An invisible heritage

It is Halloween. The veils between our world and the world of the supernatural are thin. Our streets will be filled with strange, other-worldly apparitions demanding bribes to leave nearby humans in peace for another year. Normal religious belief systems are overtaken by anti-religion, the otherworldly forces devoted to disruption, ahierarchy, and the subversion of Christian morality. … More An invisible heritage

But world enough and time

I have been thinking recently about concepts like vintage, familiarity, and the fundamental temporality of aesthetics. The unthinking ability of people to interpret familiar items and symbols within a socialised construction of their meaning is something I’ve discussed before, but the power of these constructs to change imperceptibly yet often rapidly can still surprise me. … More But world enough and time

New Year, old mindset: how heritage can change the way we see the future

From 1984 to the Hunger Games, the future has been a blank sheet which writers can use to show the dystopian possibilities of current situations. Yet apart from dire warnings about the consequences of climate change, government surveillance, and rebellious AI, the future is unpeopled, blank where the past is vivid scenery.  … More New Year, old mindset: how heritage can change the way we see the future

II: Authenticity and glory

The thing about historic houses – the fascinating thing – is that they are material records of lives lived. They are not snapshots in time, but palimpsests of the choices, tastes and experiences of many years, sometimes even of many generations. The decorations, furniture, artworks and even the material of the building itself are not therefore necessarily ‘authentic’ from a conservation point of view, in the sense that they are not original or even accurate re-creations of the original, but instead they tell the honest story of house’s history as it developed over time. … More II: Authenticity and glory