by Alessandra Knowles
Why do you think it was felt that the Venice Charter needed to be re-addressed?
I think the Venice Charter is quite narrow for us today, itís very much about architect-restorers restoring monuments. A whole new set of values have come to the fore since the drafting of the Venice Charter, emphasising the socio-anthropological and international dimension of heritage which pertains to society as a whole and cannot be read only in aesthetic and historical terms.
Which of the new notions that have been introduced in the Charter of Cracow 2000 do you believe are particularly important?
Itís really I think the whole new dimension in the concept of heritage. We have moved from the single monument to a great deal more, whole cities, quarters, settings of buildings, spaces between buildings, landscapes, the intangible heritage meanings, ideas, music, dance associated with the built environment. I think we also have a much greater appreciation of values, of the plurality of values. Of course, one thing that has come out very clearly since the Venice Charter is the importance of authenticity, which is something that the Venice Charter doesnít really cover, at least in the sense of the many types of authenticity. In Japan, for instance, authenticity of fabric is of no importance, reconstruction is commonly carried out retaining however the authenticity of techniques and traditions. This form of conservation takes heritage out of the sphere of the tangible and into that of the intangible which is authentic on account of the process rather than the product. This new document takes note of these fundamental enlargements, although maybe not very specifically in the case I have mentioned.
Do you think the Cracow Charter has lost some of the Euro-centricity that, it has been argued, characterised the Venice Charter?
Well that is a worry because I would have liked it to be world-wide. All those who worked on it were European and it automatically became European without anybody thinking perhaps that it would. I feel it has remained Euro-centric which is probably why I am a little dissatisfied although I believe it has been a good effort.