Page 1

ALEXIS DEL VECCHIO GRADUATE SCHOOL OF DESIGN HARVARD UNIVERSITY

PORTFOLIO 2012


EDUCATION

Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA Candidate for Master in Landscape Architecture, 2012 Yale University, New Haven, CT BA in Fine Arts, May 2006 (GPA 3.6) Concentration: Painting Secondary Concentration: Urban Studies; Related Coursework: Residential Racial Integration, Modern Architecture & Urbanism, American Cultural Landscapes, Urban Design

EXPERIENCE

Loeb Fellowship Office, Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA Office Assistant, June 2010-Present Assisted in graphic, admissions, event planning and office work

Mia Lehrer + Associates, Los Angeles, CA Intern, June-August 2011 Led community workshops, project marketing and assisted in revisions to LA Unified School District campus guidelines and the design of masterplans for 3 case study schools in Prop 84 urban greening grant project

Design Assistant, November 2007-March, 2009 Supported associates and project managers with RFP/ RFQs for public and private projects, promotional materials, models, montages, boards and other visual aids for projects

Earthworks Boston, Roxbury, MA Intern, June-August 2010 Assessed and mapped Roxbury and Dorchester area urban orchards for public handbook

Country Day School, Guanacaste, Costa Rica Art Teacher, 2006/2007 academic year Independently devised and delivered art curriculum to grades 1-12, as well as evaluated students at Costa Rican American international school Upward Bound, Dedham, MA, Senior Counselor and introductory Spanish Teacher, June-August 2006 Counselor/Advisor, Summers 2004, 2005 Arranged college touring trips for 60+ students, 2002-7 and completed other duties at this federally financed, academic-enrichment program for under-served, high potential high school students from Boston & Lawrence, MA

AWARDS/ ACTIVITIES

Arts Grants: 2003, 2005, 2006; Yale Literary Magazine Art Award, 2005; 1st recipient of Upward Bound “Alex

Del Vecchio� Leadership Award; Art Dept. Production Assistant: Gordita, 2009, 2081, 2009; Student Rep. for Landscape Architecture Department, 2010-2012, Teaching Assistant, 2012

SKILLS

GIS, CAD, Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, Sketch-up, Rhino, Word, Excel, PPT

Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA

Completed Career Discovery, an intensive 6 week studio program, summer 2007. Concentration: Urban Design

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Alexis Del Vecchio


DESIGN

RESEARCH

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

SURFACE

ART


Essex County Correctional Facility

CAMP WEYMOUTH PRISON Group Studio Project, Fall 2010 Location: South Weymouth Air Station, Weymouth MA Massachusetts prisons have the second highest overcrowding rate in the country; one out of every 24 MA adults are under correctional control while one out of every one hundred US citizens are incarcerated (as of 2008). In 1972 Massachusetts instituted a pre-release program in an effort to lower recitivism rates by focusing more on rehabilitation and the transition from prison into the larger community. The South Weymouth Naval Air Station presents an opportunity to both mitigate Massachusetts’ prison overcrowding as well as expand upon a lineage of externalized facilities in an effort to re-think the relationship between the prisoner and their environment.

Middlesex County House of Corrections

Pondsville Correctional Pre-release Program

MCI- Concord Northeastern Correctional Center

Suffolk County House of Correction

South Weymouth Naval Air Station HIGHWAY

HIGHWAY

TRAINING/ EMPLOYMENT

CONSERVATION

CONSERVATION

MCI- Framingham South Middlesex Correctional Center

TRAINING/ EMPLOYMENT

Norfolk County Correctional Center

Bay State Correctional Center Pondsville Correctional Center HIGHWAY

MCI-Cedar Junction

HIGHWAY

TRAINING/ EMPLOYMENT

CONSERVATION

CONSERVATION

TRAINING/ EMPLOYMENT

US Population in Millions 350 Massachusetts Treatment Center

300

Old Colony Correctional Center

Plymouth County Correctional Facility

250 200

MCI-Plymouth

1930

Alexis Del Vecchio

150


DESIGN

Population Released From Prison

Closed Prison Model

Open Prison Model

National Capacity National Average Overcrowding Massachusetts Average Overcrowding Massachusetts Recidivism 40% National Recidivism 60% Population That Doesn’t Return to Prison

