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Transporting readers from derelict homesteads to imperiled harbors, postindustrial ruins to Cold War test sites, Curated Decay presents an unparalleled provocation to conventional thinking on the conservation of cultural heritage. Caitlin DeSilvey proposes rethinking the care of certain vulnerable sites in terms of ecology and entropy, and explains how we must adopt an ethical stance that allows us to collaborate with—rather than defend against—natural processes. Curated Decay chronicles DeSilvey’s travels to places where experiments in curated ruination and creative collapse are under way, or under consideration. It uses case studies from the United States, Europe, and elsewhere to explore how objects and structures produce meaning not only in their preservation and persistence, but also in their decay and disintegration. Through accessible and engaging discussion of specific places and their stories, it traces how cultural memory is generated in encounters with ephemeral artifacts and architectures. An interdisciplinary reframing of the concept of the ruin that combines historical and philosophical depth with attentive storytelling, Curated Decay represents the first attempt to apply new theories of materiality and ecology to the concerns of critical heritage studies.
In Berlin, decrepit structures do not always denote urban blight. Decayed buildings are incorporated into everyday life as residences, exhibition spaces, shops, offices, and as leisure space. As nodes of public dialogue, they serve as platforms for dissenting views about the future and past of Berlin. In this book, Daniela Sandler introduces the concept of counterpreservation as a way to understand this intentional appropriation of decrepitude. The embrace of decay is a sign of Berlin’s iconoclastic rebelliousness, but it has also been incorporated into the mainstream economy of tourism and development as part of the city’s countercultural cachet. Sandler presents the possibilities and shortcomings of counterpreservation as a dynamic force in Berlin and as a potential concept for other cities. Counterpreservation is part of Berlin’s fabric: in the city’s famed Hausprojekte (living projects) such as the Køpi, Tuntenhaus, and KA 86; in cultural centers such as the Haus Schwarzenberg, the Schokoladen, and the legendary, now defunct Tacheles; in memorials and museums; and even in commerce and residences. The appropriation of ruins is a way of carving out affordable spaces for housing, work, and cultural activities. It is also a visual statement against gentrification, and a complex representation of history, with the marks of different periods—the nineteenth century, World War II, postwar division, unification—on display for all to see. Counterpreservation exemplifies an everyday urbanism in which citizens shape private and public spaces with their own hands, but it also influences more formal designs, such as the Topography of Terror, the Berlin Wall Memorial, and Daniel Libeskind’s unbuilt redevelopment proposal for a site peppered with ruins of Nazi barracks. By featuring these examples, Sandler questions conventional notions of architectural authorship and points toward the value of participatory environments.
Essays about ruination, resilience, reading, and religion generated by a reflection on a fourth-century hagiography. In Jerome’s Life of Saint Hilarion, a fourth-century saint briefly encounters the ruins of an earthquake-toppled city and a haunted garden in Cyprus. From these two fragmentary passages, Virginia Burrus delivers a series of sweeping meditations on our experience of place and the more-than-human worlds—the earth and its gods—that surround us. Moving between the personal and geological, Earthquakes and Gardens ruminates on destruction and resilience, ruination and resurgence, grief and consolation in times of disaster and loss. Ultimately, Burrus’s close readings reimagine religion as a practice that unsettles certainty and develops mutual flourishing.
Preservation of natural and cultural heritage is often said to be something that is done for the future, or on behalf of future generations, but the precise relationship of such practices to the future is rarely reflected upon. Heritage Futures draws on research undertaken over four years by an interdisciplinary, international team of 16 researchers and more than 25 partner organisations to explore the role of heritage and heritage-like practices in building future worlds. Engaging broad themes such as diversity, transformation, profusion and uncertainty, Heritage Futures aims to understand how a range of conservation and preservation practices across a number of countries assemble and resource different kinds of futures, and the possibilities that emerge from such collaborative research for alternative approaches to heritage in the Anthropocene. Case studies include the cryopreservation of endangered DNA in frozen zoos, nuclear waste management, seed biobanking, landscape rewilding, social history collecting, space messaging, endangered language documentation, built and natural heritage management, domestic keeping and discarding practices, and world heritage site management.
