09 Mar
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New Project!: Decay Without Mourning

Image: Natural heritage as Cultural Heritage

SLF is excited to announce a new project in collaboration with KTH Royal Institute Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment (Sweden), Stellenbosch University’s Africa Open Institute for Music, Research and Innovation (South Africa), and Pinacoteca do Estado Museum, Sao Paulo (Brazil). Funded by the Volkswagen Stiftung (also: Volkswagen Foundation) over the duration of 2022-2025 the project seeks to foreground notions of decay within cultural heritage practices.

The aim of this project is two-fold:
1) To theoretically engage with cultural heritage by shifting the focus away from the assumption that heritage should be primarily concerned with halting decay or rescuing material from loss. Instead, we argue that heritage should be grounded in the present, as a practice fundamentally shaped by the processes of decay.
2) To test these parameters practically through curatorial interventions; alternative strategies of archive and museum making, collecting and preservation; performances and experiments.

The SLF component will be led by Leif Petersen who will be engaging with Cape Town BossieDoktor and nature conservation communities to explore the counterbalance between cultural and natural heritage protection. We plan on conducting a series of participatory engagement processes including digital storytelling to explore this balance and consider decay within the perspectives of these important values.

The partners will draw upon a wide variety of expertise in South Africa, Brazil, Japan and Antarctica, and consider domains such as archives and museums, heritage practices, landscapes, food science, environmental history and nature conservation. A series of peer reviewed articles, films and creative projects are expected to be generated as a consequence of this work.

Image: The Decay team at SLF

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