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The “open” Venice Charter: learning from the multiple translations and interpretations of the Charter’s article 9
Houbart, Claudine; Dawans, Stéphane
2024Venice at 60: Doctrinal Documents in the Protection of Cultural Heritage
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Keywords :
Venice charter; open work; heritage doctrine
Abstract :
[en] This presentation is part of a research project focusing on a blind spot in the historiography of the Venice Charter: its translations. Initially drafted in French, the charter was translated into English in the months following the congress, then into Spanish and Russian for the first ICOMOS assembly in 1965. The French and English versions then served as the starting point for the other translations; however, even a superficial comparison of these versions reveals major discrepancies. For some articles, they are even far from "saying almost the same thing", to use Umberto Eco's expression. Based on these already discordant texts, multiple interpretations were developed over space and time. Thus the Venice Charter appeared to have been an "open work” rather than a universalist standard. The current project proposes, in an exploratory phase, to compare the French, English, Spanish and Italian versions of the document, before potentially extending to other languages. It has two main objectives. The first is historical: documenting the translations, dissemination, reception, interpretations and uses of the Charter offers a unique prism through which to gain a nuanced understanding of the international and even global evolution of heritage principles and practices from the 1960s to the present day. The second is theoretical and practical, and should be of greater interest to the members of the Theophilos committee. On the basis of discrepancies in wording, principles and terminology, the project proposes not to attempt a reharmonisation of the versions of the charter (as was proposed at the end of the Pecs colloquium in 2004), but to encourage an inter-cultural dialogue. Therefore, discordances are not considered as problems to be solved, but as opportunities for debate. From this perspective, the charter is seen neither as the "foundation of heritage protection" that would be still relevant today as such, nor as a "burden of the past", but as the starting point for useful discussions and exchanges for the future. In this presentation, we will illustrate the potential contributions of the project through one of the most debated and controversial passages of the charter, the article 9 and the notion of "contemporary stamp", using concepts inspired by the work of Umberto Eco on questions of intention, translation and interpretation.
Research center :
AAP - Art, Archéologie et Patrimoine - ULiège [BE]
Disciplines :
Art & art history
Architecture
Author, co-author :
Houbart, Claudine  ;  Université de Liège - ULiège > Unités de recherche interfacultaires > Art, Archéologie et Patrimoine (AAP)
Dawans, Stéphane ;  Université de Liège - ULiège > Unités de recherche interfacultaires > Art, Archéologie et Patrimoine (AAP)
Language :
English
Title :
The “open” Venice Charter: learning from the multiple translations and interpretations of the Charter’s article 9
Publication date :
March 2024
Event name :
Venice at 60: Doctrinal Documents in the Protection of Cultural Heritage
Event organizer :
ICOMOS Theophilos International Committee
Event place :
Florence, Italy
Event date :
7-8 mars 2024
Audience :
International
Peer reviewed :
Peer reviewed
Development Goals :
11. Sustainable cities and communities
16. Peace, justice and strong institutions
Name of the research project :
Venice CharterS
Available on ORBi :
since 07 February 2024

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