Volume #55: Intangible Cultural Heritage

June, 2019

To think of heritage is to think of protecting and preserving our presence in the past. Heritage is a buzzword; it informs discourse about our identity, reminding us not just of who we were, but who we are. But another lesson to be learned from history is the necessity of change and dynamism. What we want to preserve and why we want to preserve it is not set in stone, although we may have thought so for a century. In Volume #55: Intangible Cultural Heritage we dig into the politics and practices of safeguarding the intangible; we look at the kick-back effects on tangible cultural heritage; and wonder if institutionalizing preservation of the intangible is in fact a threat to its own survival.

When it comes to collecting and protecting, perhaps what we value most are the distinctive traditions of our cultures. When UNESCO introduced the notion of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2003, rituals, traditions, arts, crafts and social practices were for the first time considered worthy of preserving alongside ‘tangible’ cultural artefacts. Presented as a bottom-up initiative, it was an attempt to give cultural agency to oft-marginalized groups.

Yet the implementation of an ICH logic also plays a role in sustaining Western and universalistic views on culture that have social, geopolitical and ecological implications. When economic instances are considered in connection to heritage, ICH can be regarded as a way to capitalize on certain habits and traditions. In this issue we address questions of heritage and its intangible turn, and we look into the hegemonic role that modernity still plays in shaping heritage institutions, ideas and beliefs, and orienting cultural policies and practices for its preservation.

With contributions by: Rory Sherlock, Amritha Ganapathy, Francesco Degl’Innocenti, Cameron David Warner, Zach Pontz, Troy Conrad Therrien, Zachary Sweeney-Lynch, Will Tooze, James Hendrix Elsey, bmd, and Arjen Oosterman.

Interviews with: 
 Francesco Bandarin, John Palmesino, Doina Işfănoni, Saverio Massaro, Chiara Bortolotto, and KIEN.

Table of contents

Priceless
Arjen Oosterman

The Art of Safeguarding
Francesco Bandarin interviewed

Atlas of the Intangible
Amritha Ganapathy with Francesco Degl’Innocenti

HERITAGE

All Is Flux
Rory Sherlock

The Geopolitics of Preservation
John Palmesino interviewed

Philadelphia: Whose Heritage?
Zach Pontz photo essay

The Romanian Way
Doina Işfănoni interviewed

Tibetan Heritage in Urban China
Cameron David Warner

CULTURAL

Therrien Story-Line
Troy Conrad

Conversation on Waste as Heritage
Saverio Massaro

Spam Heritage
Will Tooze

Neoliberal Urbanism: Kicking Off
Zachary Sweeney-Lynch

INTANGIBLE

Gilgamesh in a Blockchain Age
James Hendrix Elsey

The Participatory Community
Chiara Bortolotto interviewed

The Makgeolli Revival: Tradition and Modernity
Zachary Sweeney-Lynch

Safeguarding Intangible NL
KIEN interviewed

Picture Postcard as Christmas Gift
Arjen Oosterman

Information

Volume #55: Intangible Cultural Heritage
Editor in Chief: Arjen Oosterman
Designed by Irma Boom Office (I. Boom, Jan van der Kleijn)
72 Pages, 33 x 24 cm
Soft cover, stapled

ISSN 1574-9401
ISBN 9789077966655

Buy Volume #55