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12.00  Intangible Heritage Embodied in Historic Environment of Former Gdansk Shipyard (1844–2006) and itsTechno-Aesthetic Significance as Driving Engine for Interpretation, Presentation and Cognitive Understanding of "Place of Post-Industrial Memory"

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This paper will examine the remnants of the former Gdansk Shipyard (1884-2006), which can be understood as “elements of intangible heritage” due to their incompleteness, fragmentation and disappearing in half of their previous state as a large operating industrial site with its oldest buildings, structures and machinery going back to the 1870s. All surviving technofacts (per analogiam to artifacts) possess meaningful cultural values and among them the strongest techno-aesthetic one. Pan-aesthetic views allow me to analyze objects of non-beauty, like technical artifacts, which have insignificant or even no artistic value. I have found that basic notions of philosophical aesthetics like “aesthetic situation” and “aesthetic experience” are applicable under the condition that they express a distinguishing state of consciousness when particular tri-factors resonance of impression—emotion—thought appears. The multi-stimuli and multi-sensual affect of technofact onto its observer constitutes the nucleus of techno-aesthetic experience that results in the techno-effect of cognitive nature with a possible dynamic imperative that may lead to undertaking some action. 

Aesthetics of technology—techno-aesthetics—offer new way of accessing the field of cognitive sciences targeting their interest on the part of culture covered by the extremely broad domain of human activities called technology and resulting in the realm of technofacts. Elements of intangible heritage constitute this heritage as wholly invisible, but researchable, components. 

In this paper, I will apply the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (Faro Convention 2005), according to which heritage “includes all aspects of the environment resulting from the interaction between people and places through time.” That issue is discussed in detail within UNESCO’s recommendations for historic urban landscapes and provides highly applicable references for city and urban planners. I have developed a methodological framework for cultural value assessment that is embedded in the heritage of technology resources called “TECHNITAS method,” which consists of eight criteria. The “values” of this notion itself means the “aspect of importance that individuals or a society assign(s) to an object” recalling the EN 15898:2011 Conservation of cultural property. Those values are precisely assessed by the investigation of the conveyance of attributes; their tangible expressions. 

The ethics of heritage preservation related to doctrinal documents on conservation-restoration and its political correctness of proper interpretation (so-called historic policy), deal with the question of social and cultural memory, and every industrial heritage site can be understood as a memory carrier of the industrial past and its people in performing various roles. Skillful assessment of techno-aesthetic power of technofact may support heritage preservation planning, design and conservation-restoration programming. Techo-aesthetic value of technofacts may take a leading position in conservation-restoration of revitalized post-industrial sites, as it initiates cognitive process and intends to upgrade the observer’s knowledge potential toward vision of a compound historic environment. This proposal sounds a positivist tune although consists of practical premises like making legible purpose of the given technofact, its reintegration, accessibility, usefulness, surrounding arrangement, interpretation, information, presentation, promotion, popularization etc. Thorough an examination and evaluation of the techno-aesthetic value, this paper intends to help to achieve those aims.

Waldemar Affelt


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