Thanks to a friend, I have come across the following sentence from poet Massimo Morasso that I find brilliant:
My terrible-free-non-authorised translation would be: In me the past is not dead. It’s here, it works on me.
Contrary to what anyone might expect for a modern Art Historian, there is a reason why I do not like restorative works, in particular the ones made on buildings or areas that have historical/social/aesthetic interest and were abandoned at some point. I do not approve most of these interventions because they clean too much, and they stop the process of time. In some way restoration kills.
For the sake of my argumentation, let me compare it with what happens to a face under cosmetic surgery operations: it dies.
Believe me, I do not approve vandalism or plunder, and I very much agree with the idea of making heritage survive to the next generation, but I also respect the passage of time and the needful intervention of humans on living spaces.
We can clean, exfoliate, whitewash and rebuild a space and let it perfectly conditioned for its next use, but this also means that we are taking out something more than dirt. We are eliminating the passage of time. We are selectively removing the traces of a specific period and falsely time travelling to a place that never existed.
I know that my opinion can be difficult to fit in the contemporary idea of State and Public Good, but this is how I see it.
I prefer not to erase the past. I rather let it work on me.