LA+ Interdisciplinary Journal of Landscape Architecture University of Pennsylvania stuart weitzman School of Design Editor in Chief Dr Tatum L. Hands Creative Direction Prof. Richard J. Weller Issue Editors Tatum Hands Richard Weller Production Coordinator Colin Curley Production Team Sofia Nikolaidou Naeem Shahrestani Editorial Assistant Nikki Chang www.laplusjournal.com firstname.lastname@example.org ISSN (Online): 2689-2413 ISSN (Print): 2376-4171 Proofreading by Jake Anderson Research by Colin Curley Back cover illustration by Laurie Olin
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time|taɪm| noun the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole: travel through space and time | one of the greatest wits of all time. • the progress of this as affecting people and things: things improved as time passed. • the measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues. • time or an amount of time as reckoned by a conventional standard. Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd Ed.
In This Issue
Editorial richard weller + tatum l. hands
DATE, PAINTING DANIEL ROSENBERG
prisoners of time mark kingwell
TIME, TRAINS, AND TRUTH MARK RAGGATT
doing time: the art of tehching hseih tim ingold
THE CIRCLE OF TIME JOCK GILBERT
territorializing memory rodrigo de la o + david escudero
THREE KINDS OF TIME IN ECOLOGICAL SCIENCE STEWARD PICKETT
designing dialectical landscape ann marie schneider
COLOR = SPACE + TIME MARK EISCHEID
time for time noël van dooren
THE TIME AND SPACE TO DIE EMMA SHEPPARD-SIMMS
THE CONSISTENCY OF TIME VALERIO MORABITO
FIRST IN TIME/FIRST IN LINE CASEY LANCE BROWN
PERFORMING DRAWING IN TIME FIONA HARRISSON + MARIAN MACKEN
PHASE SHIFT: ON SITE-SPECIFIC ART IN A CHANGING ENVIRONMENT JAMES NISBET
TIME IN OUR HANDS: CO-DESIGNING A BETTER ANTHROPOCENE ERLE C. ELLIS
THE TIMEKEEPERS KATHRYN GLEASON, CHRISTOPHE GIROT + SONJA DÜMPELMANN Image Credits Upcoming Issues
The Meridian Laser at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, UK.
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time editorial We perceive events in time but not time itself. That is, we have a sense of the past and can anticipate the future, but we can’t quite grasp the now. We mean right now! According to best measurement our conscious perception functions at a speed of about one-80th of a second, the difference between an event occurring and our registration of its occurrence. Whatever happens ‘above’ or ‘beneath’ that neural speed limit, is effectively imperceptible. For physics, which reaches beyond perception by factoring in the mathematical speed of light, time is no longer a Newtonian absolute but relative to where a body is and how fast the body is moving. Everything and everyone has, therefore, a different time. This kind of time is a byproduct of so called spacetime, an elastic matrix bound by gravity and electromagnetism created more or less at the moment the universe began. At this ‘point’ in time, eternity stopped, and what we now call time began. For theologians, of course, it is eternity (the heavenly variety) to which we hope to return. For the earthy geologist, however, time is four billion years of tectonic compression, catastrophe, and weathering. Similarly, for evolutionary biologists time is 3.5 billion years of mutation, self-organization, and diversification. Focused on human history, the anthropologists’ timeframe is around 150 thousand years, since mitochondrial Eve wandered out of the rift valley in Ethiopia. Whereas, for classical historians, time begins with Herodotus (484 BCE) in the West and Sima Qian (109 BCE) in the East. For environmentalists in the here and now, what matters most is the urgency of the sixth extinction. Time also has different shapes for different people. For pagans, time is cyclical, whereas for Christians it is linear. For capitalists, time is the chaotic pulse of the stock market. Most problematically, the politicians’ time horizon is foreshortened to the next election, whereas for the poets, time ebbs and flows. Complicating matters further, we have many different clocks—in Greenwich, in satellites, and in our bodies—all telling us different things. For architecture time spells ruination, whereas for landscape architecture time is welcomed as growth. More recently, landscape architects have also embraced entropy and ephemera; harnessing time’s power to create a lot from a little. Time, as Anne Marie Schneider argues in this issue, is probably landscape architecture’s greatest tool. And yet, as Dutch landscape architect Noël van Dooren points out in his survey of recent European work, we are only at the beginning of realizing time’s real agency and potential. We examine, in this issue, the various practices of recording and imagining time. For example, Fiona Harrisson and Marian Macken, teaching at RMIT in Melbourne, Australia, reflect on their pedagogical efforts to draw time in the studio, and Calabrian architect Valerio Morabito explains how he uses memory in his
idiosyncratic mappings. Turning to artists, the historian and author of Cartographies of Time Daniel Rosenberg reviews On Kawara’s famous date paintings, and art historian James Nisbet revisits Richard Serra’s renowned landscape sculpture Shift in King City, Ontario, to find it disappearing into its suburban context. Moving deeper into the (meta)physics of time, Mark Raggatt reviews the extraordinary video and sculptural work of New Zealand artist Daniel Crooks, and British anthropologist Tim Ingold reflects on Tehching Hseih’s multi-year performances in which his own life becomes time’s imprisoned subject. In addition to perception and aesthetics, for landscape architecture the kind of change that increasingly matters is ecological. And yet, the depth of our appreciation of how ecosystems change and how that change is described by the scientific community, is relatively superficial. To help clarify things we invited the doyen of urban ecology, Steward Pickett to explain three kinds of time in the current theory and practice of ecological science. Extending to a planetary scale, landscape ecologist Erle C. Ellis offers a polemic on design’s role in regard to the highly modified ecosystems of the Anthropocene, and Casey Lance Brown, research director of MIT’s P-Rex think tank, moves the conversation to deep space time, walking us through public and private space mining missions planned for the near future. Appreciating, however, that the future is best known through the past, in this issue LA+ asks prominent landscape historians Christophe Girot, Kathryn Gleason, and Sonja Dümpelmann three big questions about landscape architecture and time. Connecting theory with practice, Spanish architects David Escudero and Rodrigo de la O champion a restrained reverence for the past in five exemplary Spanish cultural heritage landscape projects. Reaching into cross-cultural issues, landscape architect Jock Gilbert takes us into the deep time of Aboriginal Australia, which makes us question landscape architecture’s assumed knowledge of the land. As in almost every issue of LA+, we also turn to philosophers to help us plumb the depths of the theme. Accordingly, Mark Kingwell, Professor of Philosophy at Toronto University, asks how and if time is dependent on human consciousness. And finally, if you will excuse the pun, Tasmanian landscape architect Emma Sheppard-Simms reviews the changing world of cemetery design. Time’s up!
Tatum L. Hands + Richard Weller Issue Editors
Prisoners of Time Presents
is A PROFESSOR of PHILOSOPHY at the UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO. HIS MOST RECENT BOOK is a PHILOSOPHICAL and POLITICAL STUDY of the TIMELESS, ANTI-CLOCKWISE GAME of BASEBALL, FAIL BETTER (2017). HE IS CURRENTLY at work ON A BOOK ABOUT BOREDOM. Philosophy
n what way is time dependent on human consciousness? In phenomenological accounts of the question, Henri Bergson’s for example, the experience of duration is accepted and even emphasized. That is, I might feel time to flow more or less quickly depending on what is otherwise significant to me at a given moment. If I am bored or overtaxed, the clock ticks with agonizing slowness; if I am energized by company or activity, time may fly. Time is understood to have a specific subjective velocity, with obvious slippages as measured against any other standard.
vagaries, including time. Not so! It is possible, in short, that time splits us into multiple contradictory selves and, without exaggeration, sometimes drives us mad.
Thus, while we can acknowledge that time, considered objectively, has no speed—it is as constant, and as inevitable, as the Reaper—we remain forever conflicted on the point. More radically, many philosophers believe that time is not tensed, that is, it has no inherent properties of past, present, and future. These are, rather, illusions we hapless humans maintain because our practical purposes dictate such slavery – tense as a kind of adjunct of what eventually becomes the clock-bound world of neoliberal production and consumption. (Guy Debord is especially acute on the point, not surprisingly.1) Nevertheless, our personal relation to events is just as inevitably timed as it is spaced.
Kant suggested (to paraphrase him slightly) that space is the form of external perception and time that of internal experience. He is not the only philosopher to have linked perception and space, experience and time. Aristotle, for example, claimed that perception is needed to “pursue” objects of sensual desire, where “pursuit” presumably has something to do with movement in space. Others have held that our experience of temporal relations consists in the temporal relations among experiences. We will attempt to understand and evaluate these claims in a contemporary context.
This accounts in part for disjoined narratives, especially in film, which introduce insight about ourselves with narratives run backward (Harold Pinter’s Betrayal, 1983), disjointedly (the Nolan Brothers’ Memento, 2000), and forward-backward at once (Two for the Road, 1967 and Unfaithful, 2002). It’s maybe no surprise that the last two concern marriages, that place where desire meets reality. In the earlier picture, a couple on vacation weaves a trans-temporal narrative of their years together; in the latter, a straying wife is shot ‘recalling’ episodes of extramarital sex on a commuter train even as the episodes are happening – as if, as Slavoj Žižek has reminded us, the events exist only in memory.2 But in all these cases, the unfolding of the narrative must occur in sequence. That’s time for you.
Pursuit To begin, allow me to quote at some length a colleague of mine, Mohan Matthen, who is an expert on the philosophy of perception. Here is Mohan describing a graduate seminar he is proposing to offer in our department (I was the director of graduate studies at the time he wrote this):
Kant again, plus Aristotle for good measure. The key notion I want to isolate is the idea of pursuit. In standard accounts of action and desire, the language of pursuit, together with its analogues and synonyms, is fairly common. We go after what we want, track chosen ends, chase wild dreams and the wind, seek (but can’t get no) satisfaction, and hunt for clues, snarks, or MacGuffins like the Maltese Falcon, the One Ring to Rule Them All, the Rabbit’s Foot, and the Red October (which is, psychologically, far more than a submarine). Conversely, we may be driven or compelled or propelled by desires we wish, at some level, we did not have. What, after all, is an addiction except a desire that drives us when we would prefer to head in some other direction.
Indeed, time’s relentless march is ever in the background of mindedness, and our thoughts of mortality are heavily invested in time-based metaphors. Clocks, calendars, and tolling bells mark our sense of the impending end, in a manner that no spatial metaphor ever evokes. True, there are timelines and horizontal graphs for the graphic display of information, but from the point of view of ordinary consciousness, and despite the arguments of Kant that both time and space are forms of sensibility that allow us to parse the sensory array, it seems as though time matters more.
But Mohan is correct that all this apparent spatiality conceals the essentially temporal nature of desire. Žižek argues, in effect, that the core of desire is the lack experienced by Mark One at Time-T1 crossed with the thought of Mark Two at Time-T1+. We tend to accept that the Mark Two may not be satisfied with the desire’s fulfillment, but we tend to underestimate the reason. It’s not just that the thing desired rarely lives up to the hype experienced by the Mark One. As Žižek notes, we retroactively posit the object of desire. And this is only possible because the temporal distance between Mark One and Mark Two has rendered them separate entities, discordant selves.
But what about the human application of rationality to its temporal conditions? How do I coordinate my actions with the future as a function of desire and action, knowing that time is a stern master? In what follows, I want to address the variable nature of rationality when it confronts time – contrary, alas, to canonical accounts of rationality which would have us believe that it is solid, and action-guiding, in the face of the world’s
This crisply explains shopaholism, for example, since the restless purchaser of consumer goods does not actually desire the goods; what he or she desires is the experience of satisfying a temporally proximate desire (click on the ‘Buy Now’ button, approaching the cash register) rather than satisfying a relatively distant one (receiving the goods in the mail, wearing the purchased clothes or shoes). Thus the deep
prisoners of time 10
truth is the ‘-holic’ suffix, usually applied here with facetious intent. The shopaholic is an addict, a victim of time’s dominion over consciousness. Bargains Consider a more serious addict, one who is beholden to a drug like heroin or an opioid pain-killer. Absent the rare case of what Harry Frankfurt calls the willing addict—someone who straightforwardly desires an intoxicant even though it is harmful—most addicts experience within themselves a conflict of identity.3 We have traditionally followed Plato (and Aristotle) in figuring this as a battle between elements or faculties of the psyche: the will struggling with desire, say, as reason tried ineffectually to tip the balance in favor of abstinence.4 But what if this is better conceived as a time-travel battle. The addict experiences desire now, and longs for satisfaction soon. But he knows that he will experience regret, and maybe harm, later. That future self is a better image of the ‘resistant urge’ than some wrestling match between discrete inner selves (think of the vivid but misleading tropes of the Pixar movie Inside Out, 2015). It may help in some cases to imagine the unwanted desire as an external agency, a monster that crept within (Homer Simpson’s imagined, neon-clawed Gamblor, who has invaded Marge Simpson’s mind and forced her into a devastating gambling spree) but it is more accurate to view the matter as one of competing selves, not faculties. And these selves inhabit different temporal locations. They have to, in order for the struggle to happen. The more benign form of time travel concerns the matter of deferred desire. Long considered a benchmark of developmental psychology, and closely associated with success in many aspects of life, this too involves a form of identity-splitting. I must imagine myself somehow connected to a future person for whom the act of temporary self-denial will be important. The self-denial might, after some training and with a bit of natural inclination, be itself pleasurable; but this is hardly reliable. One must believe, contrary to all direct experience, that Mark Two will appreciate the deferred pleasure all the more, even as Mark One congratulates himself on cultivating the qualities of discipline, planning, and foresight. This is, in short, an apparent contract between entities separated by a usually indefinite temporal span, only one of which has direct say in how it is structured. The difference between the Deferral Artist and the Addict is that the former has a predicted continuity about desire over time, such that the two Marks will agree at both time-positions that the thing was worth wanting (consistent with Žižek’s retroactive positing), while the latter will repudiate or regret the desire at some temporal position. (The parental invocation of ‘later’ as the time when all questions will be answered, and demands met, is the externalized version of this one-sided bargaining, and likewise of the indefiniteness of temporal meaning of that which is later. Internalizing the power of waiting on your wanting is called growing up.)
