Lord knows that authenticity in cultural heritage is a tricky– and sometimes even impossible– concept. Some seek to exploit it for purely economic value. Others seek to insulate it from any commercial entanglements at all. Yet whatever the extremes, authenticity in some form is valuable. It is a quality that everyone seeks.
In this blog I continue to share cases where dubious claims of the authenticity of ancient objects and historical places have been cynically exploited to make money–and where militant (often-ethnically or nationalistically narcissistic) claims to authenticity have proved handy in showing that their rivals’ assertions of authenticity are lies.
But there has to be a happy medium– a quality that we can begin to put our finger on– that reflects the resonance of certain objects and landscapes to certain people and is considered by them to be something with authenticity. What’s needed the most today is a new people-sided view of the authenticity conundrum. One that recognizes that authenticity, like beauty, often lies in the eye of the beholder. It is not inherent in the place or object but rather evokes a feeling of continuity and familiarity with the values something that evokes a deep emotional connection and response.
Where and how to redefine authenticity that way is a tremendous challenge. So together with my colleagues at Coherit Associates, we have started a new blog Discovering Authenticity that takes up where this one leaves off.
Hope to see you there too…