Heritage and the Politics of Culture
The diverse contexts in which cultural heritage has become a central concern of artistic performance have transformed the meaning, use and profound connotations of the heritage concept. What has “heritage” come to mean during the last two centuries across profound political shifts and artistic endeavours, and what might these re-appropriated meanings have in common with each other? On the one hand, heritage professionals have made significant use of artistic practice as a tool to better understand their field of interest, whether in the form of photography, creative writing, installation art or sculpture. Furthermore, art has been widely adapted as a colonizing instrument used by the colonizer to attach value and to draw political good will to sites of archaeological and cultural interest. In recent years the critical examination of these cross-media performances has become a vibrant area of practice and research in its own right. On the other hand, contemporary artists have resorted to their own heritage and memory as a source of intermittent inspiration to deal with post-colonial experiences. Through artistic practice, heritage has been transformed and reinterpreted as a potent expression of multiple cultural identities, individual memories, shared colonial practices and post-colonial narratives.
The panel will explore the convergent boundaries between heritage and art across a broad range of concepts and performances, from artistic interventions in the museum space to contemporary art interpretations and research, which deploy and take inspiration from heritage. The invited speakers will discuss the changing perceptions of shared and personal heritage, and issues related to contested heritage and memory across Southeast, East Asia and Central Asia The key ambition here is to ‘open up’ new and innovative ways of thinking about and researching the past in the present through greater engagement with artistic practices.