1600

MCI Plymouth & Miles Standish State Forest 1200

800

HIGHWAY

CONSERVATION

Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986

HIGHWAY

TRAINING/ EMPLOYMENT

$53.28

CONSERVATION TRAINING/ EMPLOYMENT

Unite

nding

n spe

$17.17 1950

1970

wth (in th nds) ousa (in th

ulation Gro

tal Pop d States To riso MA p

1990

ousands)

400

2010


Land Management Careers Fire Fighter Landscaper Forest Management Flood Control Construction Wildlife Rehabilitation Wildlife Management Agriculture Wetland Management Greywater Management Public Educator Nursery Man Grounds Keeper Park Ranger Volunteer Management Remediation Emergency Response Water Quality Monitoring Pest Control Invasive Species management Demolition Carpentry Wastewater Management Wetland Construction Public Service Project Management Botanist Horticulturist Wine vineyard Coast Guard Soil Consultant Fish and Game Warden Surveyor Powerline Installer/ repair Mason Paving Surfacing Equipment Operators Environmental Protection Wetland Systems installation Pump Operator Roofer Reinforcing iron and rebar Building Inspectors Block Mason Pile Driver operator Cement Finisher Sewer Manager

Alexis Del Vecchio

Shifting Habitats

Grassland

Shrub

1600

Wetland 1850

Forest

2009 forest successional wetland

Habitat Magnification

COASTAL/SEA vernal pool

Existing Threatened Species

*

MA Endangered Species, their Landscapes & Associated Jobs

66% of animals on the Massachusetts list of endangered and threatened species favor successional or wetland habitat. This correlation stems from the continuing disappearance of grassland and wetland habitat throughout the state. Despite the high demand for these landscape types, restoration of grassland and wetlands is infrequent due to the labor-intensive maintenance requirements. Given its available workforce, camp Weymouth is well poised to manage these two habitats types and consequently forge a new relationship between the correctional system and conservation.


Upland Sandpiper Henslow’s Sparrow Grasshopper Sparrow Savannah Sparrow Bobolink Barn Owl Hessek Hairstreak New England Bluet Mocha Emerald Spartina Borer Red Fox Cotton Tail Rabbit Eastern Box Turtle

Adjacent Threatened Species

Wood Turtle

New Connections and Biological Boundary

.15 m .4 m 1.2 m

1 HA

habitat patch type & size

DESIGN

Inclusion & Support of Additional Endangered Species


Grassland & Wetland Habitat

0

plan at year

Vegetation

Alexis Del Vecchio

25

Key mature forest new forest mature wetland new wetland shrub wetland marsh riparian wetland wet meadow burn area 1 burn area 2 shrub hay

1 0 1

5

5

10

10

15 15

20

20

25 25

150 150


be em pt

3’

height

Upla nd S

mow iper dp an r Sparr ppe o ho

Gras s

Ki l

Nor the rn Red Win Ha ged rri Bla er ck Bi Eastern Meado rd wla rk a h n n S a parr Sav ow

er

ob

t Oc

annual

w

May

Se

y

Distribute to Floo d Areas

Hay Harvest/ Bird Migration Cycles

r arble eW vill sh rbler Na Wa rie a r P

r ee ld

little Ju sea blue ne 6” h son g stem/ eig rass warm ht mix

On the Ground: Prison Land Managment & Recreation

r

August l Ju row par ld S Fie

mow

turn 2X

vest & hay har

November

bale

stack

rn

approx

bu

De

mb

er

an

nu

al

co

nt ro

lle

d

ce

ry

Ma

ua

n Ja

rc h

WINTER

Stack& sell to Construction Companys

3y ea rs

ril

Ap

store

imately

7,400 14

”x18”x3

5” small

bales


Wetlands Enhancement groundwater and peat level monitoring

wetland excavation

hydrological reconnection

Native seed mix hydro-seeded average water table depth:

