Gilles Lipovetsky

    is a French philosopher, sociologist and essayist, renowned for his analyses of the present and post-modern era. He is a professor at the University of Grenoble where he lives. His books include The Empire of Fashion: Dressing Modern Democracy and Hypermodern Times (Themes for the 21 Century). “People sometimes joke that a new museum is opened somewhere in Europe every day and we can no longer keep track of all the anniversary celebrations of major and minor historical events. Is there still something left that hasn’t succumbed to this trend for preservation, i.e. museumification of something, anything that is not being restored or celebrated? Any date or anniversary, from the tenth to the fiftieth, from the twentieth to the hundred and fiftieth, is an excuse for a celebration. Soon we won’t find a single activity, object or place that has not been honoured by some museum or another. In hypermodern times everything is regarded as a monument or cultural heritage, everything reminds us of an event or a person – from the museum of pancakes to the museum of sardines, from the Elvis Presley to the Beatles Museum. The number of objects and attributes that are considered worthy of being covered by cultural memory is growing at a staggering speed, museums of every kind and fashion are mushrooming, the obsession with commemorative meetings and veneration of all things past is blooming. Cultural tourism is a growing mass sport and cultural sanctuaries are under threat of being damaged or paralysed by the incessant stream of large crowds of visitors. Constant re-evaluation of everything that is old is accompanied by a proliferation and endless expansion of the boundaries of cultural heritage and memory, evidence of modernization taken to the extreme. We have moved from the rule of the finite to the rule of the infinite, from the limited to the omnipresent, and from memory to hyper-memory. The supremacy of principles focused at being present in a new modern era goes hand in hand with the expansion of memory.”