The Dead City unearths meanings from such depictions of ruination and decay, looking at representations of both thriving cities and ones which are struggling, abandoned or simply in transition. It reveals that ruination presents a complex opportunity to envision new futures for a city, whether that is by rewriting its past or throwing off old assumptions and proposing radical change. Seen in a certain light, for example, urban ruin and decay are a challenge to capitalist narratives of unbounded progress. They can equally imply that power structures thought to be deeply ingrained are temporary, contingent and even fragile. Examining ruins in Chernobyl, Detroit, London, Manchester and Varosha, this book demonstrates that how we discuss and depict urban decline is intimately connected to the histories, economic forces, power structures and communities of a given city, as well as to conflicting visions for its future.
Remains of the Soviet Past in Estonia by Francisco Martinez Pdf
What happens to legacies that do not find any continuation? In Estonia, a new generation that does not remember the socialist era and is open to global influences has grown up. As a result, the impact of the Soviet memory in people’s conventional values is losing its effective power, opening new opportunities for repair and revaluation of the past. Francisco Martinez brings together a number of sites of interest to explore the vanquishing of the Soviet legacy in Estonia: the railway bazaar in Tallinn where concepts such as ‘market’ and ‘employment’ take on distinctly different meanings from their Western use; Linnahall, a grandiose venue, whose Soviet heritage now poses diffi cult questions of how to present the building’s history; Tallinn’s cityscape, where the social, spatial and temporal co-evolution of the city can be viewed and debated; Narva, a city that marks the border between the Russian Federation, NATO and the European Union, and represents a place of continual negotiation of belonging; and the new Estonian National Museum in Raadi, an area on the outskirts of Tartu, that has been turned into a memory field. The anthropological study of all these places shows that national identity and historical representations can be constructed in relation to waste and disrepair too, also demonstrating how we can understand generational change in a material sense. Praise for Remains of the Soviet Past in Estonia 'By adopting the tropes of ‘repair’ and ‘waste’, this book innovatively manages to link various material registers from architecture, intergenerational relations, affect and museums with ways of making the past present. Through a rigorous yet transdisciplinary method, Martínez brings together different scales and contexts that would often be segregated out. In this respect, the ethnography unfolds a deep and nuanced analysis, providing a useful comparative and insightful account of the processes of repair and waste making in all their material, social and ontological dimensions.' Victor Buchli, Professor of Material Culture at UCL 'This book comprises an endearingly transdisciplinary ethnography of postsocialist material culture and social change in Estonia. Martínez creatively draws on a number of critical and cultural theorists, together with additional research on memory and political studies scholarship and the classics of anthropology. Grappling concurrently with time and space, the book offers a delightfully thick description of the material effects generated by the accelerated post-Soviet transformation in Estonia, inquiring into the generational specificities in experiencing and relating to the postsocialist condition through the conceptual anchors of wasted legacies and repair. This book defies disciplinary boundaries and shows how an attention to material relations and affective infrastructures might reinvigorate political theory.' Maria Mälksoo, Senior Lecturer, Brussels School of International Studies at the University of Kent
The decline of formal religious systems has left a moral and emotional emptiness in Western culture. George Steiner, internationally renowned thinker and scholar, pursues this and examines the alternative "mythologies" of Marxism, Freudian psychology, L vi-Straussian anthropology, and fads of irrationality.