25-50

swamp mats protect adjacent

onto newly moistened soil

habitat

cm below surface residents monitor system hydrology and remove invasives

0 1m 2m 3m

year

1

year

4

year

7

Stream Realignment existing conditions

stream-bank recontouring

flood conditions

ponding & sedimentation

stream realignment

0

sedimentation build-

high flood water expands

track hoes,

for invasives

emergent vegeta-

& loaders

tion established

filter fences reduce sedimentation

replanting on stream bank

increased surface area

residents monitor

carving new pathways

weight of telescope cranes,

stream water slowed due to

up along channels

into adjacent depressions, swamp maps distribute the

receding water left

with preserved vegetation

in depressions

habitat increased persistent and non-

stream shifted to

persistent emergent

deeper course

vegetation

growth

along islands and banks woody vegetation emerges in permanent and season-

to reduce erosion

ally saturated soils

0 1m 2m 3m

year

1

year

2

year

3

year

4

year

5

new wetlands existing wetlands

Conservation Connections

Camp Weymouth can serve as a model for future alliances between public or private institutions and adjacent conservation space in the South Shore area. Various owners of undeveloped land already practice this operational model; many more could assume this small scale partnering cumulatively strengthens biocorridor networks throughout the region while also garnering public support and awareness for conservation.

Alexis Del Vecchio


Institutions/Organizations with Potential for Greenspace Alliances

Camp Weymouth

Existing Public/Private institutions with Greenspace Relationship

protected greenspace

undeveloped land


NEW HAVEN WATERFRONT Studio Project, Fall 2011 Location: New Haven, CT Standing only a hundred feet away from New Haven’s waterfront you may not know it existed. What you likely would have seen instead are scenes of infrastructure, industry and parking; forgotten spaces characteristic of Long wharf, the district that surrounds the harbor. Despite the fact New Haven was founded on the water and developed as its port grew, by the mid 1800s the city began its slow retreat from the harbor as Eli Whitney and other industrialists built factories along inland rivers. By 1910 the old waterfront had been replaced by a new shoreline, having slowly crept into the bay. Given my years spent as a Yale undergraduate without ever visiting the waterfront nor having any sense of it’s direction, I felt compelled to make the waterfront more accessible, while simultaneously making it an alternative civic space to the Yale-dominated New Haven Green, both in terms of its physical pressence as well as its underlying psychology. In contrast to the New Haven Green, which is under constant surveillance by its powerful neighbor, I envisioned New Haven’s waterfront as neutral territory whose flexibility can encourage people of different classes, genders, ages and cultures to intermingle and appropriate the space through their own actions.

1700 1637-1655 Early Puritan community with maritime and mercantile aspirations

Alexis Del Vecchio

1718 Yale moves to New Haven

1750

1800 1750-1835 New Haven Flourishes as major New England Port

1797 Eli Whitney’s Arms factory by the Mill River wins federal contract the beginning of New Haven’s industrial economy


DESIGN

20,000

10,000

1850 1853 1857 New Haven The New Haven Clock Co. Arms Factory formed founded, later to become the Winchester Repeating Rifle Company, which manufactured arms for the civil war, WWI and WWII

1950

population Yale Jobs Manufacturing Jobs

0

1965 - 2010

Income


Scenes from New Haven’s Waterfront

Alexis Del Vecchio


BARRIER

DESIGN

A.

Rte. 95

Waterfront

long wharf access visual connection

NEW HAVEN W AT ER FR O

N T

Rte. 95

k

KE LOOP BI

BARRIER

par

B.

Rte. 95

Rte. 95

A.

B.