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There is, by the way, a rare confluence of these two types in the figure of the hoarder, whose peculiar addiction manages to flout all standard relations of temporal identity. The hoarder collects running shoes, for example, against an imagined time of enjoyment that never arrives. The kicks remain in their boxes forever, the laces loose; the artworks gather dust, never to be attached to walls. This is much scarier than shopaholism because the hoarder sincerely believes that each purchase will result later in a moment of deep satisfaction. Such a person is approaching madness, because he or she cannot traverse the temporal distance between moments of selfhood. There is no happiness here; but neither is there regret. The tenuous connection between beating hearts, which might be viewed as John Donne’s “gold to airy thinness beat,” is here snapped.5 The tenuousness of the temporal connection between selves should not be underestimated, and the assumption of stable identity over time—even, or especially, when forged by desire— should not be assumed. The philosopher Derek Parfitt is justly famous for his counterintuitive, yet unanswerable, challenges to the steadiness of identity over time.6 We really are different people at different times, Parfitt argues, and not just in the sense that our bodies alter and our cells die off. It follows that we must ask what, if any, responsibility we have for either past or future versions of ourselves. Responsibility Many take it as obvious that, barring anything like the Pre-Cogs of the nightmare phildickian-foucauldian scenario of Minority Report (short story 1956, film 2002), we are not responsible for actions we have yet to commit. We might also hold, contrary perhaps to some church doctrine, that we are not responsible either for desires that we experience but do not act on. But if the notion of desire, and its consequent actions, are temporal in the way I have suggested, why are we responsible for past actions? After all, we (Mark Two and his equivalents), did not commit them. Mark One did! Moreover, the desires that drove those actions—the pursuit of some future outcome—might prove entirely irrelevant to the consciousness of Mark Two and his desires. He did not ask for this, and somehow feels it is entirely unjust that he is being condemned for things he never wanted and actions he never would have taken. Now, of course this flies in the face of both common judgment and such institutions as criminal law and contracts. How can we go about the business of human life if people are not somehow tied to their actions? We work hard, in some cases, to trace the presence of past selves to times and place, so that responsibility can be levied. Security cameras are consulted, traces of bodily fluids, hair, or fingerprints are considered, under the right circumstances. Time, this logic assumes, is not an escape-hatch. Where were you on the evening of the crime? Can you prove it? Even in sub-criminal actions, the past can impose a burden of guilt, actions done and undone, about which we can no longer do anything. They may nevertheless keep us up at night, tortured and miserable.
prisoners of time 12
However defensible in enforcement of law, morality, and selfrecrimination, this is the most reductive application of prereflective identity theory that one can imagine. It’s true that the law will exculpate or mitigate based on some aspects of temporal identity. I was temporarily insane at the time of violent action. I was acting under compulsion and not, therefore, the fully rational self you see before you. I was driven to madness by provocation and violence upon my own person. And so on. We offer ourselves similar post-facto easements. Likewise, the law reserves its harshest punishments, at least in commonlaw systems, for misdeeds that involve premeditation, malice aforethought, planning, or other evidence that the action was, as it were, temporally astute. I killed him deliberately, with intent, as a matter of accepted desire. It’s unlikely that a mechanism such as the legal system, especially criminal law, will ever accept the philosophical arguments that loosen our grip on identity over time, but the nub of the problem persists even here, in the most normative of human arenas. As Derrida reminds us in “Signature Event Context,” the standard legal gesture of the signature—the validator of contracts, the graphic commitment of funds or promises or future actions—is fatally unstable. We cannot know, viewing the signature, what were the intentions or understandings of the signer; his or her desires are opaque to us. More significantly, this paradigmatic sign of authenticity is forever undermined by its own displacements. What if I have signed contradictory documents, or countermanded the signature elsewhere? Who was the I who signed the thing in the first place? Not I. This abyss then afflicts all writing, Derrida suggests.7 It cannot control the context—which is really to say the time position—in which it will be read. The only safe prediction is that no one will read the text in the time position at which it is composed. That is the nature of writing, all of which, from the enduring classic to a shopping list, is a matter of tricking time. The text, however humble, always passes the test of time. Of course, the range here is wide. The shopping list, pinned to the fridge with a magnet for future reference, is a note to my future self, who I currently imagine will not remember—or, more accurately, think of—the same roster of needed items. The hit-for-thefences novel or work of history is an attempt to cheat death, or anyway minimize its obliterating effects on the human frame and the consciousness it temporarily supports. It is no coincidence that we speak of deathless prose and, sadly, the kind that dies upon the page. In English common law, the only document which is considered self-proving, that is, requiring no further evidence to be considered authentic, is a signed will. But as fans of mystery stories and Gothic intrigues well know, there are sometimes multiple and conflicting wills. How do we compare them? Do we divine the intentions of their author, seeking clarity in well-formed desires? Of course not. What we do, if we can, is date them. And the latest one wins. Now the distant American
relation is the heir, not jovial (but actually evil) Cousin Jasper. More poetically—literally, as the work of Lord Byron challenging the theological fusion of memory and hope—past and future are never settled by law. “[A]ll that Hope adored and lost / hath melted into Memory,” the poet says. But this is, of course, a delusion. “The future cheats us from afar, / Nor can we be what we recall, / Nor dare we think on what we are.”8 Prisoners I hope your head is spinning right now! Or, I should say, the person who is writing this, who is elsewhere and elsewhen as you are reading it, indulges this perverse hope. The ethereality of selfhood, once entertained, is hard to dismiss. Parfitt famously averred that his philosophical thoughts about identity freed him immediately to a disregard for death and its irrefutable message that his own particular existence was over. That message, he said, had long since been delivered to his fine, perhaps even fine-spun, mind. I’m not sure I believe him; but even if I did, this is cold comfort for those of us who get attached, however illogically, to our time-based and timebound sense of self. I don’t personally find it liberating to know that my future nonexistence is not really a concern for my present consciousness – an argument, it should be noted, that Plato made in the voice of Socrates long before now. It may be weak thinking on my part, but I feel the weight of the things I want to do and experience before my temporal span is measured out. I imagine most of us feel more or less the same way. As Woody Allen said, unimprovably, “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don’t want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen; I want to live on in my apartment.” So of course madness lurks hereabouts (nowabouts). How could it not? Is it just the routine madness of philosophical reflection, which forces us back upon ourselves and our strange condition of mind? Partly that, yes. We experience dozens, probably hundreds, of more or less specific desires every day. Each of them is a bargain, an unsigned contract, with the future. They cannot be ignored, or gainsaid, or repressed (for long). We are bundles of desire, forever throwing ourselves forward in time, hoping and maybe occasionally expecting that our future selves will thank us. But there is a deeper madness here, about the experience of time itself. Consciousness in its most basic form is a mystery, but one with which we make daily negotiations. I am never not a roiling bolus of affective states, physical sensations, random associations, and fleeting fits of rationality. But that latter fleetingness, where logic comes and goes in our buzzing minds, reveals the deeper mystery. Time is so hard to consider without losing focus or precision. There’s a reason phenomenology fixates on the speed of time’s flow, because that is far easier to consider and describe than
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the fact of temporality itself. Sequence, duration, causal joinery, existential fixity – all of these have been analyzed by philosophers from Kant and McTaggart to Heidegger and Bergson, but without definitive results. Contemporary analytic metaphysicians cast doubt on our habitual thinking about time, for example advocating eternalism (every moment in time is as real as any other), but none of them deny the most essential feature of time, namely that it exhibits a rigid relation of earlier and later. I am therefore among those who maintain that actual time travel, as distinct from the kind of consciousness-based form of it I have problematized here, is impossible. The obvious objection to time travel is the paradox generated by the very same relation of self to circumstance which has guided this brief investigation. If time travel were physically possible, I could return to a past moment and murder myself. Playful use of such paradoxes, say in the comics of Jason or in H.G. Wells’s speculative fiction, is by contrast the kind of thing we enjoy – in order, among other things, to pass the time.9 What about words captured in sentences and set down in print? Is this the experience of consciousness successfully slowed from time’s grip and rendered in a more stable way? One might well think so. But don’t count on it. Sooner or later, even if one is not persuaded by Derrida, the text will begin to disintegrate. Listen to Shakespeare, author of some (so far) deathless words, if you don’t believe me. This is Sonnet 65: Since brass, nor stone, nor earth nor boundless sea, / But sad mortality o’ersways their power, / How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea / Whose action is no stronger than a flower? / O! how shall summer’s honey breath hold out, / Against the wrackful siege of battering days, / When rocks impregnable are not so stout, / Nor gates of steel so strong but Time decays? / O fearful meditation! where, alack, / Shall Time’s best jewel from Time’s chest lie hid? / Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back? / Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid? / O! none, unless this miracle have might, / That in black ink my love may still shine bright.
Nice try, but it would indeed be a miracle. Ink is not going to prove stronger than brass and rock forever. Here in the land of time, where we all prisoners, there is no forever.
1 See Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle , Donald Nicholson-Smith, trans. (Michigan: Black & Red, 1970), especially ch. 6, “Spectacular Time.” 2 See Slavoj Žižek, Looking Awry: An Introduction to Lacan through Popular Culture (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1991) and The Parallax View (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006). The riff on Unfaithful is in the latter, at 189; the point about narration and linearity is best expressed in the former, at 69. 3 Harry Frankfurt, “Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person,” Journal of Philosophy 68, no. 1 (1971): 5–20. 4 A good account of these bargains can be found in Neil Levy, “Autonomy and Addiction,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 36, no. 3 (2006): 427–33. 5 John Donne, “A Valediction: Forbidden Mourning” (1633). 6 Derek Parfitt, Reasons and Persons (Oxford University Press, 1984), especially Part 2. I explored some of the implications of these arguments in LA+ IDENTITY; see Mark Kingwell, “Wait, Where are You?” LA+ Interdisciplinary Journal of Landscape Architecture no. 5 (2017): 20–25. 7 Jacques Derrida, Limited Inc (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1988), especially Part One, “Signature Event Context.” 8 Lord Byron, “They Say That Hope is Happiness,” from Hebrew Melodies (1815). The poem offers a dialectical collision between its epigraph, Virgil’s antique sentiment, Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas (“Happy is he who knows the causes of things”) and the traditional Christian virtue of hope. 9 A good example of the enigmatic Norwegian artist’s preoccupation with time and its tangles is Jason, I Killed Adolf Hitler (Fantagraphics, 2007); the story twists the mundane personal narrative of a contract killer together with the standard counterfactual thought-experiment about a pre-emptive assassination of the Third Reich leader. Wells’s well-known 1895 novella The Time Machine (various editions), made into a gaudy Metrocolor Rod Taylor film in 1960, is more concerned with the class-divided future of Eloi and Morlocks. This makes its central tech-device, the time machine itself, little more than a steampunk reflection of the spec-fiction writer’s CPU, namely an imagination attuned to coming possibilities.
doing time: THE ART OF TEHCHING HSIEH
tim ingold Tim Ingold is Professor and Chair of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen, UK. He has written on environment, technology, and social organisation in the circumpolar North, on animals in human society, and on human ecology and evolutionary theory. His more recent work explores environmental perception and skilled practice. Ingold’s current interests lie on the interface between anthropology, archaeology, art, and architecture. His books include The Perception of the Environment (2000), Lines (2007), Being Alive (2011), Making (2013), The Life of Lines (2015) and Anthropology and/as Education (2018).
ART, cultural studies, ANTHROPOLOGY
recently had the pleasure to meet the celebrated Taiwanese artist, Tehching Hsieh. Hsieh’s work had been the subject of an exhibition at the Taiwanese Pavilion in the 2017 Venice Biennale, and I had been invited to join a panel, including Hsieh, to reflect on it, at an event to mark the closure of the exhibition. While the work was new to me—I had never before come across Hsieh, or his art—its theme was not. It was about time and life, and the connection between them. But reflecting on the work led me to think about this theme in ways I had not previously considered.