Environmental Humanities on the Brink by Vincent Bruyere Pdf
In this experimental work of ecocriticism, Vincent Bruyere confronts the seeming pointlessness of the humanities amid spectacularly negative future projections of environmental collapse. The vanitas paintings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries dazzlingly depict heaps of riches alongside skulls, shells, and hourglasses. Sometimes even featuring the illusion that their canvases are peeling away, vanitas images openly declare their own pointlessness in relation to the future. This book takes inspiration from the vanitas tradition to fearlessly contemplate the stakes of the humanities in the Anthropocene present, when the accumulated human record could well outlast the climate conditions for our survival. Staging a series of unsettling encounters with early modern texts and images whose claims of relevance have long since expired, Bruyere experiments with the interpretive affordances of allegory and fairytale, still life and travelogues. Each chapter places a vanitas motif—canvas, debris, toxics, paper, ark, meat, and light—in conversation with stories and images of the Anthropocene, from the Pleistocene Park geoengineering project to toxic legacies to in-vitro meat. Considering questions of quiet erasure and environmental memory, this book argues we ought to keep reading, even by the flickering light of extinction.
Co-curating the City by Clare Melhuish,Henric Benesch,Dean Sully,Ingrid Martins Holmberg Pdf
Co-curating the City explores the role of universities in the construction and mobilisation of heritage discourses in urban development and regeneration processes, with a focus on six case study sites: University of Gothenburg (Sweden), UCL East (London), University of Lund (Sweden). Roma Tre university (Rome), American University of Beirut, and Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil. The aim of the book is to expand the field of critical heritage studies in the urban domain, by examining the role of institutional actors both in the construction of urban heritage discourses and in how those discourses influence urban planning decisions or become instrumentalised as mechanisms for urban regeneration. It proposes that universities engage in these processes in a number of ways: as producers of urban knowledge that is mobilised to intervene in planning processes; as producers of heritage practices that are implemented in development contexts in the urban realm; and as developers engaged in campus construction projects that both reference heritage discourses as a mechanism for promoting support and approval by planners and the public, and capitalise on heritage assets as a resource. The book highlights the participatory processes through which universities are positioning themselves as significant institutions in the development of urban heritage narratives. The case studies investigate how universities, as mixed communities of interest dispersed across buildings and urban sites, engage in strategies of engagement with local people and neighbourhoods, and ask how this may be contributing to a re-shaping of ideas, narratives, and lived experience of urban heritage in which universities have a distinctive agency. The authors cross disciplinary and cultural boundaries, and bridge academia and practice.
An award-winning exploration of the presence of the dead in the lives of the living A common remedy after suffering the loss of a loved one is to progress through the “stages of grief,” with “acceptance” as the final stage in the process. But is it necessary to leave death behind, to stop dwelling on the dead, to get over the pain? Vinciane Despret thinks not. In her fascinating, elegantly translated book, this influential thinker argues that, in practice, people in all cultures continue to enjoy a lively, inventive, positive relationship with their dead. Through her unique storytelling woven from ethnographic sources and her own family history, Despret assembles accounts of those who have found ways to live their daily lives with their dead. She rejects the idea that one must either subscribe to “complete mourning” (in a sense, to get rid of the dead) or else fall into fantasy and superstition. She explores instead how the dead still play an active, tangible role through those who are living, who might assume their place in a family or in society; continue their labor or art; or thrive from a shared inheritance or an organ donation. This is supported by dreams and voices, novels, television and popular culture, the work of clairvoyants, and the everyday stories and activities of the living. For decades now, in the West, the dead have been discreet and invisible. Today, especially as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Despret suggests that perhaps we will be willing to engage with the dead in ways that bring us happiness despite our loss. Despret’s unique method of inquiry makes her book both entertaining and instructive. Our Grateful Dead offers a new, pragmatic approach to social and cultural research and may indeed provide compassionate therapy for those of us coping with death.
Urban and Rural Decay Photography by J. Dennis Thomas Pdf
If you are a photographer who sees the beauty in abandoned buildings, crumbling facades, and preserving a fading history, and who also has a love of urban exploration, you have stumbled on a must-have for your photographic library. Urban and Rural Decay Photography offers expert tips and techniques for capturing breathtaking photographs of your favorite decay scenes, whether in urban or rural settings. Author J. Dennis Thomas guides you through the history of decay photography, shows you what equipment you will need, and discusses digital, film and HDR capture and composition. The book addresses which artistic considerations work best for the kinds of shots that capture a moment and convey a story. He also provides you with important safety advice and matters of the law when entering and working with decaying structures. Chock full of inspiring images that will ignite your creativity and your passion for decay photography, Urban and Rural Decay Photography is just the book you need to get you out and discovering your newest urban or rural exploration adventure.