tidal flat

RTE 95

physical connection to water

TIDAL FLOODING

par

Connecting the City to the Water

Rte. 95

k

tidal flat

Rte. 95

Waterfront


1 am

2

4

5

6

7

8

120

12

3

750

330

B. Charter Elementary School A. Vocational High School B. Sargent Locks Manufactoring

m

750

E. Mixed Office Building

1 am

2

3

5

6

7

8

10

3

4

11

an str i de

12 a m

pe

9 10 7 8 5 6

ke /

120**

125* 100

12

4

9

2 1 1 1 1 2 pm

F. Union Station I.+D. Hotels

bi

775

C. New Haven Register J. Ikea

DAY MON SDAY Y TUE ESDA AY WEN RSD U H T AY Y FRID RDA SATU DAY N SU

ajo rs tre et

AY RSD TH U AY I Y R F D RDA SATU DAY SUN

APROXIMATE HOURLY VISITORS

W

Tidal water & circulation

co nt ou 8’ rs co nt ou ar k

in

g

lo

ts

6’ ay p kd

Pavement

C

Buildings & Attractions

Alexis Del Vecchio

A

B

D

E

G

I

H

J

F

The various elements of the plan would be constructed over a number of years, starting with the bike loop to facilitate movement to the waterfront, followed by the rail yard parks to facilitate access to long wharf, and finally by the restructuring and orientation of the parking lots In bringing tidal water past 95, Long wharf becomes an active site itself and increases the opportunities for neighborhood connections beyond the boardwalk at the harbor’s edge. Together these elements transform a site dominated by parking to one with a variety of programs, meeting the needs of the community.

Flood zones & low points

wo r

Filled with cars during the work day, the empty lots along the waterfront are transformed by the flowing tidal water and a shifting meaning rather than singular function. In specifying where water could enter the site, I looked at existing parking lots and parking patterns, which buildings were vacant or the city planed to remove in their own plans, and the lowest contours on site and the 100 year flood zone. Tidal flows on site would vary according to the day and time and would be controlled by tidal gates.

rs

Re-Thinking Parking Lots


DESIGN

NEW CONTOURS

Excavation

Low Tide D

High Tide

D

removal of vacant buildings BIKE PATH CONSTRUCTION

PHASING

parking condition

RAIL YARD PARK CONSTRUCTION

YEAR 1

PARKING LOT RESTRUCTURING

YEAR 2

recreation condition

YEAR 3

parking condition

YEAR 4

FUTURE DEVELOPMENT

recreation condition


New Scenes for New Haven’s Waterfront

Alexis Del Vecchio


DESIGN

SUN BATHING SOCCER

BASKETBALL

TENNIS

PASSIVE RECREATION

KYAKING

BIKING

BOARDWALK VOLLEYBALL

ACTIVE RECREATION JOGGING

WALKING

WETLANDS

PASSIVE RECREATION WETLAND ZONES


URBAN CANOPY 2010 Location: Government Center, Boston, MA A new scheme for Boston’s infamous Government Center looks to other popular parks within the city to create a more intimate and populist identity for the square. A tree nursery at the heart of the plaza slowly disperses, filling the plaza with a plantation of different urban-tolerant species whose heights, densities and planting patterns break up the otherwise monumental space into a series of human scaled experiences.

Boston Parks

.5 mi

Percent Canopy Cover 27%

Fens

Alexis Del Vecchio

37 %

Boston Common

6%

Government Center

50%

Post Office Square


DESIGN

year 1: nursury

year 20: plantation

25 Years

25 Years

replanting of trees

gray birch

Gray Birch

london plane tree

London Plane Tree

ginko

Ginkgo Tree

80’ on center

80’ on center

arborvite

Canadian Hemlock

60’ on center

American Hornbeam hornbeam 60’ onamerican center

40’ on center

40’ on center

30’ on center

30’ on center

20’ on center

20’ on center


POPLAR PARK Brownfield Practicum, group project, Fall 2011 Location: Somerville, MA An abandoned dry cleaner and brownfield in Somerville, MA, was the site of a group design project and brownfield practicum. Situated along commuter rail and what will soon be MBTA subway tracks, the effects of this former dry cleaning depot extend well beyond the boundaries of its narrow parcel; PERC has infiltrated groundwater and traveled along the downgradient towards the adjacent neighborhood. Our proposal promotes a new occupation of the currently derelict site with a high level of activity and a low level of intervention, based on existing remediation measures in place. Simultaneously the site is planted with poplars to limit the movement of the plume. The trees are distributed around the affected area of the neighborhood to reduce the plume through transpiration, making way for a community park next to the newly renovated shops and function space. Phase 1: Solar Installation

