The present past

Something to remember when I am walking through what I sometimes think is the past but is really the past seen through the presence (from "Through other times: The politics of heritage and the past in the Catalan Pyrenees", Camila del Mármol):

"Many people who live in or are frequent visitors to the area quickly gain vast knowledge about older times. Comments on how old cooking methods gave food a better taste, on the happiness of festivals after long hours of work, and on the beauty of the landscape when it was cultivated rather than left as woods are not just official discourses promoted in institutional contexts such as museums. Rather, these opinions are frequently expressed in bars and at family meals, during the most daily routines and recalled by different sectors of the population. In the case of elderly people, the new relevance of the past is confronted with the memories of their experienced history, in which the territory was considered to be abandoned and fallen into neglect. In many cases, the appraisal of the past reaches high levels of consensus due to its ability to empower old inhabitants who can relate their experiences of these former ways of life. Jaumet, who was in his early 80s, told me about old songs that were sung in the village and that were forgotten for decades until new attempts were made to recover traditional music. Every time he is asked to sing them again, he remembers the time when no one was interested: “This country used to be so lonely...”xviii, he expressed in a weary tone of voice. Official uses of the past within the politics of heritage and time became hegemonic not just as a consequence of institutional discourses but also because, beyond criticism, they can be thought of as ways to thwart the oblivion to which the territory had previously been condemned."

Full text in "Tourism and the power of otherness. Seductions of difference." Edited by David Picard and Michael A. Di Giovinecan Or download the article here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/262953541_Through_Other_Times_The_Politics_of_Heritage_and_the_Past_in_the_Catalan_Pyrenees

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