This panel explores the relationship between heritage, art and their politics. Focus is on examining this relationship beyond taken-for-granted dichotomies, and on illuminating the ways in which heritage and art participate in both forms of dominance and projects of resistance.
This panel explores the relationship between heritage and art by examining their complex articulations. Saliently rooted in and affected by politics, art and heritage become sites where state ideologies and grassroots activisms are produced, shaped and disseminated. Bearing this in mind, the primary objective of the panel is to investigate this relationship in a variety of diverse, contemporary contexts. We would like to critically interrogate the view that heritage and art represent radically different approaches to the material world, one focusing on conservation, the other on change. By stressing the practices that they share, such as representation, interpretation, recontextualization, and display, we would like to reveal the blurred boundaries between the two domains, emphasizing how heritage and art lie at the crossroads of tradition/modernity, continuity/change, and conservation/creativity. In addition to questioning the art/heritage dichotomy, our goal will be to analyze the complex politics surrounding and informing this alliance. While the protection and valorization of a "distinctive" heritage has become a central concern of national and transnational cultural policies targeting not only tourism promotion, but also socio-economic development and post-conflict reconciliation, our fieldwork research discloses how heritage and art can be mobilized by both projects of exclusion and projects of emancipation. As we investigate the multiple ways in which the two participate in forms of dominance (e.g., producing orientalist images, reifying the state or affecting the spatial politics of neoliberalism), we will also emphasize that heritage and art can turn into important sites of grassroots cultural resistance.