Phase 3: Phytoremediation

Alexis Del Vecchio


Refurbishment for basic use

Reuse section A

Reuse section B

Adaptation for commercial

RESEARCH

Solar Panel Installation

DESIGN

commercial

vegetative

Green space

Harvesting

Maintenance 2nd Planting

Harvesting

Maintenance Planting 1

e as ph

e as ph

p 3:

to hy

n io at i ed m re

e us

g in

im er nt i 2:

t xis :e e1 as ph


NEW HAMPSHIRE PRAIRIE Sustainable Plants Class Design Project Location: North Sutton, NH The front yard of a New Hampshire lake cabin was planted with a creeping vine that had failed to take root. The vacation property was then used as a site for a sustainable planting design that accounted for the owners’ visiting schedule, their desire for limited maintenance, thier love of vibrant color, and the shade and soil conditions of the site. A praire garden that incorporates native perrenials both references the open fields that dot the landscape in this former farming community as well as allows for a continuously changing palate throughout the owner’s use of the cabin. Moreover, the reduced maintenance requirments, 1-2 mowings per year, align with the owners’ wish for a low-hassel yard. To create the new garden, existing plants and a buried weed cover would first be removed, then soil amended with organic material. Slight mounds would be added to the sloped front yard, emphasizing dry and wet soil conditions, and plugs would be planted in spring, then marked to identify during weeding. The garden is then mulched with weed-free straw. To enourage growth, weed in the first growing season; however, once established, little further weeding is neccesary.

CORNUS ALBA ACHILLEA MILLEFOLIUM LUPINUS PERENNIS RUDBECKIA HIRTA CAMPANULASTRUM AMERICANUM EUPATORIUM PURPUREUM ASCLEPIAS TUBEROSA ANEMONE CANADENSIS LESPEDEZA CAMPANULA ROTUNDIFOLIIA DESMODIUM CANADENSE SOLIDAGO NEMORALIS LOBELIA CARDINALIS CONOCLINIUM COELESTINUM

Alexis Del Vecchio


DESIGN

RESEARCH

Color Variations by Month

Dec

May

Nov

June

Bloom or Bark Variations by Month

July Oct

Apr Jan

March Feb


estock t of Liv gemen

tion

6.

r a Sil

erns fo

t Patt emen

g Mana

Fo

g Addin s

g Tree

r Youn

fo Caring ng the

year 10-15

+

0 Year 2

Site

year 2-4

15.00 -15

0 Year 1

year 0

Management Patterns 4.00

-4 Year 2

iling

s com reduce

1 week

Pattern

2 week

3 week

g plantin

Components Matrix

forage

forage

established pairings timber

Alexis Del Vecchio

meter 4-6’ dia s icide in young tree rb e h f d aroun ation o applic petion zone livestock m no-co

/

aw oves s g rem thinnin logs l ia it in ty r quali venee

block planting

ly ximate r d appro until timbe 2’) thinne rs a e y ht (18-3 5-7 ig e ry h e v d e e s desir reache

rce

razing

gs

pt well ck ada atters p livesto young onal grazing ti to rota

double row planting onal G Rotati

lin single row planting r seed timbe

1:40

llow ed to a on and r prun timbe ht penetrati th, w lig more ge gro in fora ars mainta every 5-7 ye d prune

sou water

n

pactio

subso

40.00

rns to lled bu nts contro de ro te a elimin

alley spacing

ed in ng hay k c ’ planti ‘forage s until livesto y tree all ed uc introd

30.00

deciduous

row spacing

16.00

Planting Patterns

30.00

10.00

Year 0

0 15.0

conifer

8.00

1

year 20+

ck

Livesto

0 12.0

Prepari

Mana

er & Timb’=1/32

27.00

Figure

ture vopas

Rota restry

4 week

5 week

6 week

1 week

livestock

6 week


Sorghum bicolor Sudan Grass Morus alba White Mulberry

Panicum virgatum Switchgrass

Trifolium pratense Red Clover

pumping bays that mitigate spills and fugitive emissions

grasses and poplars cut through derelict gas stations to reduce potential contamination from leaking underground storage tanks

Brassica junica Indian Mustard Triticum aestivum Common Wheat Cynodon dactylon Bermuda Grass Zea mays Maize Festuca arundinacea Tall Fescue

Secale cereale Winter Rye Festuca rubra Red Fescue Lolium perenne Annual Ryegrass Helianthus annuus Sunflower

PHYTOREMEDIATION: GAS STATIONS

A research seminar investigating the applications and scientific basis of phytoremediation produced both prophylactic and remediative strategies for gas stations

SILVOPASTURE

Term project exploring landscape practices and technologies, as well as associated metrics Populus deltoides x Populus nigra Hybrid Poplar Trifolium repens White Clover