Through the exhibition, and guided by a comprehensive volume on Hsieh’s life and work compiled by the writer and curator Adrian Heathfield, entitled Out of Now,1 I learned something of the artist’s extraordinary story: how in 1967, as the 17-year-old son of a large middle-class family, with an authoritarian father and a doting mother, he had dropped out of high school and taken up painting; how in 1973, following army service and his first solo show, he abruptly stopped painting and made his first performance work by jumping out of a second-story window onto the hard pavement below, breaking both his ankles and leaving him in constant pain for the rest of his life; how he went on to train as a seaman, as a means to work his way to the United States; how in 1974 he escaped down the gangplank of an oil tanker moored on the Delaware River and made his way to Manhattan, where he eked out a living as an illegal immigrant, working in restaurants and on construction sites until the thought came to him that the isolation and alienation he was experiencing could itself be a form of art. He would be the work. What followed were six pieces, each remarkable for the tenacity with which they were pursued, and for their apparent futility. In the first, executed in 1978–79, Hsieh constructed a small cage of pine dowels in his New York loft, furnished only with a bed, sink, and bucket, in which he lived for exactly a year, without company, without even acknowledging the presence of spectators who were occasionally permitted to watch, without conversing, reading, or writing. A friend brought food and emptied his bucket, but that was it. Every day he would scratch a line on the wall, and after 365 days had elapsed he re-emerged. For the second piece, which followed in 1980–81 and again lasted precisely one year, Hsieh set himself the task of punching a factory time-clock on the hour, every hour, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. With each punch of the clock, he shot a photographic frame of himself, standing erect, dressed in uniform. With only 133 missed calls, he ended up with 8,627 authenticated timecards and as many photographic frames, which, when run rapidly in sequence on a cinematograph, comprise an extraordinary filmic record of the year.
Opposite: Tehching Hsieh, “One Year Performance 1980–1981.”
Barely six months after completing this ordeal, Hsieh commenced a third one-year performance, in which he spent all of his time out of doors on the streets of New York City, refusing—according to his announcement of intent—to enter any “building, subway, train, car, airplane, ship, cave, tent.” His only possession would be a sleeping bag. Every day he plotted his movements on a street map. The winter of 1981–82 was one of the coldest on record – the East River froze, and the privation was extreme. But only once was he forced to break his vow, when an altercation with a member of the public led to his arrest and detention for 15 hours. Having completed this third ordeal, some nine months later Hsieh took up a fourth, this time conjointly with
Above: Tehching Hsieh “1978–1999 Installation Plan.”
doing time: the art of tehching HSIEH 18
the artist Linda Montano. For one year, 1983–84, they were to live together without ever touching, while joined waist-towaist by an eight-foot rope. The relationship, we learn, was not harmonious. It was, perhaps, mutually self-defeating. At any rate, it set the stage for piece number five, which was to abstain, again for a year, 1985–86, from having anything to do with art: he would not do it, talk it, see it, read it, go to any gallery, or visit any museum. “I just go in life,” he announced. In a final act of renunciation, Hsieh cooked up his sixth piece, a “13-year plan,” starting on the last day of 1986 and ending at the turn of the millennium, during which he staged a complete disappearance. At the end of it he re-emerged to declare, simply, “I kept myself alive.” What kind of life was this? And why was Hsieh so obsessed with the passage of time? Looking at the shots of Hsieh in his cage, posing by the clock, wandering the streets, or tied to an unsympathetic companion, you would not get the impression of someone enjoying life. His expression is sullen and brooding, ranging from boredom to fatigue. Never do his eyes light up, nor is there any hint of a smile. Imagine my surprise, then, on meeting him for the first time—a man of my age, now in his late 60s—to be greeted by laughing eyes and a mischievous grin. It made me wonder: is there humor in this work? Does it raise the spirits? Could it be that what we see in the photographs is but the husk of a man who has found a kind of freedom that most of us dream of but never quite manage to attain? This, for me, became the question of the work. How can the self-imposition of a regime so constraining, so oppressive, so monotonous, so devoid of any possibility of progress, actually release the human spirit into the fullness of life? For many, Hsieh’s work is a lesson in self-obsessed pointlessness. A letter from an anonymous correspondent, dated April 1981, had this to say: “We who utilize our education and intelligence to make the world a better place to live in are horrified by your stupidity and publicity for a crass self-display. Artist? Ugh!” Life, according to this correspondent—and doubtless to the majority who would think along the same lines—should be devoted to some productive purpose; it should be world building. A lifetime, on this account, is measured by its achievements. Time that contributes nothing to the sum of human achievement is time wasted. But the six pieces that measure out Hsieh’s life as an artist achieve nothing. At the end of each period of selfimposed privation, all he can say for himself is that he kept going, that he is still alive. There is nothing else to show for his labors. They are, almost by definition, a waste of time. And Hsieh himself would be the first to agree. “I have been working hard at wasting time,” he declares. Yet through all this, he has remained alive. Is living, then, a waste of time? Are all the animals that inhabit the earth, with no purpose in life save to keep themselves going, wasting their
time? Well yes, according to Hsieh, because waste for him is a positive thing: it signals not loss and destruction but the promise of freedom, and of growth. Unchained from the tyranny of aims and objectives, from the regimentation of time by the clock and of space by the hard surfacing and walled enclosures of the built environment, the imagination can take flight, escaping through the cracks like air through a ventilator or water through leaky pipes. Hsieh was already onto this when, in an early piece, dating from 1973, he began to photograph the streaks and runs of tar spilled on paved ground in the mundane processes of road repair. This was wasted tar – tar that had overflown the rigidity of the hard-surfaced road. But in its liquid streaks and swirls, it had come to life. Substitute time for tar, and you have the essence of Hsieh’s later pieces. The time that comes to life, for him, is the time that escapes: time without purpose, without destiny. Hsieh shows us how freedom may be found in the undestining of time. But it is not easy. To stay afloat—to evade capture by the physical, societal, and institutional structures that threaten to rein life in, and to subject freedom to the discipline of law and reason— requires a huge effort of will. That’s what Hsieh means when he says that wasting time, during the execution of his pieces, was hard work. If the willpower is insufficient, or overwhelmed by contrary forces, then the consequences can be catastrophic. Hsieh had already learned this the hard way, from his early “jump piece,” which he freely admits today to have been an act of sheer stupidity. What was he thinking when he threw himself out of that second-story window? Did he really believe he could defy the force of gravity? Here, the line of escape was brutally cut short by the hard surface of the urban fabric. His brush with the law, while living as a vagrant in New York, briefly threatened an equally brutal interruption, in the form of forcible arrest and detention. Life, as his experience shows us, hangs by a thread. Like those streaks of tar on the pavement, its lines are fragile and delicate. It calls for the utmost care and attention. There is a fundamental difference, then, between the hard surfaces of the city—upon which its buildings stand, its transport rolls, and its walled-in citizens go about, without friction and confident of support—and the surfaces threaded by the lives that wander almost invisibly through the gaps and cracks in the fabric. To inhabit surfaces of the latter kind is to share them with the manifold nonhuman kinds for which they offer not a solid foundation but an uncertain foothold. To walk them, as Hsieh did in his year of traipsing the ground of New York City, is like balancing on cobwebs: it requires constant vigilance not to lose one’s balance and to fall. The balance is between the atmosphere of the city and its earth, even between life and death. Contrary to the indifference of modern metropolitan living, the attention of the wanderer is continually drawn toward the ground as a place to sleep, to rest, to wash, to make a fire. But these are also places of life: where earth and water, bursting through the paving that otherwise seals the city, can meet and mingle with wind, rain, and sunshine.
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Does this difference in the surfaces of the city have its counterpart in forms of time? Perhaps the title of the exhibition of Hsieh’s art at the 2017 Venice Biennale provides a clue. It was called “Doing Time.” This can be read in two senses, and the ambiguity was deliberate. One is the sense of the prisoner, who in “doing time” is serving a sentence imposed by a court of law. Life itself, Hsieh has declared (in one of his more enigmatic but oft-repeated pronouncements) is a “life sentence.” But in the other sense, to do time is actively to waste it, to live and to grow, and to find in both a freedom without destiny. While time in the first sense is as hard and immovable as a paved surface, in the second it is fluid and fugitive, affording, like the cracks in the pavement, a line of flight. When Hsieh was about to begin his year of punching the factory time-clock, he shaved his head. But as the year dragged on, his hair grew back, longer and longer, until by the end it reached his shoulders. There was clock-time and hair-time. And if the former imposed a sentence, the latter always escaped.
1 Adrian Heathfield & Tehching Hsieh, Out of Now: The Lifeworks of Tehching Hsieh (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008). 2 Ibid., 327, 334.
This leads, finally, to the abiding paradox of Hsieh’s life and work. It concerns the relation between life and art. Are they separable or inseparable? Can one, or can one not, make a distinction between art-time and life-time? If doing art is wasting time, and if to waste time is to live, then it surely follows that art and life are indeed indistinguishable. In an interview with Heathfield, Hsieh himself admits that in the piece with the time-clock, he “tried to bring art and life together in time.” Later in the interview, Heathfield suggests that this might be one reason why the art world finds Hsieh’s work so difficult to assimilate: “it is so absolute in its dissolution of art into life.” But to Heathfield’s astonishment, Hsieh disagrees. “I don’t really blur art and life,” he responds, “the pieces themselves are art time, not lived time…my life has to follow art.”2 That is why the one-year “rope piece,” during which Hsieh found himself forcibly conjoined to a fellow artist active in the affairs of the art world, turned out to be so unsatisfactory. It blurred the distinction between life and art that he was struggling so hard to sustain, and ultimately propelled him into the paradox of his next piece, founded on the premise that he could only do art, and maintain his integrity as an artist, by refusing to have anything to do either with artists or with the world in which they operated. But there is life after art. For Hsieh is no saint, and has no pretensions to be one. He has not sacrificed his life to art. Like any prisoner, he has looked forward to release. With the art done, he can get on with life. He is still serving his life sentence, of course, but then, so are the rest of us who find ourselves, through no fault of our own, cast upon this earth. The sentences of art are selfimposed, those of life are not. Even the artist, after all, is human.
Next: Tehching Hsieh, “One Year Performance 1981–1982.”
Rodrigo de la O + David Escudero
Territorializing Memory 24
“What we are hearing now isn’t part of some Basque conversation. It isn’t a war whoop. It’s a sort of call, a signal, song, from France to Spain. It has to do with pigeons.”1 Rodrigo de la O is an architect and postdoctoral researcher at the Madrid School of Architecture, Spain. He holds a PhD in architecture and a Master in Advanced Studies, specializing in research. He has been a guest scholar at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture at ETH Zurich, and an independent scholar at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. David Escudero is an architect and a PhD candidate at the Madrid School of Architecture, Spain, where he is coordinator of the Cultural Landscape Research Group. He holds a Master of Advanced Architectural Design, specializing in landscape architecture and urbanism. Escudero has been a visiting researcher at UC Berkeley and ETH Zurich.
historic preservation, landscape architecture
hese words introduce Around the World with Orson Welles, the renowned series of short travelogues written and directed by Orson Welles in 1955. He describes “a maneuver of the highest intricacy and beauty” in which Basques villagers catch live pigeons during the birds’ annual migration across the Pyrenees. The camera shows a small valley next to the France– Spain border where towers of rock are dotted around the hills. We hear “a sort of call, a signal, song” produced by the villagers in order to redirect the pigeons’ flight, but “the flock are only being rounded up and corralled.” Because of this age-old hunting practice, Etxalar is now considered one of the most interesting examples of Spanish cultural landscapes. In recent years, the concept of cultural landscape has been incorporated into Spanish cultural heritage policies following European Union guidelines.2 The Spanish contribution provides a remarkable innovation considering the international context of this topic because, here, landscape is approached specifically from the perspective of its cultural significance. The definition provided by the government is neither focused on human products nor on the natural environment, but rather on their intersection: “cultural landscape is the result of people interacting over time with the natural medium, whose expression is a territory perceived and valued for its cultural qualities, the result of a process and the bedrock of a community’s identity.”3 As in the case of Etxalar, a cultural landscape presents a morphological, functional, perceived, and symbolic expression of the historical and present relationship between society and nature. Despite the extensive literature that exists on the restoration of material heritage, we still lack a corpus of theory on intervention criteria for cultural landscapes. Some experts have warned that the inclusion of cultural landscapes in heritage policy is not merely a quantitative increase in what has to be conserved.4 The object of the restoration goes above and beyond the material to create a maze of space, time, perception, and social interpretation. Consequently, problems of authenticity do not lie solely in ensuring the veracity of material relics, but in the fact that a group of people appreciates this maze and gives it new value that, in some way, includes everyone: a cultural meaning.5
Previous: Restoration of the ancient Roman site at Can Tacó by Estudi d’arquitectura Toni Gironés. Opposite: Luis Machuca Arquitectos’ reconstruction of the historic Caminito del Rey in southern Spain.
What is the role of landscape architecture in safeguarding this type of cultural heritage? How do designers approach qualities such as sound, smell, touch, or sight when these things must be protected? How can these designs reactivate landscapes and avoid losing their historical significance? How can landscape architecturte understand the past and anticipate the future of such a changing environment as a cultural landscape? To reflect on these matters, we examine five interventions in Spanish cultural landscapes that have taken place over the past decade.
