MSc2 Spring Semester: The New Old. Envisioning the future of our past

28 October 2020

During the Spring semester 2021, The MSc2 Design Studio at the Why Factory will research on what constitutes heritage and how to deal with it.

Heritage is meant to embody the values and collective memory of a whole society. However, buildings, museums or monuments, conceived as manifestations of national pride and glory increasingly confront us with a problematic past. These symbols tell stories of conquest, victory and heroism, while simultaneously representing narratives of repression, racism or even genocide… Should we keep erecting monuments? Or can they adapt to new circumstances as social relations evolve? What makes a monument ‘a monument’ in different parts of the World?

But there is a lot more to heritage than the immovable cultural heritage, and, as time goes by, it will keep growing endlessly: from the movable heritage (paintings, sculptures, coins, manuscripts, data…), to the intangible heritage (oral traditions, performing arts, rituals) and the natural heritage (natural sites, cultural landscapes, physical or geological formations, biological hotspots…), etc.

How will we deal in the future with the past that has yet to come? What will be the new monuments?

In the meantime, cities strive to have entire districts included in the UNESCO World Heritage List with the hope of boosting income from the thriving tourist industry. To what extent do preservation regulations “freeze” the urban environment? How do heritage-hungry tourists impact the daily lives of local populations? Should we copy heritage and paste it in a new location so as to control mass tourism?

During our MSc2 Design Studio we will respond to these and many more questions about ‘the old’ by means of analyzing heritage from a multitude of points of view so as to be able to calculate and visualize what the future past will be.