Creation

Landscape associates people and place. Danish landskab, German landshaft, Dutch landschap, and Old English landscipe combine two roots. “Land” means both a place and the people living there. Skabe and schaffen mean “to shape”; suffixes -skab and -schaft as in the English “-ship,” also mean association, partnership. Though no longer used in ordinary speech, the Dutch schappen conveys a magisterial sense of shaping, as in the biblical Creation.

Anne Whiston Spirn, The Language of Landscape (1998)

EL JARDIN DE LAS DELICIAS EL BOSCO

Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights (1505)

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Creation

Prototype

The best place to visit Holland is Japan. Holland Village, in the outskirts of Nagasaki is a condensed scaled down version of the real thing. Or may be it is the other way round and Holland Village in Japan is actually the original that makes its European counterpart nothing more than an oversized, inflated and (quite literally) watered down version lacking the purity and essence of its prototype. (…)

The notion of the actual creation of land is the essence of Dutch Landscape architecture. Whilst in the Anglo Saxon world Landscape is first an foremost a visual representation and a mental construct wrapped into a wet blanket of subjectivity, for the Dutch landscape is about the phisical and rational manipulation of an objectified reality. The Dutch Landscape is an efficient livework unit while the British landscape architects can design gardens and cannot design landscapes while exactly the opposite holds true for their Dutch colleagues.

Dirk Sijmons, Architectura + Natura. = Landscape (1998)


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Holland Village, Nagasaki

Prototype

More Often Used

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Landscape is in the air! Landscape is everywhere! The word ‘Landscape’ has so much zipped into the recent architectural discourse, that is even more often used than Americans use the word ‘fuck’. Landscape emerges as the solution in times when architecture and urbanism are losing out on significance. This process coincides with the diagnosis that discipline of Landscape Architecture is entering an era of doubt. After conquering the doom and pessimism of the seventies with an ecological answer and meeting the economic hype of the eighties and nineties with ‘design’, the profession is now confronted with the question of how to address the overwhelming number of paradoxical demands surrounding it. How to embody the multi-cultural and multiform in a profession that is historically swallowed by the paradigms of ‘purity’, ‘harmony’ and ‘nobility’. The landscape architect is seen as the personification of the pastoral, the harmonious, the environmentally friendly: truly ‘good’ and noble aims. And in that respect, one could argue that he is often misused for political objectives. yet that very innocence is false and saturated with an oversimplified moralism. For if landscape calls upon ‘endlessness’, ‘awe’ and ‘gigantism’ and express itself in panoramas and distant prospects, then it is indeed the synonym for ‘overview’ encompassing good and bad, is about multiplicity and pluralism. it has the potential to manipulate this field of ideas, opinions, and expressions. Instead of a mere argument of goodness, this domain has the capacity of putting into perspective. This position obliges it to study the substance of the ‘moral’.

Winy Maas, Far Max. Excursions on Density (1998)

 

More Often Used

Language

The language of landscape is our native landscape. Landscape was the original dwelling; humans evolved among plants and animals, under the sky, upon the earth, near water. Everyone carries that legacy in body and mind. Humans touched, saw, heard, smelled, tasted lived in, and shaped landscapes before the species had words to describe what it did, Landscapes were the firsts human texts, read before the invention of other signs and symbols. Clouds, wind, and sun were clues to weather, ripples and eddies signs of rocks and life under water, caves and ledges promise of shelter, jeaves guides to food; birdcalls warnings of predators. Early writing resembled landscape; other languagess -verbal, mathematical, graphic -derive from the language of landscape.

The language of landscape can be spoken, written, read, and imagined. Speaking and reading landscape are by products of living -of moving, mating, eating- and strategies of survival -creating refuge, providing prospect, growing food.

Anne Whiston Spirn, The Language of Landscape (1998)

To restore the Mill Creek neighbourhood requires an understanding of how it came to be, how the built landscape evolved, through what processes and actions, when, and which of its features have had a sustained impact on their surroundings over time. I use the word landscape in its original sense in English and Nordic languages—the mutual shaping of people and place—to encompass both the population of a place and its physical features: its topography, water flow and plant life; its infrastructure of streets and sewers; its land uses, buildings and open spaces. The urban landscape is shaped by rain, plants and animals, human hands and minds. Rain falls, carving valleys and soaking soil. People mould landscape with hands, tools and machines, through law, public policy, the investing and withholding of capital, and other actions undertaken hundreds or thousands of miles away. The processes that shape landscape operate at different scales of space and time: from the local to the national, from the ephemeral to the enduring.