Territorializing Memory 26
Kinesthetic Knowledge The Salt Valley of Añana is a salt marsh in the hinterland, situated in a unique geological feature. From the ninth century onwards, water from salt-water springs was channeled to flood a system of terraces where salt was produced. The layout of the system was determined by ecological factors that the salt producers learned empirically. The limitations of this became clear when their desire for increased production led them to extend the production area: by installing pumping devices to flood terraces that were on a higher elevation than the springs, the system collapsed and, for a time, the marshes dried up. A project by Landa-Ochadiano Arquitectos has now reclaimed the original terracing and wooden water channel infrastructure and, after decades of neglect, high quality salt is once again being produced. The design focuses on the sensory experience of water, constructing pathways along the wooden channels to guide visitors through the site and allow them to contemplate, hear, and touch the water that has shaped this industrial landscape. Also dating back to the ninth century is the network of water channels that was built after the monastery of Sant Esteve was founded near Banyoles Lake in the year 812. In an effort to dry up the swamps around the monastery, the monks designed a drainage system consisting of a network of irrigation channels that rerouted excess water from the lake to a nearby river. This system made the area suitable for farming and led to the founding of the town of Banyoles, which was laid out in a manner that respected the channel network. In a recent restoration, Miàs Architects has revealed the ancient water channels through various ground-based interventions. These include openings in the travertine paving that provide access to the phenomenological qualities of the flow of water. Through these interventions, visitors to Banyoles can sense, without the need for explanation, the ancient environment in which water played a fundamental role. Cultural landscapes are often made up of historic infrastructure designed by man to organize and exploit the land. Today, these historic infrastructures still define the formal and functional features of their landscapes. In both the Añana and Banyoles projects, it is this appreciation of water that, through acts of memory, connect the individual to the historic environment. As we move around these landscapes, watching the water flow, interacting with it, and being surrounded by its murmur, we perceive the landscapes kinesthetically. The individual takes the space, time, and qualities that make up the place that surrounds them, and gives the cultural landscape a meaning. In other words, the person obtains knowledge from their senses in a process of assimilation of the landscape through which they are moving. Inattentive Recognition The Vía de la Plata, a 500 km-long historic route through western Spain, creates a vast cultural landscape laden with historical significance. The route, known by the Romans since
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the seventh century BCE, was used during the Islamic era of the Iberian Peninsula and forms part of southern end of the famous Camino de Santiago.6 The recent Iter-Plata project, headed by Darío Álvarez and Miguel Ángel de la Iglesia, sought to restore the cultural memory of this route as it passes through the provinces of Salamanca, Zamora, and Leon. Their design strategy identified certain spaces along the route and created spaces for contemplation and open-air entertainment taking advantage of existing elements including wayside chapels and ruins.7 These spaces have been defined by slightly reinforcing or building walls, tracing lines on the land, and restoring ancient stone benches, original paving, embankments, or curbs.8 The Caminito del Rey in southern Spain is another example of a historic pathway that has recently been reclaimed through specific landscape interventions. Built in the early 1900s, the 8-km walking trail through rugged mountain terrain in the Sierra de Malaga gave the inhabitants of El Chorro access to the hydroelectric power station, the primary source of employment, without having to take a long and arduous route around the mountain. In modern times the trail, which passes through areas of exceptional natural beauty, has fallen into disuse and become hazardous. A project by Luis Machuca Arquitectos has reopened this unique landscape of natural and industrial heritage to the public. The design follows the original walkway, rebuilt just a few centimeters above the old one, combining wood and iron so that the trail blends in with the mountain wall. The trail traverses sections of landscape including cliffs, reservoirs, settlements, and valleys that have been rehabilitated as part of an environmental plan. Though on very different scales of historical collective memory, both projects find their strength in the fact that they go unnoticed, in order to project such memories into the future.9 A cultural asset’s permanence through time is achieved through an almost unnoticed physical recuperation of its parts: milestones, embankments, walls, and paving in one case, and the route itself in the other. These are used in turn to create viewing devices that direct one’s gaze in different directions; to introduce stopping places, not just anywhere, but in just the right spots for framing the historic landscape. Ultimately, the anonymous nature of both of these projects facilitates the ‘inattentive recognition’ that once again puts the focus on the historic value more than on the intervention itself, thus renewing its cultural potential.10 Making Holograms According to Simon Schama, landscape as heritage is an intangible assembly of perceptions, images, myths, symbols, and aspirations that are all involved in the construction of memory and collective identity.11 He links their conservation to the idea of authenticity, pointing out that “memory must be safeguarded above matter for it to be truly transmitted.”12 How do we resolve the intersection between authenticity, matter, and memory in a cultural landscape associated with an archeological site?
A recent project by Estudi d’arquitectura Toni Gironés restoring a Roman site at Can Tacó is instructive. Built in the mid-second century BCE in a strategic location in the district of El Vallès,13 the Turó d’en Roina was a fortified Roman administrative and regional control center. The restoration project was undertaken to recover both the natural and archeological heritage of this important site in the Els Turons de le Tres Creuses complex. Wandering through a small forest with oak and pine trees towering above us, we discover the site at the end of a quiet, winding path: there, the Roman remains appear, their spaces envisaged through their reconstructed geometry. The main intervention consists of reimagining the outer profiles of the Roman structures, revealing the walls and rebuilding the original shapes. If we consider Schama’s thesis, the Can Tacó project is a reconstruction of memory beyond any material form. It uses a contemporary format to perform a mostly geometrical operation that gives this complex its longlost volume back. But it does so by shaping the emptiness: it evokes the volumes but does not make them explicit. Thus, stone and steel, mountain and industry, live together in an interpretation of what pre-existed here, revaluing and activating, incorporating and not erasing, and simultaneously co-evolving with the environment.14 So, in experiencing the landscape our consciousness shifts from the past to the present, taking the opposite direction to the physical matter, which moves from the present to the past.15 Timing Memory But the truth is that our present should not be defined as that which is more intense: it is that which acts on us and which makes us act, it is the sensory and it is motor; our present is, above all, the state of our body. Our past, on the contrary, is that which acts no longer but which might act, and will act by inserting itself into a present sensation of which it borrows the vitality.16
Deleuze’s well-known paradox, implicit in this quote from Henri Bergson, says that time resides within the confines of the present while it is the present that never stops moving, so it is the present that constitutes time, but it happens
1 Extract from Around the World with Orson Welles (1955), written and directed by Orson Welles for Associated-Rediffusion. 2 Council of Europe, European Landscape Convention (Florence, 2000). 3 Spanish Historical Heritage Institute (IPCE), National Plan for Cultural Landscape (Madrid: Spanish Historical Heritage Council, 2011), 21. 4 Lionella Scazzosi, “Reading and Assessing the Landscape as Cultural and Historical Heritage,” Landscape Research 29, no. 4 (2004) 344. 5 Juan Miguel Hernández León, Autenticidad y Monumento: del mito de Lázaro al de Pigmalión (Madrid: Abada, 2013), 174. 6 José M. Roldán, “El Camino de la Plata: Iter o Negotium,” Revista Gerión, Extraordinario 1 (2007): 323–40. 7 Darío Álvarez & Miguel Ángel de la Iglesia, “Iter Plata: Proyectar el paisaje patrimonial,” Her&Mus: Heritage & Museography, no. 12 (2013). 8 Ibid., 64. 9 Ibid. 10 See Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), 56–63. 11 Simon Schama, Landscape and Memory (London: HarperCollins, 1995), 173. 12 Ibid. 13 Marta Flórez & Isabel Rodà, “Las Vías Romanas en Cataluña: el Caso del Vallès Oriental (Barcelona)” in Boube Emmanuelle, Bouet Alain & Colleoni Fabien, De Rome à Lugdunum des Convènes (Bourdeaux: Ausonius, 2014), 247–62.
in this constituted time.17 Bergson suggests that perception is nothing more than the emergence of a small part of that submerged mass of totality in which everything past is condensed, where we find the threshold between potential and actual, or what constitutes the present. Ultimately, memory is the fundamental synthesis of time, and memory emerges with perception.
14 Toni Gironés, “Can Tacó” in Josep Lluís Mateo & Florian Sauter, Earth, Water, Air, Fire: The Four Elements and Architecture (New York: Actar Publishers, 2014), 54–61.
Is it not precisely this that occurs in the projects we have reviewed? In the challenge of intervening in these cultural landscapes, the problems of authenticity appear to have been resolved, be it intuitively or coincidentally, using Bergsonian thinking. The interventions show how the body in motion, the sound of water, visual horizons and, fundamentally, perception, activate the memory. They present an alternative way of working with history, distancing themselves from interventions in historical landscapes that are guided by the criteria of material heritage restoration and that have attempted to recreate the past and flee the present.18
17 Hernández León, Autenticidad y Monumento, 140. The author discusses the validity, for restoration theory, of the Bergsonian concept of memory developed by Deleuze in Difference and Repetition.
15 Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, 63. 16 Henri Bergson, Matter and Memory  (New York: Zone Books, 1988), 240.
18 See Fidel A. Meraz, “On the experience of temporality: existential issues in the conservation of architectural places,” Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology 3, no. 2, (2016): 167–82. See also David Harvey, “Landscape and Heritage: Trajectories and Consequences,” Landscape Research 40, no. 8 (2015): 911–24.
In the examples presented the act of shifting time, of bringing memory into the present, is vital. The present moment is as crucial as the past: it is only now, after centuries or even millennia, that we take action to preserve their cultural meaning. The intervention criteria that have been followed are based on the assumption that the landscape is dynamic, and they enable it to evolve, ensuring that its essence and nature survive, without confusing protection with fossilization. They are consistent in providing a contemporary experience of the cultural landscape that results, in turn, in public appreciation of it. In other words, restoration, formal, functional, and material recuperation, sets out to protect the vitality of the intangible, of that which is able to suggest the cultural meaning of the inherited tradition, bringing the present to the past and awaiting the future. Previous: Preserved terracing in LandaOchadiano Arquitectos’ design for the Añana Salt Valley. Above: Ancient waterways revealed by Miàs Architects’ design for Banyoles, Spain.
ann marie schneider
designing dialectical landscape
Designing Dialectical Landscape 32
Ann Marie Schneider is an artist and Associate Landscape Designer at Walker Macy in Seattle currently working on several parks in the public realm. She brings over a decade of experience in art and technology and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania to her interdisciplinary practice. Her recent art installations and published works explore the relationship between technology, information aesthetics, and landscape experience.
Landscape Architecture, Design Criticism
andscapes are dynamic, and as such they are charged with contradictions and uncertainties that unfold over time: creation and destruction, order and disorder, expansion and contraction. Within this environment, landscape architects are negotiators between architecture and non-architecture, typically organizing space by means of static structural frameworks intended to host the highly dynamic interplay of social and ecological systems. The problem with this approach, as artist Robert Smithson proclaimed, is that “architects tend to be idealists, and not dialectitions. I propose a dialectics of entropic change. A de-architecturization.”1 This statement, and challenge, from Smithson provides a relevant frame for contemporary landscape architecture, a field which aims toward indeterminate natures, yet maintains a fortified approach to order, materiality, and duration that limits transformative potential, related experiences, and sustainable methods over broader scales of time. In its modern (post-Hegelian) use by Smithson, the dialectic is about the “art of investigation…[the] action of opposing social forces...[and] enquiry into metaphysical contradictions and their solutions.”2 As inquisitive and exploratory, the dialectical landscape is not only “relational,”3 but also experiential and dialogical, recognizing all dynamic landscape forces, both constructive and destructive, as important agents that warrant collective experience and participation. It is particularly this friction with natural forces and fluctuation of states that is a source of richness and variety in our environment and, as scholar John Beardsley writes, “provides much of the narrative power of contemporary landscape architecture.”4 Yet, designing such landscapes requires a more deliberate shift from resistant to transformational thinking, and an open and creative engagement with duration. The processes of decay, entropy, and deconstruction are both critical and antithetical considerations to the practice of designing, building, and preserving and are typically approached with an attitude of resistance by designers, engineers, and others in the business of manufacturing the built environment. Intentional submission to these methods of unbuilding challenges the role and identity of architecture, which is to find order, bring organization, build, fabricate, and make. In the words of landscape architect Dieter Kienast, “we don’t need to create chaos, it comes about of its own accord. So it’s more a question of whether I can or should create order.”5 In the dialectical landscape, this question is reframed to more expressly consider time, specifically duration, as it relates to transformation – when to create order, for how long, and how can order, and disorder, be transformed and transformational?
Previous: Kate Orff and D.I.R.T. Studio’s design for Turtle Creek Waterworks, Dallas, transforms existing structures in service of a new landscape. Opposite: Fungi growing on decaying books in Le Jardin de la Connaissance, Quebec.