RESEARCH

Medicago sativa Alfalfa


Bea c o n H i l l

er

s riv

rle cha

A l l st o n /Br i g h t o n

Ba c k Ba y

So u t h En d

Fen w a y

So u t h Bo st o n

Mi ssio n H il l

R o x bu r y Columb ia Road

AP

P AP

A

Su m ner Stre et

C

E

Co

A A A

A

Do r c h est er

P

C

A

A

A PL

PL

PE

tta ge

PE PE

St re et

PE

Po

nd

Cherry

PL

Pear Street

Plum

Path

Peach

Park

franklin park

eet

Pear

s Str

Apple

Daw e

Apricot

et re St

Edward Everett Square Historical Orchard

earthworks orchard

N

EARTHWORKS BOSTON URBAN ORCHARD ASSESSMENT 2010 Summer work assessing public urban orchards in the Roxbury and Dorchester neighborhoods of Boston, MA. Mappings used to update a public orchard pamphlet.

PARKING DAY LA

Friday, September 8

2009 Project completed while at Mia Lehrer + Associates converting a parking space into a “park” that promoted the LA River and its importance to pedestrians along Wilshire Blvd.

1/ ‘A Day at the Riv

R o sl i n d a l e W est o x bur y

Alexis Del Vecchio

Ma t t a pa n

2/ Caution Tape Can


8th, 2008: Park(ing) Day LA: Streets Are for People

ver,’ Mia Lehrer + Associates Installation along Wilshire Blvd.

nopy

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

2

Installation along Wilshire Blvd.

paint and marker on canvas

MIA LEHRER + ASSOCIATES

Streets Are for People

1

4

3

2

3


A

sections colored by water velocity

Alexis Del Vecchio

B

D

F

H

C

E

G

I


diffusion pinch torsion fold undulation

slow/fast wet/dry

ephemeral infiltration

folds

actual water flow under varying speeds delta slope wetland

torsion v. final

anticipated water flow

SURFACE STUDY: TOPOGRAPHIC MODELING

2010 Exploring form and surface through the CNC modeling equipment, this group project associated with the South Weymouth studio focused on key excavations produce stream flows variations.

SURFACE

torsion v.4


Alexis Del Vecchio


2

1/ Abstract Belly, 2004, academic; oil paint & canvas

1/ Abstract Belly, 2004, academic; oil paint & canvas

3

1

2/ 3/ 4/ 5/ Abstract Studies, 2004-06, academic; crayon, pencil, oil on paper & canvas 6/ Abstract Space, 2005, academic; oil paint on gesso board

4

4 2

2

1

1/ Abstract Belly, 2004, academic; oil paint &academic; canvas crayon, pencil, oil on paper & canvas 2/ 3/ 4/ 5/ Abstract Studies, 2004-06,

3

5

SURFACE

1 3

1

1/ Abstract Belly, 2004, academic; oil paint & canvas

5

ABSTRACTED Space, 2005, 2004-06, academic; academic; oil paint oncrayon, gesso board 2/SURFACES 3/ 6/ 4/Abstract 5/ Abstract Studies, pencil, oil on paper & canvas 2 studies based on image of blood culture (2010)

ART

Abstract Space, 2005, academic; oil paint on gesso board Color & form studies6/ (2006)


2 4

2

2

1

1

‘Portraits of Beds’, oil paint on canvas, approximately 4’ x 6’, academic 1/ Home Bed, 2006

3

3

2/ 3/ Bed Studies, 2005 4/ College Bed, 2005 5/ Grandma and Grandpa Bed, 2005

PORTRAITS

Nanny (2003), Dana (2003), College Bed Portrait (2005) Maria (2005), Grandma & Grandpa Beds (2005)

1

3 2

Alexis Del Vecchio

1/ Argentinian Cousin, 2005, academic

1


ART


Alexis Del Vecchio

Alexis D


PORTRAITURE

PORTRAITURE 4

1

2

An Exploration of Female Portraiture, Undergraduate Senior Project 1/ Rebecca, 2006, academic; watercolor and colored pencil on paper 2/ Julia, 2006, academic; watercolor and colored pencil on paper 3/ Sarah, 2006, academic; watercolor and colored pencil on paper 4/ 5/ 6/ Floral & Girl Portraiture Studies, 2006, academic; watercolors & colored pencil on paper

