Behated, beloved, betrayed. Conservation culture and survival of modern heritage, Dr Simona Salvo
From Ruxandra-Iulia Stoica on February 17th, 2021
But the critical Italian approach has proved to be mixed-blessing. The survival of so many monuments of the recent past, in spite of the damnatio memoriae still enacted today, may also be interpreted as a specific ‘resilience’ of the Italian culture, which on one side applies a scientific evaluation to declared (and ancient) monuments, and on the other apathetically cohabits and metabolises the remnants of the very recent past avoiding an often engaging and hard elaboration. Artefacts of the past century are therefore likely to survive undisturbed. This is true for iconic buildings, bearing a symbolic value for political or ideological reasons, but also for public buildings, houses, residential estates and infrastructures.
Today this attitude entails a wide range of questions that appear rather compelling as populisms are at the gate in many democratic countries. We should in fact ask why in the past two decades a number of intentional demolitions have occurred in Italy, namely of buildings dating back to the Fifties and Sixties. These architectural pieces are icons of the Italian process of democratisation, achieved in the postwar years and iconised through the memory of the so-called ‘economic boom’ . A series of case studies in the country culminate with the recent disastrous ruin of one bay of Riccardo Morandi’s viaduct over the Polcevera, which has solicited a radical, previously unthought of approach of complete demolition/reconstruction.
The seminar intends to illustrate how the culture of conservation has intentionally regulated modern European approach to pre-existences until today, as sneaky strategies of persuasion and uncultured governments apply to a neglected heritage that now struggles to survive.