"In 'The Ruins Lesson,' the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning poet-critic Susan Stewart explores the West's fascination with ruins in literature, visual art, and architecture, covering a vast chronological and geographical range from the ancient Egyptians to T. S. Eliot. In the multiplication of images of ruins, artists, and writers she surveys, Stewart shows how these thinkers struggled to recover lessons out of the fragility or our cultural remains. She tries to understand the appeal in the West of ruins and ruination, particularly Roman ruins, in the work and thought of Goethe, Piranesi, Blake, and Wordsworth, whom she returns to throughout the book. Her sweeping, deeply felt study encompasses the founding legends of broken covenants and original sin; Christian transformations of the classical past; the myths and rituals of human fertility; images of ruins in Renaissance allegory, eighteenth-century melancholy, and nineteenth-century cataloguing; and new gardens that eventually emerged from ancient sites of disaster"--
In Colombia, decades of social and armed conflict and the US-led war on drugs have created a seemingly untenable situation for scientists and rural communities as they attempt to care for forests and grow non-illicit crops. In Vital Decomposition Kristina M. Lyons presents an ethnography of human-soil relations. She follows state soil scientists and peasants across labs, greenhouses, forests, and farms and attends to the struggles and collaborations between farmers, agrarian movements, state officials, and scientists over the meanings of peace, productivity, rural development, and sustainability in Colombia. In particular, Lyons examines the practices and philosophies of rural farmers who value the decomposing layers of leaves, which make the soils that sustain life in the Amazon, and shows how the study and stewardship of the soil point to alternative frameworks for living and dying. In outlining the life-making processes that compose and decompose into soil, Lyons theorizes how life can thrive in the face of the violence, criminalization, and poisoning produced by militarized, growth-oriented development.
After Discourse by Bjørnar Olsen,Mats Burström,Caitlin DeSilvey,Þóra Pétursdóttir Pdf
After Discourse is an interdisciplinary response to the recent trend away from linguistic and textual approaches and towards things and their affects. The new millennium brought about serious changes to the intellectual landscape. Favoured approaches associated with the linguistic and the textual turn lost some of their currency, and were followed by a new curiosity and concern for things and their natures. Gathering contributions from archaeology, heritage studies, history, geography, literature and philosophy, After Discourse offers a range of reflections on what things are, how we become affected by them, and the ethical concerns they give rise to. Through a varied constellation of case studies, it explores ways of dealing with matters which fall outside, become othered from, or simply cannot be grasped through perspectives derived solely from language and discourse. After Discourse provides challenging new perspectives for scholars and students interested in other-than-textual encounters between people and the objects with which we share the world.
Heritage Ecologies by Torgeir Rinke Bangstad,Þóra Pétursdóttir Pdf
Heritage Ecologies presents an ecological understanding of heritage that furthers a concern for how its making and unmaking always involves a wide range of human and other-than-human actors. Recognizing the entangled nature-cultures of heritage is essential in the Anthropocene era, where uncertainty and rapid environmental change force us to recast common conceptions of inheritance and to envision new strategies for preservation. Heritage sites are meant to be open and shared spaces, and a recurring argument in the cases presented here is that this openness inevitably also overrides our selections, orders and appreciations. Through a diverse range of case studies, the chapters collected in this book aim to explore the affects and memories engendered by diverse heritage ecologies where humans are neither the sole makers nor the only inheritors. The common call is that the experiential, perceptive and informational plenitude enabled through contributions of other-than-human actors is key to an ecological rethinking of heritage in the twenty-first century. Heritage Ecologies is unique in bringing heritage studies into closer proximity with a wide variety of non-representational and object-oriented theories and is an important volume for students and researchers in archaeology and heritage studies.