5

DelVecchio

1

PORTRAITS

2

An Exploration of Female Portraiture, Undergraduate Senior Project

Bar mitzvah (2005), 1/ Rebecca, 2006, academic; watercolor and colored pencil on paper 2/ Julia, 2006, academic; watercolor and colored pencil on paper 3/ Sarah, 2006, academic; watercolor and colored pencil on paper 4/ 5/ 6/ Floral & Girl Portraiture Studies, 2006, academic; watercolors & colored pencil on paper

6 Women as Wallpaper: Sarah, Becca, Julia (all 2006)

ART

3

Alexis DelVecchio


Exerpt__Representations of a Gendered Landscape; Female interpretations of film and geography Term paper for Theory of Landscape Architecture, taught by Anita Berizbeita & John Beardesly

Over the past 30 years feminist theory has reconsidered the contributions as well as the role of female artists and designers within their respective fields. In questioning the under representation of women across all of the arts, theorists examined the female perspective and the potentially related content of their work, from modernists like Mary Cassat and Berte Morriset to German expressionists such as Kathe Kollwitz . At the same time, feminist geographers levied similar critiques on geographical scholarship, but for the purposes of including women and the spaces they frequented within the cannon of geography. These two strains of feminist criticism, art and geography, align as women construct and represent space within the visual arts. Particularly within film, women’s experiences of space likely influence their construction of space on the screen. Similarities in the representation and contextualization of space and landscape emerge in films that integrate themes of power and nature within their stories. Together, the gendered experiences of space and associations with the landscape produce distinct visions of space on film. While academic scholarship historically privileged masculine perspectives and authorship, feminist theory has been instrumental in questioning the assumptions held about men and women in order to expand critical discourse. Feminist geographers argue that spaces delimited to women should be reassessed as social-political spaces of importance and included within the cannon of geography . In expanding the focus of study beyond those places and landscapes typically associated with men, not only are women included in the discourse, but a clearer understanding of the relationship between space, gender, and power emerges. Central to our understanding of women’s relationships to the spaces they inhabit is their description or representation of space. At the urging of feminist geographers, travel logs and other primary source material written by women has been accepted into the academic cannon of geographical study, complimenting and contrasting sources written by male authors. Humanistic geographers argue that geographers can be neither objective nor neutral (Rose 1993, 41) in that they perceive and interpret place differently. Humanists go further to say that they attain greater objectivity through acknowledging their subjective backgrounds. Regardless of some geographer’s presumed ability to escape subjectivity, the theory assumes that people perceive place differently. Thus female authored geographical writing, while expanding the breath and focus of primary sources, also offers a different perspective on space, place and landscape, and shows that geography can be gendered in the authorship of geographical thought as well as in the delineation of space. Differences in written material authored by women as compared to that written by men can potentially be ascribed to the shared female identity of the authors. Feminist geographer Gillian Rose has written that “the feminist work on which I depend begins with the premise that identity is relational. Who I think I am depends on me establishing in what ways I am different from, or similar to, someone else. We position ourselves in relation to others,” (Rose 1993, 3). If identity is determined in relation to how you are similar or different from someone else, then the collective differences between men and women produce a shared female sense of identity. Feminists further assert that this relational identity is formed through “relations of power… discourses intersect so that certain identities are constituted as both more powerful and more valuable than others,” (Rose 1993). Identities influenced by access to or denial of power have spatial implications as well. In summing up the scholarship on spatial power dynamics, Lorraine Dowler notes: “feminist scholars determined that gender divisions of space serve to confine women’s access to knowledge, thereby reinforcing men’s power advantage,” (Lorraine Dowler 2005, 5). Thus space is both a tool to reinforce identities of power, but also an expression of the power relationship. Power relationships extend beyond our experiences of space to characterize the concepts of landscape and nature. Beth Meyer‘s paper The Expanded Field of Landscape Architecture explains the culturally ascribed associations between nature, landscape and women by first translating these ideas into binary sets. While Meyer speaks specifically about landscape architecture as well as the inclusion of women within the field, her explanation of binary sets can be easily transferred to geography. Man-nature, nature-culture, and landscape architecture-architecture construct relationships of “Same” and “Other” from which we can deduce power dynamics between the two elements. Nature is associated with the feminine, instability, and wildness, while culture and urban is associated with the masculine and order or rationality. “[Western] societies share a dominant way of thinking that makes a distinction between nature and culture- culture being minimally defined as the transcendence, by means of thought and technology, of the


