or used to live there, pushed away by gentrification, or, worse, were kicked by evictions or wars and cultural genocide?
I think cultural heritage should be understood as a bundle of layers some defined by the political and economic forces whose voice is very loud, but some defined by individuals, plants and animals whose voice is not that loud.
I guess this comes from my experience as a person originally coming from Italy who is now based in North America.
North America has a huge cultural heritage: however, it has been threatened and often successfully (sigh!) deleted through centuries of colonization and cultural genocide.
But this is also true in the Mediterranean region. I will be visiting Athens in the next few weeks (talking about political and economic forces ...after all the polemics, I will be checking out Documenta) and Venice (mmmmm…Biennale, and the big boats in the luna, and the environmental threat coming from the sea etc…) and I bet lots can be said about these two places alone.
Therefore, in thinking about what innovation and new technologies can do for cultural heritage, we can take the usual cartographies, the visible histories, the official documents as reference points and present them as sleek augmented reality apps , but we can also combine the tech approach with strategies involving real face to face interactions, performative gestures, use technologies as storage for intimate stories or have story telling sessions etc…, in other words, an approach that is not just from above, but also and especially from below. I am a big fan of hybrid approaches, because they are more inclusive (they are multigenerational, they span class, culture and why not? personal preferences).
also, I am wondering how the multi sensorial can be recorded and/or featured. I have been paying a lot of attention to smell and sounds of machinery recently. these items, more than specific melodies (the humming of the tram cables for instance) can really evoke many memories. I am not sure these items can be reproduced, but they are very site specific and are still part of the cultural heritage.
my two cents
> On May 17, 2017, at 6:10 AM, Katerna Karoussos <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Hi All,
> Initially, I think that we should clarify the predicates: i. Cultural
> Heritage and ii. Mediterranean Rim.
> i. What is the type of cultural asset that we are
> discussing? A large number of cultural asset has been processed by political
> and/or economical activities. From the moment that is extracted from its
> spatiotemporal environment, it has been blended with numerous associations,
> not all purposeful.
> Hence by implementing computational and other contemporary practices, are we
> looking to reveal what was that which the cultural asset once expressed and
> served, or we simply add more associations, dissociating it from its
> particular context?
> ii. The geography of Mediterranean Rim has been radically
> changed. On which map one can rely on when talking about cultural heritage?
> Because if we take for granted that we are viewing the cultural heritage
> from a European perspective, we admit, a priori, all the associations of a
> cultural asset.
> To find a new dislocation process and a new field that could treat the
> cultural asset not as a mummified object, subject to our convenience, but as
> a self-sustained, living organism, it would be preferable to remain critical
> both to the cultural asset's associations and to its geography.
> Katerina Karoussos
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