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Charter of Brasilia

Charter of Brasilia

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09/23/2010

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P
ROCEEDINGS OF THE
I
NTERAMERICAN
S
YMPOSIUM ON
A
UTHENTICITY
 
IN THE
C
ONSERVATION AND
M
ANAGEMENT OF
C
ULTURAL
H
ERITAGE
 
S
AN
A
NTONIO
,
 
T
EXAS
,
 
USA
 
M
ARCH
,
 
1996U
NITED
S
TATES
N
ATIONAL
C
OMMITTEE OF THE
I
NTERNATIONAL
C
OUNCIL ON
M
ONUMENTS AND
S
ITES
 C
OMITÉ
N
ATIONAL DES
E
TATS
U
NIS DU
C
ONSEIL
I
NTERNATIONAL DES
M
ONUMENTS ET DES
S
ITES
 
Charter of Brasilia
 Regional Document on Authenticityof the Southern Cone CountriesArgentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.Adopted at the V Regional Meeting of ICOMOS Brasil
INTRODUCTION:
 
We, the ICOMOS members of the countries of the Southern Cone feel the need to present the topic of authenticityfrom our peculiar regional reality, different from that of European and Oriental countries with long nationaltraditions, as our identity has undergone changes, impositions and transformations that generated twocomplementary processes: the affirmation of a syncretic culture and a culture of resistance.
 
If we spring from the fact that the human activity directed at shaping our environment has at times beencharacterized as the image of a social reality expressed through tangible and intangible resources, then we mustbegin by analyzing the way we organize those images.
 
Immediately, we confirm that in this process, we always operate in two basic dimensions: identity and diversity.
 
It is thus that we organize and interpret our actions upon nature and society, that we plant our crops, that we buildour houses, our cities, our landscapes; that we write our books and paint our paintings.
 
To each of these we assign meaning and value, and in this fashion, we build our culture, which must be understoodas the totality of the creative actions of a society. And in this way, we begin to treasure our cultural heritage.
 
AUTHENTICITY AND IDENTITY
 
In the middle of the last century, Juan Bautista Alberdi said that "to pursue development is to acquire one's owncivilization, perhaps imperfect, but never to copy alien civilizations even though more advanced. Each people musthave its age and its soil, each people must be itself..."
 
In the case of our Latin American people, and more specifically those that constitute the Southern Cone, it ispossible to distinguish several heritages. The first, derived from the Pre-Columbian, is the Indigenous contribution;the second is the initial European legacy; the third is the Creole or Mestizo, to which was added the Africancontribution; and finally, the legacy of the diverse immigrations that began at the end of the 19th century.
 
 
P
ROCEEDINGS OF THE
I
NTERAMERICAN
S
YMPOSIUM ON
A
UTHENTICITY
 
IN THE
C
ONSERVATION AND
M
ANAGEMENT OF
C
ULTURAL
H
ERITAGE
 
S
AN
A
NTONIO
,
 
T
EXAS
,
 
USA
 
M
ARCH
,
 
1996U
NITED
S
TATES
N
ATIONAL
C
OMMITTEE OF THE
I
NTERNATIONAL
C
OUNCIL ON
M
ONUMENTS AND
S
ITES
 C
OMITÉ
N
ATIONAL DES
E
TATS
U
NIS DU
C
ONSEIL
I
NTERNATIONAL DES
M
ONUMENTS ET DES
S
ITES
 
Like our genes, these legacies are always present in the form of cosmic visions or values, even though at times wemay try to exalt one or more of them in detriment of the others. We must be aware of all of them, conqueringthem through an effort in understanding, knowledge and acceptance.
 
The
authenticity
of these values is manifest, supported and preserved in the veracity of the heritage that wereceive and that we transmit. By doing so, we avow that that degree of authenticity inherent in each legacy mustbe dimensioned as a function of these legacies.
 
This way, none will have the right to be considered unique or legitimate. None will have the right to excludeothers. Together, they all will make us become what we are meant to be. They will enrich our range of values andat the same time set the example for respect towards cultural diversity.
 
We understand
identity
as a way to belong and to participate. That is how we are capable of finding our place, ourname and our image, not by contrast, but by discovering real links that tie us to those others with whom we shareone and the same culture.
 
The above said, it leads us to pose certain questions that demand answers: Where do we belong and in what dowe participate? And this question about belonging takes us face to face with the search for historical identity, withvaluing the cultural tradition of our people. And thus we face inseparably the double belonging, which makes oursearch for or own identity all the more complex.
 
The topic of 
authenticity
traverses through that of 
identity
, which is changing and dynamic, and which has thepower to adapt, value, devalue and again revalue the formal aspects of our heritage and its symbolic content.
 