Feminist geography also addresses this binary of Same and Other, rational and illogical, where the same is defined as the masculine and the other “everything outside this, including the feminine,” (Rose 1993, 10). Rose identifies the origination of the same and other binary in male geographer’s desire to organize the world into discrete, rational categories. “From his position of power he tends to see them only in relation to himself. He understands femininity, for example, only in terms of its difference from masculinity….he sees them as what I shall term his Other,” (Rose 1993). An early example of the concept of the Other is displayed in John Ruskin’s 1864 lecture at Manchester Town Hall to a group of bourgeois women. Ruskin conflates the masculine tendency to view the feminine as what is not masculine along with the cultural associations between women and nature in his speech entitled “Of Queens’ Gardens.” Ruskin famously distinguishes between the male and female spatial spheres as that which is domestic (women) and that which encompasses everything else (men). In defining the home as the realm of women, he also likens women to flowers, whose “‘garden’, bounded by its walls, was the home, which he described as a private, domestic feminine space, quite separate from the male sphere of waged work and politics… his [Ruskin’s] metaphor of the garden indicates both the supposed naturalness of women’s spiritual beauty and the boundaries to their existence, “ (Rose 1993, 6). Ruskin’s delineation of gendered spaces both limits women to the home or garden as well as compares them to nature, but a nature that requires confinement and cultivation to maintain order. Gender associations between nature and landscape likely influence female constructions of space. If the landscape and our conception of it is influenced by both the gender-associated binaries that distinguish nature from man, as well as our gendered identities, then visual construction of space within film, as well as in design, might also display a uniquely gendered view of space and place. Different representations, descriptions, or constructions of space, particularly as they relate to power dynamics, should consequently express female auteur’s unique experiences. But how might female directed films represent constructions of space and associations to nature that reference relational identities? The films The Piano, The Virgin Suicides, and Meek’s Cutoff portray female characters whose movements are restricted by a range of spatial boundaries. Nature and landscape can reference the binary sets described by Meyer, but also invert them so that nature and culture are symbols for freedom and repression. The construction of space through camera shot, angle, depth of field, and cinematography can also infer power relationships. Nature and the landscape, be it a New Zealand coastal colony, middle class suburb, or the untamed pioneer west, all assume a gendered association that relate to the construction of space within the film and the spaces experienced by the characters. The academy award-winning film The Piano, written and directed by Jane Campion, follows a mute woman and her young daughter as they move to 1850’s New Zealand for an arranged marriage. The landscape, both cultivated and wild, has a prominent presence in the film and frames a dichotomy between the open and restrictive spaces that Ada, the central character, inhabits. The constructed spaces within the film and the themes of nature also reference the larger themes of power and gender within the story. The film begins on the open sea, delivering ‘Ada’ to her arranged marriage. The sea envelops Ada as she moves to the center of the shot. It is unruly, free, expansive, and characterized by wide shots that create a sense of openness. The beach and sea, which later carries Ada away from her estranged husband at the film’s close, stands in stark contrast to the town inhabited by colonial New Zealanders. In comparison, the shots of the urbanized world are tight and restrictive. Frequent rain forces characters and scenes inside small wooden cottages or across wooden planks as they traverse the muddy forest. Walking from home to home- either slowly through thick, deep mud or over planks, the spaces they cross are reduced to narrow paths. When Ada and her daughter return to the beach so that she may practice on her piano, her daughter animates the plain of the beach as she dances across it and later the camera cranes up to show their footprints imprinted on the sand, referencing the earlier aerial shot of the two moving through dense forest. ...

WRITING SAMPLE

natural givens of existence,” (Meyer 1997, 46). Nature, by contrast, is devalued, legitimizing the “destruction of natural resources necessary to support capitalism’s urban, industrial society,” (Meyer 1997, 46).


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