Time, in both the linear and cyclical sense, has been integral to landscape and garden designing for centuries, manifesting in such techniques as solar orientation, orchestrated seasonal and successional planting, and exposure or representation of geologic, architectural, or technical elements and ruins. In the 20th and 21st centuries, more-explicit consideration of temporality in landscape architecture has evolved in concert with advances in ecological and scientific theories, moving from earlier models of succession to contemporary paradigms of complexity and emergence, and prompting a shift from sustainable to resilient thinking. Relatively recent large park projects such as Parc de la Villette in Paris and Freshkills in New York, have set important precedents for flexible uses, ecological dynamism, and the generative possibilities of waste and wastelands. Yet durational transformations, and resulting experiences, tend to focus on ecological succession and territorial expansion within a relatively static or accreting
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Designing Dialectical Landscape 34
framework while destructive forces are hidden or thwarted. In the case of Freshkills, for example, the site that was once New York City’s largest landfill has been transformed into a 2,200-acre recreational park while its latent, highly engineered infrastructure—required to orchestrate the complex processes of waste decomposition, energy extraction, and containment— is not included in the park experience.6 Notably at the opposite end of the scale and temporal spectrum are current trends in urban pop-up parks. These temporary installations demonstrate hyper-transformation and mutability through topical, modular construction and rearrangement. In their frequent building, unbuilding, and rebuilding they offer the thrill of the architecturally finished moment again and again. But, while they successfully communicate the value of transformation and impermanence, they are incapable of offering durational experience and deny a sense of continuum and relationship to material lifecycles. Affecting parks at all scales, the commodification of landscape spaces brought about by rapid urban development, economic growth, and branding have heavily weighted their value toward material preservation, social use, and service potential. In this context, most constructed works seek an ‘acceptable’ lifespan of one to two generations based on initial cost and perceived cost-benefits resulting in a desired duration of roughly 20 to 40 years for which projects are expected to endure with minimal maintenance. In the profound spans of landscape time, from the ephemeral to the eons, this durational prescription is arbitrary, severely limiting, and seems at odds with landscape’s transformative potential and the call for resiliency. Arguably, transformation also goes beyond resiliency (by definition a more elastic capacity for recovery to a previous or predefined state) by encouraging new and variable states brought about at a wider range of tempos. The imperative—and opportunity—for designers is to cultivate dialectic in landscapes through a more creative and deliberate engagement of duration, providing a gradient of experiences that contrast the temporal with the timeless. To do this we must consider landscape spaces in a continuum that is inclusive of the degenerative (and thus regenerative) processes of deconstruction, decay, and entropy. A corresponding shift in practice can be informed by considering how trends in aesthetics support this continuum, how visual representation in current practice does not, and how our approach to materials can provide a frame for critique and a way forward for designers. Historic notions of beauty, the sublime and the picturesque are, as Ellen Braae puts it, “static terms referring to static phenomena, [that] do not fit well with our idea of nature as a sequence of constant metamorphoses and processes that perform in different ways.”7 In keeping with trends toward greater flux and variation, the aesthetics of transformation must be dynamic and dialectical, reframing landscapes, and our role in them, as responsive networks rather than commodities. In
her 2015 essay “Beyond Sustaining Beauty,” Elizabeth K. Meyer demonstrates that aesthetics are experiential and evolving and that landscape designers have the agency to create “new conceptions of landscape beauty [that] can be convulsive, disturbing, and challenging” through which we can “confront the entanglement of personal consumption, waste and the postindustrial site.”8 She adds that “aesthetic experience is delayed, requires duration, and exists in the exchange between what one sees/experiences and what one knows,”9 suggesting that aesthetic judgment also requires time and patience. The dialectical landscape is well-suited to meet the challenge of discovering new aesthetic paradigms by valuing diverse and uncensored experiences over time, both sensual and pedagogical. As a process and time-based medium, landscape architecture’s reliance on predominantly static forms of visual representation is antiquated and impedes transformational thinking. Visual representation is used throughout all aspects of the practice, from creative inspiration to communication and promotion. The image has become the dominant form of visualization and, in tandem with architecture, our love affair with images has both reflected and fueled a preoccupation with the ‘finished moment.’ Hyper-real, computer-aided renderings have become standard in landscape practice and reinforce a desire for depicting idealized moments in time that are fictional, branded, and present a one-sided aspect of landscape. In their book On Weathering, David Leatherbarrow and Mohsen Mostafavi point out that this “preoccupation with the image [attempts to] overcome fate and resist time,”10 positing that computers and mass production are partially to blame for stunting variation and possibility through their “ease of repetition, increased instances of unmodified repetition, and reduced intervention.”11 As agents of change, landscape architects can begin to amend the profound disparity between human/capitalist time and earth system time by exploring a wider gamut of media and alternative narratives that emphasize the transformative potential of landscape and promote a broader understanding of its value over time. In contrast to promotional renderings, recent trends in the visual arts suggest a growing cultural hunger for dialogue that comes from the aesthetics of decay and the inclusion of disorder and entropy in aesthetic practice. The term “ruin porn” was coined in 2012 by Joann Greco in response to the popularity of urban exploration and the photographing of urban ruins. “It’s romantic, it’s nostalgic, it’s wistful, it’s provocative. It’s about time, nature, mortality, disinvestment.”12 Despite criticism of the voyeuristic nature of some of this work it exhibits recognition that the processes of decay and entropy provide a more diverse, authentic and provocative urban aesthetic and landscape experience. As urban and architectural geographer Mark Minkjan notes in the “Poetry of Decay,” “[t]he city’s scars are stimuli for the mind [that] raise questions [about both the past] and potential futures.”13 If designers can temper their desire for control and unblemished perfection and employ a more dialectical lens, it is possible that visualizations, and the landscapes they represent, could become
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more provocative and engaging, spurring new cultural trends and sparking imaginative solutions for designs that evolve more readily and deliberately through a continuum of generation, degeneration, and regeneration. Recognizing material decomposition, decay, and entropy (and hence impermanence) as essential components to the process of creating requires a closer look at our relationship to materiality. Resistance to decay and disorder is rooted in our attachment to material constructions, their preservation and varying cultural perceptions of identity and memory. Examining these relationships at the global urban scale, recent publications from Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Ephemeral City Research Project explore relatively temporary constructions and settlements brought about by events such as religious pilgrimages, cultural events, climate change, and political tensions. Their findings suggest that ephemeral urban precedents (in contrast with established cities that can last for centuries) demonstrate that collective memory, value, and material stasis are not necessarily interdependent and thus they challenge us to “develop tools for intervening and thinking about nonpermanent configurations as a legitimate and productive category within the discourse on urbanism.”14 Currently, theories of indeterminacy are predominantly incorporated at the planning and programming levels and there is a need for bringing them into broader practice at the site level, particularly through discovering and developing new paradigms for the physical construction, decay, deconstruction, and reconstruction of spaces. The fields of sustainable design and industrial ecology have introduced methodologies for the lifecycles of construction, from closed material loops, recycling, downcycling, and DfD (designing for disassembly). Yet most new landscape construction, particularly in response to rapid urban growth, is designed with a goal of all material aspects maintaining a static finished state for one to two generations. Material refinements, coatings, and finishes are generally engineered expressly toward preservation and minimal maintenance regimes resulting in parks enduring time as if they were a building unit with a singular lifespan, a relatively short-term life expectancy, and the assumption of replacement after expiration. In addition to the limits this places on experiential and aesthetic variety, these prescriptive durations, and their respective material treatments, have primarily negative long-term impacts on ecology, health, economics, and waste streams. A visionary approach to materials and material constructions that express a range of durations within projects could significantly advance the transformative potential of landscapes. For example, within a single project some elements may be designed to rust, pit, and decay in situ, others to be maintained but easily deconstructible for later reuse or repositioning, and still others could be preserved to remain indefinitely. The artist’s perspective again offers a helpful counterpoint and dialectical lens to that of the engineer and architect regarding
1 Robert Smithson, “Entropy Made Visible, Interview with Alison Sky (1973),” in Jack Flam (ed.), Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), 304. 2 Oxford Dictionaries, “definition dialectic,” https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/ dialectic (accessed February 4, 2017); The University of Chicago, “Theories of MediaKeywords Glossary-dialectic,” http://csmt. uchicago.edu/glossary2004/dialectic.htm (accessed February 4, 2017). 3 Robert Smithson, “Frederick Law Olmsted and the Dialectical Landscape (1973),” in Flam (ed.), Robert Smithson, 160. 4 John Beardsley, “A Word for Landscape Architecture,” Harvard Design Magazine 12 (2000): 8. 5 Dieter Kienast, “Cultivating Discontinuity,” in Udo Weilacher (ed.) Between Landscape Architecture and Land Art (Basel: Birkhauser, 1996), 150. 6 Kate Ascher & Frank O’Connell, “From Garbage to Energy at Freshkills,” The New York Times (September 15, 2013). 7 Ellen Braae, Beauty Redeemed. Recycling Post-Industrial Landscapes (Basel: Birkhauser, 2015), 144. 8 Elizabeth K. Meyer, “Beyond Sustaining Beauty. Musings on a Manifesto,” in M. Elen Deming (ed.), Values in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2015), 34. 9 Ibid., 36. 10 David Leatherbarrow & Mohsen Mostafavi, On Weathering, The Life of Buildings in Time (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1993), 120. 11 Ibid., 25 12 Joann Greco, “The Psychology of Ruin Porn,” The Atlantic City Lab (January 6, 2012). 13 Mark Minkjan, “The Poetry of Decay,” FailedArchitecture.com (February 12, 2014). 14 Rahul Mehrotra & Felipe Vera, “Ephemeral Urbanism. Learning from Pop-Up Cities,” New Geographies 06 (2014): 127. 15 Robert Smithson, “A Sedimentation of the Mind: Earth Projects (1968),” in Flam (ed.), Robert Smithson, 106. 16 Michael Bell, “Preconcrete Futures,” in Michael Bell & Craig Buckley (eds), Solid States: Concrete in Transition (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2010), 18. 17 Ibid., 12. 18 Kate Orff, “Artificial Natures, New geographies,” in Bell & Buckley (eds), Solid States, 264. 19 Phyllis Odessey, “Interview with Thilo Folkerts,” Blog of Phyllis Odessey (April 2013), http://www.100land.de/index.php/ ger/texte/ presse/Interview-with-Thilo-Folkerts. 20 RCR Arquitectes, “Journey,” trans. Thomas Donahue, Architecture and Urbanism 11, no. 542 (2015): 57.
Next: The entropic landscape of LaTourelle and Folkerts’s Le Jardin de la Connaissance.
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material duration and experience. In Sedimentation of the Mind, Smithson argues: In the technological mind rust evokes a fear of disuse, inactivity, entropy and ruin. Why steel is valued over rust is a technological value, not an artistic one. [Furthermore, this] technological ideology has no sense of time other than its immediate ‘supply and demand’ it may also be skewing or denying us key experiential opportunities because such enclosed ‘pure’ systems make it impossible to perceive any other kinds of processes than the ones of differentiated technology.15
Hence, as creators of landscapes and curators of experience, landscape architects should be advocating for a variety of material technologies that not only exhibit different durational qualities for their sustainable or resilient qualities but also whose various states of transformation are perceptible. A great example of juxtaposing technical and artistic material value and putting them into experiential play can be found at the Piazza Metallica, a public plaza within the seminal, postindustrial, 200-hectare Landschaftspark in Duisburg-Nord, Germany. Designed by Peter Latz and Partners, the floor of the plaza employs 49 massive iron plates that had previously lined the bottom of a foundry pit on the property. Initially eroded by molten metal, the plates were relocated and rearranged and left blemished, raw, and untreated to continue their decay through exposure to the elements and unrestricted human contact. No attempt has been made to restore the metal or preserve the found patina, and park users can continue to mark the plates as well as be muddied by them. Concrete is worthy of special note with respect to materiality and durational designing. One of the most ubiquitous and inexpensive materials used for contemporary landscape infrastructures and frameworks, its constructed lifespan coincides with, and contributes to, the truncated lifespan of projects. Furthermore, its recycling and downcycling are limited, rendering it “the single largest component of construction debris waste, [and] a significant percentage of the solid-waste disposal problem.”16 In “Preconcrete Futures,” Michael Bell points out the irony between concrete’s perception of permanence and its intrinsic basis “in concepts of time and movement, of flow and the formalization of flow,” proposing that it be reconsidered as a “temporal medium.”17 This particular provocation should be an invitation to designers to not only be more selective in their use of concrete and additives, but also find new ways to engage its unique qualities. The Turtle Creek Waterworks project in Dallas is a worthy precedent that explores concrete duration and transformative potential through disassembly and reuse. Designed by Kate Orff and D.I.R.T. studio, in collaboration with Mesa Design Group and Cunningham Architects, the team was faced with redeveloping a site with existing concrete foundations and creatively sought
operations that could transform the concrete structures in service of the new landscape. Methods included selective preservation of some structures, sculptural subtractions from others, and material deconstruction and reuse of the remaining material through selective jackhammering and pulverization. The reclaimed material was then incorporated into the new paving design in a way that evinces its origins, providing a new material experience offering both continuum and transformation. In writing about the project, Orff proposes “the future of concrete should be broadened to include geologic time and concepts of deconstruction, decay, entropy, failure, and obsolescence alongside new technologies, means, and methods.”18 The challenge of using less concrete cues new materials such as the mycelium (fungus) emerging from biological technologies or revisiting ancient ones such as layered turf used for Viking walls. Forging new models of material order and structure can both expand and contract the life of projects while foregrounding interactions and conversations with social and ecological contexts. Le Jardin de la Connaissance, by Thilo Folkerts and Rodney LaTourelle, showcases this exploratory material attitude in the spirit of both art installation and garden design. Created for the 2010 Jardin de Metis in Quebec, the garden’s walls, benches, and carpets were constructed using 40,000 tons of stacked books. The spatial and structural framework was encouraged to decay and transform through seeded mushrooms and moss. The colorful stacks of volumes sagged, slumped, and warped while sprouting mold, fungus, and plants offered visitors ruins to explore, warping spaces to inhabit, and new ecologies to discover while also putting into play our relationship to waste. Folkerts describes it as “a sensual reading room and a laboratory for the aesthetics of the garden.”19 By encouraging dialogue, transformative landscapes also transform us. In times of rapid change to our built and natural environments, landscape architects have tremendous agency to beget social and ecological transformation through creative and courageous layering of dialectic in our landscapes. New aesthetic, visual, and material paradigms can bring transformation into practice but require landscape architects to be pioneers, forging new materials, means, and methods. Perhaps our greatest obstacle is being receptive to greater levels of uncertainty; however, as RCR Arquitectes suggest, this may also be our source of inspiration: “Uncertainty means entering the unknown. The unknown is the realm of all possibilities.”20
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TIMEFORTIME Noël van Dooren Noël van Dooren is a landscape architect and professor at Van Hall Larenstein Velp in the Netherlands. He was formerly head of the department of landscape architecture at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture, a journalist at Blauwe Kamer, and a designer at H+N+S landscape architects. From 2013 to 2016 Van Dooren served as editor of the Journal of Landscape Architecture. His book, Drawing Time, based on his PhD research, has recently been published by Blauwdruk and the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture.