Language

State of Encounter

When Gabriel Orozco puts an orange on the stalls of a deserted market in Brazil (Crazy Tourist, 1991) or sets up a hammock in the garden of New York’s Museum of Modern Art (Hamoc en el MoMa, 1993), he is operating in the heart of the ‘social infra-thin’ [inframince], or that tiny space for everyday gestures that is determined by the superstructure constructed and determined by large-scale exchanges. Orozco’s photographs are an uncaptioned documentary record of tiny revolutions in ordinary urban or semi-urban life (a sleeping bag on the grass, an empty shoebox): they bear witness to the silent life (a still life or nature morte) that is now painted by our relations with others. When jens Haaning uses a loudspeaker to broadcast jokes told in Turkish on a square in Copenhagen (Turkish jokes, 1994), he instantly produces a micro-community of immigrants who have been brought together by the collective laughter that inverts their situation as exiles. That community is formed in relation to and inside the work. An exhibition is a privileged place where instant communities like this can be established: depending on the degree of audience participation demanded by the artist, the nature of the works on show and the models of sociability that are represented or suggested, an exhibition can generate a particular ‘domain of exchanges’. And we must judge that ‘domain of exchanges’ on the basis of aesthetic criteria, or in other words by analysing the coherence of its form, and then the symbolic value of the ‘world’ it offers us or the image of human relations that it reflects. Within this social interstice, the artist owes it to himself to take responsibility for the symbolic models he is showing: all representation refers to values that can be transposed into society (though contemporary art does not so much represent as model) and inserts itself into the social fabric rather than taking inspiration from it). Being a human activity that is based upon commerce, art is both the object and the subject of an ethics: all the more so in that, unlike other human activities, its only function is to be exposed to that commerce. Art is a state of encounter… […]

Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics (1998)

 

 

State of Encounter

Industrial Sublime

At Gas Works Park, the industrial works and the waste burial mound were transfigured through site design into aesthetic objects. This was achieved, first, through masking their presence with a thick, green wall separating the parking lot from the park, and then through juxtaposing silhouetted towers in the foreground with the city in the distant background. These objects were made heroic by their isolation and lack of functional context. They evoked the technological sublime awe of our ability both to control nature, space, and time through technology and to create magnificent forms clearly expressive of that control.

Elizabeth K. Meyer, Seized by Sublime Sentiments (1998)

Richard Haag, Gas Works Park (1972)

(FIND IT)
Industrial Sublime

Narrative

Narratives are also there in landscapes. They intersect with sites, accumulate as layers of history, organize sequences, and inhere in the materials and processes of the landscape. In various ways, stories “take place.”

The term landscape narrative designates the interplay and mutual relationship that develops between landscape and narrative. To begin with, places configure narratives. landscape not only locates or serves as background setting for stories, but is itself a changing, eventful figure and process that engenders stories, A road establishes a sequence while opening the possibilities of chance encounters. The scale of space becomes the scope of an epic or the confines of a personal drama, Traces in the landscape hold secrets and invite interpretation. Trees, rocks, ground, weather, or any elements can serve as emblems in a narrative. In this manner people map landscapes into the very texture and structure of stories.

In turn, every narrative, even the most abstract, allegorical, or personal, plays a critical role in making places. It is through narrative that were interpret the processes and events of place. We come to know a place because we know its stories. Whether it is an encounter with the edge of a forest or a drive down a suburban street, we know these places through personal experience as well as from books, television, or folklore.

Matthew Potteiger and Jamie Purinton, Landscape Narratives (1998)

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the-blair-witch-project1the-blair-witch-project-evidenceThe_Blair_Witch_Project_1080_423.The Blair Witch Project Woods Scene 2blair-witch-projectThe_blair_witch_project_05-19    Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sánchez; The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Narrative