Beyond Presentism

Heritage and the Temporality of Things

in Ethnologia Europaea
Torgeir Rinke Bangstad UiT - The Arctic University of Norway

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Heritage is often seen as a symptom of a temporally disjointed and all-pervasive present which shapes the pasts it requires to make up for the failures of linear, modern and progressive history. As a consequence, the pasts in heritage are often regarded as the result of unidirectional processes of attributing value to largely compliant materials. This article explores the constitutive role of materials in different stages of heritage-making and stress the specific material memory of buildings as central in the negotiation of temporalities in conservation practice. The notion of material memory allows for a closer consideration of both the unsolicited material effects of past events that is part of the historical fabric of buildings, as well as their ongoing transformation exceeding any one unitary and neatly contained historical present.

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