Landscape Architecture, Design, Planning
he 1683 The Scots Gard'ner gives advice to those who want to create an estate, urging them to raise trees from seeds for the best results. If the land owner does so, the first priority shall be a nursery, while a long-term perspective is equally important: “When they have stood 3 years at most in this nurserie, replant them at wider distance in Spad-bit trenches, 3 foot one way and two the other, where they may stand till they be ready for planting out in your Avenues, Parks, Groves &c. Which will be in 3 years, if Rules are observed.”1 This advice by author John Read suggests that landscape architecture avant la lettre was already familiar with the role of time in the making of landscape. Certainly, Humphry Repton (1752–1818) was familiar with it. In a letter to an impatient client who requested more trees for a quicker result, Repton asserted the importance of seeing things “as they will be.” An appreciation of growth over time is needed to prevent the planting of too many trees, as “few who have planted such trees, have the courage to take them away when they have begun to grow.”2 Repton's famous Red Books, including the so-called ‘slides,’ perhaps the first serious attempt in landscape architecture to catch time in drawings, reveal his engagement with the dynamics in the making of landscape. Frederick Law Olmsted also expressed concern about the commitment of his clients and his public, given that “a long series of years must elapse before the ends of the design will begin to be fully realized.” To help this vulnerable process of becoming, Olmsted wrote numerous letters and articles to keep his public aware of the initial goals of the design, as “these great ruling ends should be pursued with absolute consistency.”3 Apparently, early landscape designers were very aware of the fact that time is a key feature of landscape and of landscape architecture. Today, practicing landscape architects will confirm the importance of time in landscape. However, both in the drawings and in the actual proposals of today's practitioners, aspects of time are often secondary – an ambiguous situation that is the focus of this essay. Given that landscape is so strongly time-based, we can ask what aspects of time are present in today's landscape architectural designs? We can also ask whether drawings reflect time and if not, why not?
Landscape architecture practice has struggled with the role of time, and especially with its representation. There are many explanations for this, but one of the strongest influences has been architecture’s hegemonic privileging of space over time.4 Modernism in both architecture and landscape architecture also veered away from the representation and incorporation of time in design. It could be said that Lawrence Halprin's 1969 work, RSVP Cycles: Creative Processes in the Human Environment, ended this predilection for design frozen in time.5 Halprin’s appropriation of the score from choreography was a breakthrough, as the score makes it possible to add the when and the who to the more regular what and where that designers present in plans, sections, and other visualizations. A focus on temporality in both representation and built work was compounded in the 1990s by the writings of James Corner and the emergence of landscape urbanism as a discourse predicated on Rem Koolhaas’s notion of “staging the conditions of uncertainty.”6 However, the nature of practice is also of importance here, and it is interesting to note that both Repton and Olmsted consciously positioned themselves as professional practitioners, and reflected in their writings upon the meaning of being a practitioner. As Repton once suggested, and practitioners today confirm, it is easier to convince clients and the public of seemingly ready solutions, than of a landscape that develops over time. Even when confirming the importance of time, when questioned, designers operating in practice reveal that they have a range of motives for not including time aspects in their drawings or in their designs. Although questioning designers about their work is often seen as unimportant in comparison to the actual work, or the drawings, an anthropological perspective as supported by the work of Dana Cuff and Albenga Yaneva can unravel the implicit considerations in this.7 For example, practitioners do not expect clients to be willing to pay for time-based drawings – apparently, such drawings are seen from both sides as an unnecessary extra. In addition, as my review of 25 practices in Europe found, displaying time in drawings can be seen as too precise an attempt to predict the future, raising distracting discussions
with the client.8 As Cuff puts it, "art and business exist as a dialectic in architecture."9 In these ways landscape architecture practice is caught in a contradictory situation: on the one hand, time aspects are said to be a distinguishing feature of the profession, while on the other hand, in the reality of projects and representation, landscape architects come up with seemingly stable, ready-made futures. We need only think of the numerous beautiful and skilled visualizations that never say in which year the image might become reality, if all should go to plan. However, some European offices such as Desvigne, Vogt, and Studio Vulkan, and certainly some of the Dutch offices such as H+N+S, Vista, and Strootman, consciously foreground temporality in their approach to projects. For example, Desvigne's Greenwich drawings convey the important message that maturing landscapes have several states of equal value. Similarly, Anu Mathur and Dilip da Cunha in the United States have worked assiduously with time in their representations of water and landscape. Operating in the fields of water management and ecological restoration (or nature development, as it is called in the Netherlands), change and uncertainty are so manifest that designers have had to experiment not only with different representational techniques, but also different forms of construction. The public and the commissioners of design need to be informed of the inherently contingent nature of landscape processes. It is interesting to observe that it is not only the maturation of landscape that takes time, but also design processes and even the making of drawings. Most projects take years to be designed and executed. Within this lapse of time, the dynamics of society, including political changes, new trends, and new techniques, are active. It is understandable therefore that practicing landscape architects sometimes consciously opt for drawings not made using computers, but instead by hand, perhaps in watercolor, so as to suggest a certain openness toward future developments. If the original role of drawings was mainly to guide the execution process, or to test the validity of proposals, they are now increasingly seen as instruments of speculation and seduction. Today we see that
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drawings are almost never independent artifacts, they are part of arguments, and knowing that, one can say that 'turning the pages,' as in a presentation or design booklet, is also a way to control time in a designer's narrative. Despite renewed interest in the issues of time, landscape, and representation, and the availability of the technical means to display time, the majority of today's (European) practitioners hesitate to seriously engage in drawing time. This is due to the lack of a theoretical framework supporting a specific landscape architectural view on representation. I suggest that next to plan, section, and visualization—which we could group as spatial representations—we start to experiment more seriously with temporal representations. Useful examples such as film, comics, and timelines are already available. The precise use of such examples in landscape architecture is a challenge for the discipline. Practice, particularly, is in desperate need of good examples of both projects and drawings – not only in the sense that they are eye-catching and graphically clear, but also in that they are operative in the pragmatic conditions of practice. This can be done to some extent by collecting examples of best practice, and disseminating these examples via journals, blogs, and exhibitions, but better still would be a combination of actual drawings with an anthropological perspective, in which we get to know exactly how, and why, and to what result, these drawings were made. Such a perspective will reveal that current practice has a limited capacity to experiment and therefore educational programs in landscape architecture have a significant role to play. It is within the studio we find a space that easily invites experimentation – if it is avoided, as happens too often today, the studio merely copies the status quo of practice. As Erik de Jong and Antoine Picon argue, the Ecole des Ponts et des Chaussées was a formidable catalyst for innovation in engineering and design practice in Napoleonic times, due to its ground-breaking work in the representation of landscape: it was only then that the irregularity of landscape, including its change over time, was studied in a systematic way. Annual competitions in drawing maps of landscape generated a new idea about the depiction of landscape.10 In that line of thinking, landscape architecture schools, especially in Europe, should take their role as a source of innovation more seriously, and provide professional practice with new approaches.
1 John Reid, The Scots Gard’ner: Published for the Climate of Scotland By John Reid Gard’ner (1683) (Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing Company Edinburgh, 1988), 75. 2 John C. Loudon ed., The Landscape Gardening and Landscape Architecture of the Late Humphry Repton, ESQ (1840) (London: Forgotten Books, 1988), 30. 3 Charles E. Beveridge & Carolyn F. Hoffman (eds), The Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted Supplementary Series (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, vol. 1, 1997). 4 See, e.g., Mohsen Mostafavi & David Leatherbarrow, On Weathering: The Life of Buildings in Time (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1993), which points to the need to consider time in architecture. 5 Lawrence Halprin, The RSVP Cycles: Creative Processes in the Human Environment (New York: George Braziller, 1969). 6 James Corner, "Representation and Landscape: Drawing and Making in the Landscape Medium," Word and Image 8, no. 3 (1992): 243–75; Rem Koolhaas, S, M, L, XL (010 Publishers, Rotterdam, 1996), 971. 7 Albenga Yaneva, Made by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture: An Ethnography of Design (Rotterdam: 010 publishers, 2009); Dana Cuff, Architecture: The Story of Practice (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1991). 8 Noël van Dooren, Drawing Time: The Representation of Growth, Change and Dynamics in Dutch Landscape Architectural Practice After 1985, PhD dissertation, University of Amsterdam (2017). 9 Cuff, Architecture, ibid. 10 Antoine Picon, French Architects and Engineers in the Age of the Enlightenment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992); Erik de Jong, Michel Lafaille & Christian Bertram, Landscapes of the Imagination: Designing the European Tradition of Garden and Landscape Architecture 1600–2000 (Rotterdam: Nai Uitgevers, 2008).
The future for landscape architecture is challenging, and as today's processes of making seem, at times, to render traditional drawings obsolete, the future for drawing is also challenging. Drawings as innovative instruments in the complicated game of speculating, seducing, and opining will become more and more important. Landscape architects, along with continuing to design gardens and parks, must also engage with bigger issues of environmental and cultural change. In a rapidly changing world landscape architecture’s understanding of processes over time, and the ability to communicate it, are key to its success.
Previous: Images from Humphry Repton’s Red Books. Opposite: Time developmental process for colonizing infrastructure with vegetation: Hannah Schubert.
THE CONSISTENCY OF TIME by Valerio Morabito
Whence things have their origin, Thence also their destruction happens, As is the order of things; For they execute the sentence upon one another The condemnation for the crime In conformity with the ordinance consistency of Time. Anaximander (c.610–546 BCE)
I have been attempting to draw time through the catalysts of language and memory for many years. In this case, I have taken a fragment of Anaximander’s poetry and replaced his use of “ordinance,” which seems too authoritarian, with the word “consistency.” “Consistency” was the title of the final (unwritten) essay in Italo Calvino’s posthumously published work Six Memos for the Next Millennium (1988). Along with its literal dictionary definition as “an agreement or harmony of parts or features to one another or a whole,” when I think of consistency, and of Calvino’s death, an unexplored and unknown space opens up before me which I then fill—or rather, outline—with drawing. I draw infrastructures (represented by the titles of books, and words), parks, buildings (combination of high and low buildings, ancient and modern), the real and unreal space of ideas (fragmented tissue), real and unreal realities (grids, numbers, dots, lines), and true or false ecologies (fake trees with fragments of real ones). It is necessary to take into consideration a combination of intuitions and mistakes that turn into one another and compose them precisely to register the consistency of Time. Valerio Morabito is an Italian architect with a Landscape Architecture. He is an adjunct professor University of Pennsylvania and senior researcher Università Mediterranea. He is principal of the practice APS.
PhD in at the at the design
Marian Macken + Fiona Harrisson
Marian Macken teaches in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Auckland. She trained in architecture, landscape architecture, and visual art, receiving a PhD, by thesis and creative work, from the University of Sydney. Macken’s research examines histories and theories of spatial representation, temporal aspects of architecture, and the book form as spatial practice. Fiona Harrisson teaches in landscape architecture at RMIT University in Melbourne. Her teaching and research explores modes of practice through the one-to-one scale. She is undertaking a practice-based PhD at RMIT, in which the making of a private garden is an intimate durational practice. Harrisson was recently guest editor for a special issue of Landscape Review, “The Garden as Laboratory.”
landscape architecture, education
eremy Till, an architectural critic and academic, cites time’s uncertainty, its lack of essence, as constituting the difficulty of reconciling time within architecture.1 This, he argues in Architecture Depends, is due to architecture’s reluctance to admit contingency within its processes; whereas “architecture at every stage of its existence—from design through construction to occupation—is buffeted by external forces.”2 Landscape architecture claims a different relationship with time, one which is seen as inherent to the discipline. Its representation and documentation does not always demonstrate this; emphasis is given to producing drawings which show ‘frozen moments.’ These moments tend to suggest that the designed outcome is a static end point. In landscape practice, time must be central, not peripheral to design thinking and making. Therefore, in students’ learning, time must be highlighted within their education. This paper explores the documentation of time as a performative way of knowing and enquiring about the world in the teaching of landscape architecture. This teaching is premised on a belief that representations of the world actively construct the way we understand and hence, design and make within the world. In a series of postgraduate design research seminars at RMIT University, time is considered through both theoretical frameworks and practices of observation and drawing. Time is cast as multivalent and the plurality of temporalities is explored through drawing practices. In the seminar, students record observations of phenomena through hand-drawing techniques to produce a set of at least 30 drawings. These drawings could be part of a sequence or superimposed, and involve the drawer remaining in one place or moving through space. Within this set of drawings, a temporal logic in relation to the chosen phenomenon is established; that is, considered reasoning for the beginning and end of the period of observation, the intervals between the drawings, and the duration within each drawing. In this way, the drawings require both a physical and temporal framework. The temporal framing is informed by the phenomenon itself and utilizes at least two different time scales as part of the study. For example, one student, Mark Cappellari, documented the numbers and flightpaths of birds within the frame of a window. He undertook the study from sunrise to sunset (cyclical time), and then documented the birds moving past the frame as one drawing every 10 minutes (clock time). The drawings were done on trace paper and overlaid to show an accumulation of birds over one hour. A bar at the bottom of the drawing showed the moment within the 10-minute interval that each bird entered the spatial frame. Students approach the drawing and essay tasks through consideration of different readings. Initially, students were introduced to the writings of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, for whom extended periods of direct experiential contact became the basis for scientific generalization and understanding. Goethe
performing drawing in time 48
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presents a relational method of observation, which requires “an intimate, firsthand encounter between student and the thing studied.”3 This method of observation—acknowledging both the thing observed and the observer, as an active participant— prompts the observer to ask, “How would the thing studied describe itself if it had the ability to speak?”4 For Goethe, time was integral to the observation process as a way of understanding the world in process, not as singular moments in time. The seminar asks students to view and draw in time with the dynamic phenomenon. The drawing outcomes became a residue of the experience, rather than the predominantly propositional role they often take in design schools.
student, Chuyue Wu, observed the movement of storm water across the ground during four-hour periods over three days. As she began drawing, she despaired at the unanticipated subtlety she was perceiving. Interestingly, this experience was paralleled by the reading she had selected: the myth of Sisyphus, a story of an endless and repetitive task. However, when she completed the task, she noted in her subsequent essay that the series of drawings demonstrate a clear and interesting change over time. Although the variation of dryness and wetness were imperceptible at the time of drawing, cumulatively the drawings revealed the continual and subtle shifts through time, due to her remaining true to the method.
