{ undoing heritage }


Heritage is not neutral: indeed, heritage is entirely political. The authorized heritage discourse focuses on aesthetically pleasing material artifacts and excludes everything which can contradict the official narrative in any way or visibilise the production costs of specific political and cultural regimes – which often amount to technologies of oppression, repression, destruction, extraction, or war. Although UNESCO nomination narratives gravitate around notions of Palermo as a multicultural historic city, they exclude notions of queer heritage. But how can we speak of queer heritage in Palermo?

LGBTIQ cultures have little tradition,or historiographic support: they have been denied the intellectual instruments for self–reflection, preservation and development of their history and cultural values. Queer modes of knowledge around the body and sexuality have been routinely erased from art history and history altogether.

When evoking the ‘Fascist heritage’ from within Palermo’s Casa del Mutilato, the city seems to carry the weight of a myriad violent absences. But queering historical heritage allows us to unpick a series of interlinked erasures. Histories of resistance, alternative gender models, subversive readings of urbanism, but also accounts of exile, oppression, displacement, trauma or censorship come to the surface in this quest.


Carlota Mir and Rado Ištok