After Europe: The Authentic, the Fake and the Decolonization of Historic Monuments

Panel, 13 Kasım Salı günü saat 14:00'da Bilkent Üniversitesi'nde gerçekleşiyor.

Despite the frequent use of authenticity in art and architecture and the ways it has altered the disciplinary practices of historic preservation and museology in the twentieth century, the treatment of the issue has been largely unproblematic, amounting at times to an unthinking affirmation. A series of international charters for historical preservation, The Conference of Athens (1931), The Charter of Venice (1964), and The Nara Document of Authenticity (1994), enshrined the quest for the authentic into a professional code of ethics, outlawing once and for all imaginative ‘restorations’.

In this epilogue to his recent book, Bilsel examines the regimes that authorize or disallow the practices of displaying, preserving, and managing ruins. Questioning the recent histories of historic preservation in Europe, Bilsel asks why did the practice of producing authentic sites and monuments fare so successfully in modern contexts that did not share Europe’s intellectual history and to whom the European concept of historical time was, presumably, foreign? This lecture seeks answers to these questions by invoking three registers—authoritative, bureaucratic and performative—through which architectural monuments had come to be seen as ‘authentic’ by 1930.

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