SIEF2013 11th Congress.
Kristin Kuutma: Cultural heritage: from restrained circulation to incited transformation

Video by: UTTV 02.07.2013 2704 views Cultural Science and Arts



While heritage studies presents a prolific field of transdisciplinary scope, it is
often characterized by contradictory significance or interpretation. Cultural heritage is a valueladen
concept that eludes a neutral ground of connotation, whereas its evaluation may fluctuate
between positive and negative over time and space.If circulation assumes flow, exchange and
mobility, then what kind of movement is implicated by the claim of cultural forms, objects or
expressions as heritage? To what extent is the heritagization framework and pertaining curative
processes invigorating or petrifying? Does it elicit or suppress agency? These questions require a
more detailed reflection on the stasis and motion of cultural forms thus doctored with an inquisitive
look into pertinent policies. A designation of cultural heritage, at once uplifting and contested, is
a social construct caught in time but indicating ambiguous temporal and political entanglements.
It simultaneously envisions demise and revitalisation, disappearance and transmission. Being a
project of ideology, heritage urges the preservation and celebration of elements of a reified past
that are intended to manifest rootedness and rights for possession. Yet the intervening cultural
political inclusions and exclusions address the concerns of the present. This talk will explore heritage
discourses and heritage regimes which attempt to stabilise the incessantly altering - the dynamics of
modes of expression and lifestyles. Heritage indicates a mode of cultural production with reformative
significance, while giving rise to technologies of power that employ political and international tools
for cultural valorisation. As a guiding principle in cultural management it instigates safeguarding
programs with transformative power.