Project (2014-2015)

Conservation and Contingency—An Epistemological Study into the Culture of Conservation

By venturing into the epistemic dimensions of conservation, Hanna Hoelling's project was conceived to instigate a novel form of reflection on the field. On the examples of selected studies inside and outside the conservation canon, the project explored the meaning, and the historical and present conditions that have transformed approaches to conservation and have led to the emergence of conservation cultures. Shifting the perspective from object-centered to culture-oriented, it explored whether the events of conservation might be contingent (events that could be, or could have been otherwise), or whether they proceed from a rational necessity, implying a certain predictability. The study questioned the deeply-rooted approach to conservation theory that implies causality manifest in the conviction that new conservation theories and practices have developed on the basis of conservation’s historical precursors. Rather than asking what and how do we conserve, this research pursued second-order questions by interrogating the need for conservation and how this need—with its consequences in various methodological approaches and theoretical underpinning—came to be and has undergone transformation. 

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