L'Allegorie du patrimoine or The invention of the Historic Monument (&translated by Lauren M. O'Connell) was written by Françoise Choay. She was born in 1925 in Paris, has been a historian of the theories and of the urban and architectural forms. She is an emeriti professor at the university of Paris I and VIII, also in Belgium, Italy and the United States of America. She is one of the most famous scholars of the contemporary school of thoughts with respect to landscapes and its links with built space (Wikipedia). In many of her books, she situates the description of the term patrimony through its history, through its distinct epochs, in order to criticize and analyze the current cult to the term patrimony and what it encompasses.
She has described this analysis and the patrimonial politics in her book Le Patrimoine en question, Anthologie pour un combat (Benoît de Sagazan). Choay chooses to fight against the current way the patrimony is being used for, indeed, her thought is that the contemporary globalization tends to turn the theme of patrimony into a critical asset for pure profit. In L'Allegorie du patrimoine, she defines the notion of patrimony through out several historical periods, starting from the antiquity to today's time. Choay highlights the evolution of the studies of the patrimony, pointing up parallel practices such as restoration, conservation or reemployment.
[...] Moreover, this work is taken up by Choay in the book "Le Patrimoine en question, anthologie pour un combat.” So it seems that such work is essential for the author. However, it is true that Choay's conclusion could not be as effective if she had not described the history of built patrimony in the first chapters and described all the thesis. It is exactly on this issue Choay insists all along the book. This characteristic of the vision we have on the past seems essential to build the future vision we need to have on the patrimony. [...]
[...] She even says: long as the notion of historic monument is established, the form and the expectations of the protector discourse are often borrowed by the politics seeking the destruction of this type of good.” A conservation founded on the distinction of the and “immeuble” The conservation at Quattrocento already uses the distinction of meuble or immeuble. The conservation of meubles seems simple, objects are conserved in what we call “studioli” then, in the cabinets of curiosity. In addition, the conservation of the edifices is even done on the site because passion of the collector is not mobilizable for their backup”. [...]
[...] This thesis opened the door to many other theses such as Le Patrimoine en question: anthologie pour un combat While reconsidering a system of thought and by revealing anthropological stakes, she sought to start an awakening of the threats, which weigh on our inheritance/patrimony. Yet this is not an alarmist thesis because she recommends solutions for fighting against these problems. I believe in her recommendations, the three solutions are education, an ethical use of the monuments and the collective participation to the production of living patrimony. [...]
[...] The expression of this facet can be illustrated by the lighting of a monument at night, or the lightning of the interior of a monument that is not supposed to be lightened. Or animations such as shows, audiovisual commentaries, restaurants, modernization, tourist shops or even worse, the installation of parking lots. Moreover and paradoxically, the re-employment is the last technique of development that the author talks about in her book and leaves her most important thoughts. Here, the monument soustrait aux risques de la désaffection pour être exposé à l'usure et l'usurpation This can be found in several types of patrimony where emerge many problems such as being too expensive. [...]
[...] Finally, the Romantic Movement enriches the perception of historic monument thanks to the “mises en scène” placed by romantic artists. Historic city: between ancient city and museum-city Choay widen her topic to the urban patrimony: the latter had significant changes through the XIX century. In fact, Haussmann changed radically the urban landscape by modernizing ancient cities by destructing, sometimes, full districts. However, this new trend destroyed historic monuments, which angers Victor Hugo. The notion of historic monument will derive to historic city. [...]
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