This lecture was originally delivered on Friday, March 20, 2015 as part of the symposium Extreme Conservation at Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture, New York.

Conservation may be the most central cultural issue of our time. The transition from analog to digital documentation means that the human record itself now faces an entirely new set of preservation challenges. The earth’s climate change makes conservation of physical features into a new political challenge. And all this is happening while artists, practitioners in various fields, and scholars turn to conservation with high expectations for new knowledge about the past.

This one-day symposium addresses the problem of “Extreme Conservation”—both the extremity of the general situation and extremely difficult but information-rich cases of conservation.

Friedemann Hellwig
Professor Emeritus, University of Applied Sciences, Cologne
“Death Camps: The Example of Auschwitz”