Additionally, students are given a selection of excerpts—writings on different philosophical perspectives of time sourced from contemporary art and theory—to expose them to various ways of thinking about time and to aid their construction of observational and drawing strategies.5 The excerpts discuss cyclical time and living and navigating based on this reading of time; the repetitive regularity of mechanical clock-dominated time; durational time as suggested by Henri Bergson; and the perception of time in relation to biology and circadian rhythms. These selected readings suggest that “the notion of autonomous, linear, futureorientated time is a culturally and historically specific construct that remains ideologically grounded.”6
As the drawings are performative, it is important to address the notion of duration within the act of drawing. Bonan Chen observed a railway station across a 12-hour period over two days. He completed one drawing each hour and between each drawing, moved his viewpoint seven to eight meters. The cumulative series of drawings creates a long elevation moving from day to night across the pages. In designing the drawing strategy, he had thought that the result would be similar to a series of snapshots. However, while testing the strategy, he realized that his drawing method could not capture the flux within the space. He writes, “at the beginning of the observation I tried to count the accurate number of people in the scene of my drawings, at exactly 7am, 8am, 9am, and so on. I found it doesn’t make sense...the phenomenon is about duration, not the moment.”8 In understanding that time is embedded in the making of the drawing, he adjusted his technique and drew throughout the hour, overlaying information. He highlighted three different moments within the hour using different pen weights, therefore superimposing many moments within each drawing. This is an important shift for the student: from asking the drawing to be a substitute for a photographic snapshot to understanding it as a repository of duration.
We also require that the drawings be done while observing the phenomenon. Most students assume that they can document the phenomenon photographically, or collect the information as a draft on site, and then draw a final version later. But the approach of the seminar is to cast drawing as a performative act and hence, highlight drawing as a verb. A duration of time therefore must be acknowledged during the act of drawing. The students are required to test or rehearse their drawing strategy in time and place before beginning the final set of drawings. Through undertaking this task, students come to understand the difference between drawing in the presence of something and post factum representation, or drawing after the event. Rather than the drawings recording a past time, the notion of experiential time—and an expanded present—is embedded in the act of drawing. One of the aims of the course is to prioritize the value of learning through direct experience, a simple but often forgotten mode of learning. Some students merely go through the mechanistic motion of the drawing task, but many come to discover the performance of drawing as a kind of improvisation as their observation and drawing practice unfolds through the passing of time. They find that they are not mechanically reiterating their planned strategy but, rather, responding to its evolution and discoveries. This embodies Elizabeth Grosz’s definition of time as “an active force characterized by chance and unpredictability.”7 The long time spent observing and drawing offers students the opportunity to realize that their expectations of what they observe, and the reality of this, are sometimes different. One
The act of producing a chronological sequence of drawings could be seen as reinforcing the notion that events are arranged in an order, coming to be and then passing away, similar to modernism’s legacy of “freezing time into a set of instant aesthetic moments” through the frame of the photograph.9 But rather than seeing each drawing as a still image from an ongoing animation of the phenomenon—and their accumulation as a “sum of discrete units”—the act of drawing itself embeds duration and hence, acknowledges flux.10 Although each drawing may appear as a still moment in time, it is an artifact made over time: through the act of drawing and observing, it holds within it a recording of spatial transformation. This process of observation and drawing that the students undertake alludes to Edmund Husserl’s expression “thickened present,” which refers to a spatial, durational quality, in which past events are retained as traces in the present, and future components are comprehended as “protentions.”11 Husserl, taking Henri Bergson’s notion of our existence in time as duration (durée), believed that this duration is “experienced
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directly as a whole and is ‘constituted’ in perception as something inherently temporal.”12 This understanding of recording has an analogy with Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photographic technique in his Theatre series, which he began in 1978. In these evocative photographs of the interior of cinemas, central to the image is the projection screen. Rather than taking a snapshot, Sugimoto aligns the exposure time of the camera with the projection time of the film that is playing within the photograph, resulting in a glow of white light. Similarly, students understood that their drawings—individually and as a set—held the duration of an event. Through the act of drawing, students comprehended that their record of the phenomenon held a past event, but also the past present of the drawer, the ongoing present of the viewer of the drawings, and the unrecorded future of the phenomenon. This intertwining of temporal movement is referred to by Till: The French use the same word for time and the weather: le temps. This is not a linguistic accident. At a profound level they are the same thing. The weather proceeds in a line of successive seasons but this regularity is continually disturbed by short term uncertainties...in the same way the linearity of time as described by the calendar (yesterday, today, tomorrow) is overlaid with cyclical time (day, night, yearly cycles)…it is further complicated by the human dimensions of time both personal (memories and anticipations) and shared (histories and futures).13
This paper reflects on ongoing collaborative teaching and research practices concerned with temporal engagement with the world. This, in part, is due to a skepticism of the predominance of the singular photographic image—the ‘hero’ shot—which renders landscape as inanimate, separated from its context within time or demonstrating the effects of time. Through the process of designing and applying a drawing strategy—both spatial and temporal—students become aware of the importance of observation within the discipline. As part of the assessment, the students reflect on their learning. Many noted the significance of their undertaking the performance of observation and drawing in the world, rather than being removed from it. One student wrote, “I was lazy as a designer before. When I did a design I used to just glance at the photo. However, I realize the feeling of the photo is totally different to the reality now. I have changed the way I do design. I have become more patient.”14 Through the focus of the tasks, students deliberately experience the world as a duration through the performance of drawing. In so doing, they come to see time cast as a verb and the spaces we inhabit and design to be in continuous transformation.
1 Jeremy Till, Architecture Depends (Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2009). 2 Ibid., 1. 3 David Seamon, “Goethe, Nature and Phenomenology,” in Arthur Zajonc & David Seamon (eds), Goethe’s Way of Science: A Phenomenology of Nature (New York: State University of New York Press, 1998), 1. 4 Ibid., 2. 5 These excerpts are taken from Amelia Groom (ed.), Time (London: Whitechapel Gallery; Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013). They include Joshua Foer’s “A Minor History of Time without Clocks/2008,” George Woodcock’s “Tyranny of the Clock/1944,” Henri Bergsen’s “Matter and Memory/1896,” and Michael Siffre’s “Beyond Time/1964.” 6 Amelia Groom, “Introduction: We’re Five Hundred Years Before the Man We Just Robbed was Born,” in ibid., 12. 7 Elizabeth Grosz, Time Travels: Feminism, Nature, Power (Durham: Duke University Press 2005), 8. 8 Chuyue Wu, “Water Stains” Assessment Essay (2015). 9 Till, Architecture Depends, 85. 10 Stephen Kern, The Culture of Time and Space, 1880–1918 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983), 24. 11 Ibid., 83. 12 Ibid. 13 Till, Architecture Depends, 93. 14 Student Self-assessment (September 21, 2015).
Previous (left): Bonan Chen’s time drawings, of Spencer Street, Melbourne. Previous (right): Chuyue Wu’s time drawings of storm water.
on site-specific art in a changing environment
james Nisbet James Nisbet is Associate Professor in the Department of Art History and PhD Program in Visual Studies at the University of California, Irvine. He works on modern and contemporary art, with special interests in environmental history and the history of photography. Nisbet’s book Ecologies, Environments, and Energy Systems in Art of the 1960s and 1970s was published by MIT Press in 2014.
Art History, Art Theory
ichard Serra’s site-specific sculpture Shift (1970–72), like many of the outdoor sculptures and artworks of the postwar land art movement, is known primarily through its photographs. Despite being located on farmland in King City, Ontario, just north of the major international metropolis of Toronto, it receives less foot traffic than the more celebrated and appreciably more remote earthworks of the American West by Serra’s contemporaries Walter De Maria, Michael Heizer, and Robert Smithson. In books about Serra, Shift is unfailingly represented by a series of photographs taken at the time of the work’s completion by Gianfranco Gorgoni, the go-to documentarian of the American land artists. These images all depict Shift in winter, some with snow covering the ground, some with exposed dirt around the six low-lying concrete walls that comprise Serra’s sculpture, tending to eschew all but the most meager traces of life in the frame. Looking more closely at one of these images, which by dint of its pervasive presence in Serra’s literature, has become the most iconic and effectively representative shot of Shift, we see the work from a slight elevation. Viewed from such a vantage, one might expect a complete and comprehensible view of the work, but instead, Gorgoni’s print makes it difficult to immediately grasp the essential details of Serra’s piece. Looking in places more like an abstract drawing than a documentary photograph, this image presents Shift’s concrete walls in a stark landscape blanketed by snow and marked intermittently by the meandering tracks of a few ambulatory viewers. One of these visitors is barely visible towards the back of the photograph. Standing in a bulbous winter jacket, this spectator initially appears something like a small ink blot or smudge upon the photographic surface, until one notices a faint line of footprints tracking through the snow, terminating in the gap between the drop of the far-most wall from Gorgoni’s camera and the slow rise of the wall emerging from the ground beside it. Proceeding forwards through the frame, heavily exposed shadows cast by Shift’s additional walls cut through the landscape, melding concrete and shaded-snow into a sequence of thin, black wedges that do not lay upon the surface of the land so much as puncture and disrupt its planar continuity. Unless provided the bare traces of orientation afforded by details such as the tree branches that appear scratched into the lower right corner of the photograph or hints of daylight breaking through the stand of trees across its upper edge, this photograph might read as entirely unmoored from a living environment, let alone an agricultural field nestled in ecologically diverse forestland. In this and additional views by Gorgoni that are similarly bleak and intensely formal, Shift appears as if enclosed in a time capsule, abstracted from the ongoing processes of the place in which it was made and still exists.
Previous and opposite: Richard Serra’s Shift (1970–72), as photographed by Gianfranco Gorgoni. Next: Richard Serra’s original sketch plan for Shift.
