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Conceptual Framework to Use the Authenticity Concept

Conceptual Framework to Use the Authenticity Concept

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08/20/2013

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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
 
ICOMOS BOLIVIA
Conceptual Framework to Use the Authenticity Concept
 
Mireya Muñoz, President ICOMOS BOLIVIAA. IntroductionBolivia has a rich cultural heritage, including archeological, historical, religious and ethnographicsites, as well as vernacular architecture with unique characteristics in, both, the region and theworld. By law, the Bolivian State is in charge of the protection of the cultural heritage, eventhough it has had scarce resources to properly carry out its duty. Nevertheless, during the lastdecades it has worked with the support of international institutions to carry out various typesof restoration, discussed below to illustrate the utilization of the concepts of authenticity andintegrity in Bolivia.These concepts, however, have not been easy to understand, manage or use for the varioustypes of restoration work. In Bolivia we need to continue to work intensely so as to structureand agree upon a work agenda aimed at clarifying the authenticity concept for the preservationof our cultural heritage.With the aim of providing a greater objectivity degree to the concept of authenticity, this paperseeks to offer a conceptual framework to identify main principles and obstacles of a universalnature on how to use of the authenticity concept for the preservation of our cultural heritage.
 
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
 
B. Analysis of the Authenticity ConceptThe Authenticity Concept in Relation to its Use or FunctionThe authenticity concept cannot be the same for different types of cultural heritage. In the caseof a historical monument with cultural importance due to its role in the regional or nationalhistory clearly the authenticity concept should be quite close to the "genuineness" notion,ensuring as much as possible that there will be genuine: (i) materials; (ii) design; (iii)construction and artistic methods; and (iv) setting; as required by the Venice Charter of 1964. Incontrast, in the case of a religious monument with cultural importance in the local society uponits original use and function-the authenticity concept ought to incorporate the notion of allowing cultural changes and evolutions that are the result of existing norms and regulations,coherent with the original ones of the monument. This is the case, for instance, of the Jesuitchurches of the Bolivian Chiquitanía, which still are of vital importance for the development of the local societies, including its religious, artistic and labor aspects. Clearly, it would be arbitrarythat any authority attempt to limit the actual function of the religious monument to that of amuseum, especially when the religious function continues to be the monument's
raisond'être
and the popular will continues to be its use for the monument's original purpose.The Concepts of Authenticity and Conservation in the Long TermIn the case of monuments made of durable materials such as stone, the concept of authenticityof material, design, and construction techniques is of paramount importance and has priorityover other notions. In contrast, in the case of monuments of wood or other perishablematerials, it is necessary to balance the authenticity concept with that of conservation over thelong term. This is particularly important in case of a poor country, like Bolivia, where resourcesfor conservation of the cultural heritage are quite scarce. Provided that the "authority" of themonument is not placed at risk, together with its cultural and symbolic importance, it could be justified to introduce some alterations to the materials, design or construction techniques thatwould result in significant improvements to the structural soundness of the monument. It is
 
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
 
well known the need to replace missing parts in religious statues --for instance, Buddhistmonuments in Thailand when the missing parts hinder the original religious aim of themonument. On the other hand, it is also necessary to minimize and document the interventionsthat have an impact on the authenticity. Thus, it is imperative to have precise norms thatrequire: (i) consensus among the restoration experts and the regional community about the useof interventionist practices and methods, case by case; and (ii) precise and detaileddocumentation on the restoration works, especially in the case of interventionist practices. Thedocumentation is indispensable to allow future generations to fully understand with precisionthe alterations introduced and their reasons.The Concept of Authenticity in Archeological SitesThe conservation of archeological sites requires necessarily the strictest use of the authenticityconcept. This, because the archaeological sites contain information and messages of our pastthat have not been fully deciphered, understood, classified and recorded in a secure manner soas to protect the interests of generations to come. No intervention ought to be allowed thatalters the authenticity of the elements in such sites. In these cases, clearly, in doing so there isno danger of imposing foreign values over other population groups.C. Use of the Authenticity Concept in BoliviaTo properly deal with this subject it is necessary to address the presentation made byarchaeologist Elias Mujica in the Nara Conference, since the concepts discussed by him for theAndean region are also valid for Bolivia. "To lose the authenticity in the archeological sites is tolose an important part of human history forever". The authenticity concept is vital, because it isthe only way to preserve scientifically the information needed to reconstruct our history and,thus, our identity.In Bolivia, there are various archaeological sites, where at the start, work was applied withoutusing the authenticity and integrity concepts, per our current understanding. In those days

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