Partners in Grime: Nostalgia and Conservation



Partners in Grime: Nostalgia and Conservation

23 March, 5 to 6.30pm
The Substation Gallery

Free Admission (50 people max)

From films and photos that lovingly document old places to sepia-tinged stories of childhood kampongs, arguments for heritage conservation often rely on nostalgia. This is of course understandable. By insisting that the past is better, and reminding us of the loss—whether real, imagined, or potential—of this past, conservationists are able to harness private and public sentiments to try to stem the relentless tide of national development and progress.

But while nostalgia-fuelled conservation has frequently worked, what—if any—are the costs, effects, impact, implications, and risks of this approach? Does nostalgia cheapen heritage, or even turn history into heritage? Does it overly personalise, and thus depoliticise? Does it erode historicity or historical consciousness? Or are these worries needless as long as nostalgia is strategically deployed—though, what does such a deployment look like? Do the ends justify the means? Or are there alternatives to the nostalgic mode in our efforts at heritage conservation?

A panel of cultural commentators from various backgrounds presents examples of nostalgia and its uses, and reflects on the potential effects of this phenomenon. These artists, activists, and academics debate whether nostalgia and heritage conservation make for logical, yet dangerous bedfellows.

Joshua Comaroff (Design Consultant, Lekker Architects)
Dr. Chua Ai Lin (Executive Director, Singapore Heritage Society)
Tan Pin Pin (Filmmaker)

Lo Mun Hou (Associate Professor, University Scholars Programme, National University of Singapore)

Partners in Grime: Nostalgia and Conservation is part of The Vanishing, Or Time Goes Away, the final chapter of The Substation’s 2018/19 programme Cities change. People die. Everything you know goes away. For more information on the programme, visit citieschange.sg/The-Vanishing.

  • The event description was updated. Diff#406840 2019-02-04 08:07:22
Sat Mar 23, 2019
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM SGT
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45 Armenian Street Singapore
The Substation