Blant restene av Retiro: Forfall og kulturminner
This article discusses how dilapidated material heritage could be understood as something more than just an abject phenomenon. Archaeology of the recent past offers an opportunity to consider such things from a more nuanced perspective that don’t dismiss them out of hand. These nuances shed new light on how dilapidated things shape our experience of the recent past. The discussion is based on Retiro, a derelict 19th century landscape garden and country estate located in the town of Molde on the northwestern coast of Norway. The description of Retiro is based on data gathered from field-surveys conducted by the author, articles from the local newspaper and other historical sources. Central themes are the relationship between persistence and loss regarding the dilapidation of the recent past, the aesthetic aspects of derelict things, and the tension between historical representation and the present material situation of the ruinous Retiro property. The article argues that dilapidated and abandoned heritage opens up a space and material condition for confronting the past that is different from meticulously curated and arranged things. Dilapidation is not necessarily something strictly positive or negative, but rather a fundamental fact of the material world that we inevitably have to live with or think about, one way or another.
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