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Living with the past, for the future. The entanglements of ethics, aesthetics and old houses in times of environmental challenges.

Conference contribution
Authors Sigrun Thorgrimsdottir
Published in International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments, Conference Coimbra, October 4-8th 2018
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Conservation
Language en
Links iaste.berkeley.edu/iaste/wp-content...
Keywords Care, repair, everyday practices, maintenance practices, old buildings, heritage, materiality
Subject categories Cultural Studies, Ethnology, Architecture, Settlement studies

Abstract

The material world is ephemeral and alive, houses grow old, wood rots, paint flakes off. To slow down this deterioration maintenance is crucial, houses need tender loving care. Maintaining an old house is a project that many take on as a responsibility to contribute to the sustainability of life on earth, a project that entails negotiation and conversation with tradition and ideas about ‘pastness’ and history worth continuing. This paper presents preliminary investigations into the discourse of maintenance and repair of ordinary older buildings and the entanglements of heritage, aesthetical preferences, politics and increasing environmental concerns embedded in everyday life. The paper explores the continual practices of maintenance, mending and repair of older private houses as everyday heritage practices. Furthermore, it investigates how the aesthetical appreciation for ageing material and practices such as the acquisition of sustainable skills and knowledge for endurance are intertwined with ethics. This appears in everyday choices such as ways of inhabiting and represents homeowners’ engagement in the production of their tomorrow. The paper is part of an ongoing phd work within the research project Maintenance matters: Exploring common contexts of heritage (e)valuation. The purpose of the project is to explore building-as-heritage in the antroposcene and enduring values and meanings found within common contexts of ‘maintenance and repair’.

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