There is no single identity in any one country, and there can be conflicting identities. National identities are still inthe process of becoming, which makes it difficult to establish fixed and invariable criteria for that which is"authentic."
 
We must accept the diverse composition of identity in our countries, which is not hierarchically inferior to thehomogeneity of other cultures. As such, we must recognize the values of the majorities and the minorities, notonly of the dominant cultures, but also of the methods to resist those forces. The different currents that make up asociety can be read differently depending on time and space, but are equally valid, and must be considered at thetime when authenticity is judged.
 
AUTHENTICITY AND MESSAGE
 
The meaning of the word
authenticity
is intimately linked to the concept of 
truth
. That which is authentic is alsothat which is true, that can be considered certain, that presents no doubt. Buildings and sites carry a message oran argument whose value within a specific socio-cultural context, and given its understanding and acceptance bythe community, converts them into patrimony. Based on this principle, we may affirm that a resource is authenticwhen there is correspondence between the material object and its meaning.
 
It is worthwhile to insist on the topic of meaning and message of the cultural resource. The goal of preservingmemory and its cultural manifestations must be approached by aiming to enrich humanity spiritually, beyond thematerial aspect. The tangible support must not be the sole goal of conservation.
 
We must conserve the original message of the resource when it has not been transformed, and thus, has survivedin time; as well as the different layered messages that are equally rich to the original and that resulted from theinteraction between the resource and new and diverse cultural circumstances. This means adopting a dynamic and
 
P
ROCEEDINGS OF THE
I
NTERAMERICAN
S
YMPOSIUM ON
A
UTHENTICITY
 
IN THE
C
ONSERVATION AND
M
ANAGEMENT OF
C
ULTURAL
H
ERITAGE
 
S
AN
A
NTONIO
,
 
T
EXAS
,
 
USA
 
M
ARCH
,
 
1996U
NITED
S
TATES
N
ATIONAL
C
OMMITTEE OF THE
I
NTERNATIONAL
C
OUNCIL ON
M
ONUMENTS AND
S
ITES
 C
OMITÉ
N
ATIONAL DES
E
TATS
U
NIS DU
C
ONSEIL
I
NTERNATIONAL DES
M
ONUMENTS ET DES
S
ITES
 
evolving process. Therefore, authenticity addresses also those vicissitudes undergone by the resource throughoutits history but that have not eradicated its nature.
 
It is imperative to make all communities aware of the meaning of authenticity in the cultural heritage, by providingthe means for its correct knowledge and evaluation, its protection and conservation; and by promoting its artisticand spiritual enjoyment as well as its educational use, where historic memory, testimonials and cultural continuityare the common root.
 
AUTHENTICITY AND CONTEXT
 
Conserving the authenticity of urban districts with heritage value includes the retention of its socio-culturalcontent, improving the quality of life of their inhabitants. The equilibrium between building and context isfundamental, both in an urban and a rural setting. A rupture in this relationship would threaten authenticity.Therefore, it is necessary to create special norms that will maintain the primitive setting whenever possible orgenerate harmonious relationships among massing, texture and color.
 
AUTHENTICITY AND MATERIALS
 
An important portion of our heritage, especially in our traditional and vernacular architecture, is made of materialsthat are by nature ephemeral, such as earth, vegetable elements, wood, etc. In these cases, the renewal of evolving practices with cultural continuity, such as the substitution of certain elements by using traditionaltechniques, constitutes an authentic response. We also consider this a valid action in areas or zones with seismicor climatic risk.
 
DEGREE OF AUTHENTICITY
 
Another aspect that must be taken into consideration is the degree of authenticity in a resource, and thequalification of its authenticities in relation to the forces that gave it its origin : in the spatial, functional,constructive , and decorative aspects, etc. It will vary, for each architecture: colonial, industrial, academicist,eclectic, modern, etc., but always will be sustained through the correct interpretation of the resources on the basisof research, consultation and discussion.
 
CONSERVING AUTHENTICITY
 
In defining parameters for a strategy to conserve authenticity, we must bear in mind the identification of localcultural traditions; respect and valorization of these traditions, in a general way and for its specific components,and the study of the most adequate techniques to preserve all its authenticities.
 
Contemporary treatments must rescue the
character
of the building or site, reinforcing its authenticity withouttransforming its
essence and balance
, avoiding extraordinary actions and enhancing its values.
 
The introduction of new uses in heritage buildings is feasible inasmuch there exist a previous recognition of thebuilding as such, plus a precise diagnostic as to what treatments the building can bear and accept. In all cases, thequality of the treatments is fundamental, and all new elements introduced must be both reversible andharmonious with the whole.
 
In heritage buildings and sites, façadism, theatrical effects, fragmentations, collages and internal gutting are notrecommended, as they lead to the loss of the resource's intrinsic authenticity.
 

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