Saturday, August 23, 2008

How things were

Do you remember the old days? Are your memories something that should be transmitted to new generations? Whose memories should be preserved, mine or yours? How do we decide which aspects of tangible or intangible culture should become enshrined as heritage, and which disappear from 'collective memory'? And once we agree which memories become heritage, how do we communicate their experiential meaning?

Mark Slobin wrote that "A recent study of tourism never defines 'heritage', but explains its importance in packaging people and sites for international consumption. [...] Once put into play, heritage helps crystallize the attitudes and actions of cultural tourists who find it ever easier to dip into unfamiliar lifestyles" (Slobin 2000:13)

Retro is a similar way of viewing the past. In the book Museum Frictions, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett comments on a statement from the humor magazine Onion: "‘If current levels of U.S. retro consumption are allowed to continue unchecked, we may run entirely out of past by as soon as 2005’ and ‘We are talking about a potentially devastating crisis situation in which our society will express nostalgia for events which have yet to occur.’ [...] As the retro clock speeds up, life becomes heritage almost before it has a chance to be lived and heritage fills the life space." (Kirshenblatt-Gimblett 2006:180)

Onion News Network has another, more recent comment on the subject:

Historic ‘Blockbuster’ Store Offers Glimpse Of How Movies Were Rented In The Past
Historic �Blockbuster� Store Offers Glimpse Of How Movies Were Rented In The Past

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