In contrast to the especially halted quality of this and its other documentary images by Gorgoni, however, Shift was created out of a prolonged exercise of moving through and inhabiting the land shared between Serra and the artist Joan Jonas. As Serra explains this process:
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In the summer of 1970, Joan and I spent five days walking the place. We discovered that two people walking the distance of the field opposite one another, attempting to keep each other in view despite the curvature of the land, would mutually determine a topological definition of the space. The boundaries of the work became the maximum distance two people could occupy and still keep each other in view. The horizon of the work was established by the possibilities of maintaining this mutual viewpoint…What I wanted was a dialectic between one’s perception of the place in totality and one’s relation to the field as walked. The result is a way of measuring oneself against the indeterminacy of the land.1 This intertwined relationship between movement, visibility, and topography would inform Shift’s final composition: six slabs of poured concrete, eight inches wide, each guided in direction and length by the contours of the site, which Serra had resurveyed in the planning stages at a grade of one-foot contour intervals.2 Beginning at the two extreme points of distance set out by his and Jonas’s movement through the field, Serra erected walls in the direction of the most significant drop in elevation in the land, extending each wall until this vertical drop reached a height of five feet, subsequent walls being set out through the same process. Varying in length and direction, the three walls on each side of the field zig and zag towards the three walls on the other, meeting in an open space in the center. At present, the prevailing concept for addressing issues of location in the history of late modern art is that of “site-specificity.” This term dates from the first-wave of land art—encompassing Shift alongside its more recognized contemporaries south of the border—and describes a work of art that is made for one particular place and can only exist in that place. Site-specificity was first popularly disseminated by a distinction that Smithson drew in his own practice between a “site” as the particular location in which he made artwork and a “non-site” as the portable objects, photographs, texts, and so forth that could be displayed anyplace.3 It is important to note, however, that while it is now commonplace to refer to outdoor projects of Smithson, Serra, and others as “site-specific,” this is not the term that Serra used at the time he finished Shift in the early 1970s, choosing to describe his outdoor sculpture at that time primarily by way of “topography” and “landscape.”4 Serra himself didn’t begin to deploy the terminology of site-specificity in public statements about his work until approximately 1980, which is important to recall, because the traction of site-specificity took particular hold during that very decade on account of a controversy surrounding one of his own projects. Serra’s Tilted Arc was first installed in lower Manhattan in 1981 using public funds. Following complaints from a small number of federal white-collar workers employed in the area, a public hearing was organized to discuss relocating the sculpture, and despite Serra’s own
testimony that moving the sculptural element of Tilted Arc was tantamount to negating its site-specificity and therefore the work as a whole, this sculptural element was removed from its site in 1989, effectively destroying the artwork.5 In addition to its notoriety at the time, this episode has subsequently proven crucial in the development of site-specificity for its congealing effects. In the 1980s, to be on the ‘right’ side of the emerging culture wars—that is, the side of personal freedom and artistic expression, and against that of right-wing, Reaganite, and increasingly evangelical conservatism—meant siding with Serra and his account of Tilted Arc’s site-specificity. While vital for the political climate of the day, the steadfast carryover of this position into the 21st century has all but barred any dents or inroads into thinking through the broader implications of what this original formulation of site-specificity might mean today in the dramatically different conditions around Serra’s work. The environment surrounding and containing Shift has indeed changed substantially since 1972, primarily because the sculpture and its parcel of land are owned by the Torontobased development company Hickory Hill Investments, having been purchased from Serra’s original patron, Roger Davidson, when he sold his farmland in 1974.6 The presence of Shift in Davidson’s sale of land was then entirely ignored by Hickory Hill for 30 years, until 2004, when members of King Township’s city council moved to register the artwork as a provincial heritage site. During approximately the same period of time, Hickory Hill had begun to build both condominiums and single-family homes on its real estate holdings in King City, altering, in the span of a few short years, the demographics and organization of the town from a small rural, agricultural community to a growing exurb connected by commuter rail to Toronto. While rapid alterations to King City generated uncertainty about the future of Shift, Hickory Hill staunchly resisted attempts to legally protect Serra’s sculpture and site, claiming any such designation “inappropriate and unnecessary” for “a private piece of art on private property” already protected ecologically by the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, which had been passed in 2001 to control growth within the Moraine north of Toronto and protect its “ecological and hydrological integrity.”7 The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act does in fact include King City, but collapsing its approach to ecological preservation with that of artistic preservation is not so straightforward. The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, established the following year in 2002, to enact the goals of the Act, divides the 733 square miles of the Moraine into four designated zones: Natural Core Areas, Natural Linkage Areas, Countryside Areas, and Settlement Areas. Shift lies within a Natural Core Area, which, of the four designations, carries the most restrictions for new construction. However, while such Natural Core Areas may be the most restrictive within the Plan, they are not completely protected from human development altogether, as they permit “agricultural uses; transportation, infrastructure,
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phase shift: on site-specific art in a changing environment 60
and utilities; home businesses; home industries; bed and breakfast establishments; farm vacation homes; low-intensity recreational uses; unserviced parks; and accessory uses to all of the above.”8 From this list, it is clear that the Plan barred Hickory Hill from turning the sculptural walls of Shift into a high-end courtyard for midrise condominiums, but it does not prevent any number of other developments that could significantly alter the sculptural work and its site. This potential threat to the future of Shift is compounded by the fact that the Natural Core Area on which it is located lies right on the border of a Settlement Area, the zone allocated by the Oak Ridges Moraine Plan for the greatest density of real estate construction and human traffic. In all, the specious sleight-of-hand in Hickory Hill’s claim regarding the artistic protection provided to Shift by the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan actually bears striking similarity to the kind of sophistry applied to the concept of sitespecificity by federal administrators in the case of Tilted Arc. While, in the former, Hickory Hill turned the 2002 conservation plan into an erroneous and misleadingly elastic interpretation of ‘conservation,’ in the latter, Dwight Ink, the acting administrator for the General Services Administration in Washington, DC, which commissioned and owned Tilted Arc, skewed the meaning of site-specificity to suggest that any site provided for Tilted Arc would become its “specific” site and therefore satisfy Serra’s intention and stipulation for his work.9 But unlike the case of Tilted Arc, in February 2013 Hickory Hill lost its argument and the approximately 10 acres of land encompassing Shift were conferred “cultural heritage value” under the Ontario Heritage Act, a designation now specifically protecting Shift as a work of art.10 While this is an important victory for the longevity and integrity of the work, it does not close the door on the question of Shift’s preservation. To the contrary, I would argue, this recent event only compounds the complications pertaining to the past, present, and future of the artwork.
We might consider, for instance, what it is like to see Shift during the late summer and early fall in a year when its field is planted with corn. Within these conditions, its sculptural walls must be sought out through blind exploration amidst the tall stalks growing across the site. Then, even when the walls have been located, restricted visibility necessitates that no more than one or two walls are visible at any one time. Rather than markers rising up from the flat topography of the land, in such conditions these walls instead become pathways sunken beneath the tops of the stalks, creating a route of travel through an allover array of vegetation. Even when planted with a more low-lying crop like soybeans, as it was in summer 2017, Shift can be significantly affected by local weather. Spring 2017 was in fact a particularly rainy season in southern Ontario, giving rise to an especially dense wall of wild plants around Shift that summer that almost entirely covered its walls, leaving them visible only in small patches. In this state, the shape of the land was visible, while the shape of the sculpture itself had become something left more to the imagination. This is to say that the relationship between sculptural object and its environment was still vital to experiencing the site—as is essential to the foundational idea of site-specificity—but not in terms of the formal lines and planes of the sculpture Serra originally installed on this site in the early 1970s. Instead of being a visible shape, the sculptural presence of Shift had taken on a new role as barrier to the farmer’s plow. Cultivated fields tend to be pretty limited habitats, being seeded only with a single crop. The presence of Shift in the center of such a field, however, prevents uniformly even harvesting, plowing, and seeding, giving rise to the colonization of many different kinds of plants, including both those native to the region, such as goldenrods and asters, and non-native, such as burdock and most of the grasses. As such, Shift still relies on contingency as a sculptural presence, but this is a contingency of rain and
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ecological diversification that differs quite dramatically from the typical conditions of an agricultural field. Taken together, these and other unpredicted alterations to the relationship between Shift and its site, brought about by factors ranging from Hickory Hill’s activities to local weather patterns, present a number of challenging questions about its continued existence as a site-specific artwork. One such question pertains to issues of Shift’s conservation. While Shift has been protected from demolition or a similarly disastrous fate by the Ontario Heritage Act, this ruling does answer the question of how it might best be cared for in the near and distant future. This is because conserving Serra’s work, from the perspective of art conservation, is no longer a straightforward proposition of attempting to maintain Shift in its original condition, if we understand that condition to be what is pictured in Gorgoni’s photographs. To cut away all of the growth around the work, cease the cultivation of the field, and perhaps even to cut back the woods enframing it would be to create a new work approximating the appearance of Shift in 1972 rather than to restore it as such. That ‘original’ work has already been succeeded by a new ecological reality encompassing economics, urban development, and climate. To look for points of comparison, related issues of art conservation have been addressed in disparate ways with other prominent, site-specific artworks. Tellingly, De Maria’s The Lightning Field and Smithson’s Spiral Jetty are both maintained by the same organization, the Dia Art Foundation, but have been treated to markedly different approaches. The former was one of Dia’s earliest funded projects in the 1970s, while the latter was gifted to the Foundation in 1999 by the Robert Smithson Estate at a time when the work was submerged underwater, a condition that lasted from soon after its completion in the early 1970s until 2002. After Spiral Jetty resurfaced, encrusted in a cap of white salt, Dia hired its first conservator, Francesca
Esmay, who began a project of documenting the work aerially on an annual basis to track a number of factors including water level, the drift of Spiral Jetty’s circular coil, and buildup of silt deposits against it. But though Dia initiated and continues to document these processes, it has yet to take any actions to conserve the coil itself. In an interview, Esmay describes such deliberations as follows: For conservators, when we consider intervention and treatment on a work of art, we often think about preserving “original materials” and strive to align any intervention with the “artist’s intent.” In the case of Spiral Jetty, both of these issues are not straightforward since the original materials of the object arguably began changing the very instant the artwork was completed. Therefore, citing an original condition to use as a benchmark for a restoration is very challenging, if not impossible.11 Notably, in deciding not to touch the rocks and dirt that comprise the sculptural form of Spiral Jetty, Dia has instead focused its attention on the viewshed around the work, attempting to preserve the appearance of approaching and standing before Smithson’s earthwork that spectators would have encountered in 1970. In doing so, Dia has acted to oppose local proposals involving oil extraction, but as recently as 2015, stated that it would not take actions to raise the water level along the lake’s north shore surrounding the Jetty, despite a sustained drought that had effectively marooned the work.12 Correspondingly, Dia has also pursued conservation of The Lightning Field’s viewshed by acquiring a land easement south of the work from local ranchers to prevent the land from being developed or commercialized.13 However, unlike its treatment of Spiral Jetty, Dia has subjected the sculptural elements of De Maria’s The Lightning Field to more direct conservation, replacing,
over time, selected poles that had been damaged by the local climate and undertaking a more systemic effort to reinforce the entire structure of the field’s 400 poles in 2012.14 Considering Esmay’s stated criteria of original materials and artist’s intent, the difference between Dia’s approach to conserving Spiral Jetty and The Lightning Field, respectively, appears to arise more from the latter criterion than from the former. Although Smithson died in a plane crash in 1973 and therefore could not participate in Dia’s conservation decisions, he wrote extensively during his lifetime about his own work and famously valorized the concept of material entropy, which for him denoted the gradual breakdown of recognizable form over time.15 Further, from statements by Smithson such as “nature does not proceed in a straight line, it is rather a sprawling development,” Dia and others have inferred that the artist would not choose to resist any effects to Spiral Jetty wrought by the vicissitudes of erosion, coastal drift, and drought over time.16 De Maria, to the contrary, employed no such conceptions of entropy in his sculptural practice and, still being alive and active in his practice at the time of The Lightning Field’s conservation, served as ultimate arbiter of its proper care. Between these two cases of Spiral Jetty and The Lightning Field, we might further consider Shift’s predicament in light of these two criteria of “original materials” and “artistic intent.” Regarding the first of these, I have discussed already how the materials involved in the experience of Shift have expanded and mutated in a number of unexpected ways since Serra’s installation of the work. What is more, these alterations in the material composition of Shift as both sculpture and site have been influenced by many currents of agency, suggesting that the more singular, authorial role of Richard Serra as the creator and judge of Shift’s proper state has dissipated into more of a distributed network during the life of the work. Serra didn’t plant or plan the weeds around Shift, but they are now a
1 Richard Serra, “Shift,” in Writings Interviews (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), 11. 2 Ibid., 12. 3 See Robert Smithson, “The Spiral Jetty,” in Gyorgy Kepes, Arts of the Environment (New York: George Braziller, 1972). 4 Richard Serra & Clara Weyergraf, Richard Serra: Interviews, Etc. 1970–1980 (New York: Hudson River Museum, 1980). 5 See Clara Weyergraf-Serra & Martha Buskirk (eds), The Destruction of Tilted Arc: Documents (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991). 6 The property itself is currently managed by Great Gulf, a real estate company hired by Hickory Hill, but which is not, as has been erroneously reported in some recent articles, a subsidiary of Hickory Hill. Author correspondence with Kathleen Schofield, Executive Vice President of Land Development for Great Gulf (July 26, 2017). 7 Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, 2001, S. O. 2001, c. 31, https://www.ontario.ca/laws/ statute/01o31 (accessed August 24, 2017). 8 See Oak Ridges Land Use Designations, http://www.moraineforlife.org/living/ legislation.php (accessed August 24, 2017). 9 Weyergraf-Serra & Buskirk (eds), The Destruction of Tilted Arc, 11. 10 James Adams, “Richard Serra’s Installation Shift Set to Become a Site of ‘Cultural Heritage Value,” Globe and Mail (February 26, 2013).
constituent part of the work. He has nothing to do with the crop rotation of its field, but this rotation deeply impacts the appearance and meaning of the piece throughout the calendar year. This does not mean that Serra’s opinion about the ongoing conservation of Shift should not carry weight, nor that the guidelines of the Ontario Heritage Act or even the input of Hickory Hill can or should unilaterally make conservation decisions. As Shift’s authorship has become dispersed among these various entities, so too has its future come to increasingly depend upon the interrelated interests of these often competing parties. While this materially and authorially dispersed condition of Shift may be different than its original formation as a site-specific sculpture by a single artist on the land of a single, private patron, this new condition of the work does not erase the memory of those earlier states captured in photographs by Gorgoni and others. As such, the development of Shift over time does not so much abandon its ties to site-specificity, as it changes how we might think about the relation of a sculpture to a site that is necessarily subject to ecological variation. Such a view of site-specificity gives rise to a richer palimpsest of the ever-changing conditions at Shift’s site layered in dialogue with the photographic and descriptive fragments of it that we have from the late decades of the 20th century. This suggests that the photographs of Shift with which we began are less documents of the work in and of itself, than an ever-growing and increasingly nuanced invocation of the work’s previous conditions. What Shift is in the present moment is not depicted in such photographs, but they are nonetheless integral to understanding the totality of the work. For this totality cannot be encompassed in one set of ecological relations alone, but only in the unfolding of such relations over time.
11 Richard McCoy, “Extending the Conservation Framework: A Site-Specific Conservation Discussion with Francesca Esmay,” art21 (July 21, 2009), http://magazine. art21.org/2009/07/21 (accessed August 24, 2017). 12 See Kirk Johnson, “Plans to Mix Oil Drilling and Art Clash in Utah,” The New York Times (March 27, 2008); Anny Shaw, “‘No Intervention’ Needed to Protect Spiral Jetty from Drought,” Art Newspaper (September 25, 2015). 13 See Jeffrey Kastner, “Entropy and the New Monument,” Artforum 46, no. 8 (April 2006): 167–170. 14 Carol Vogel, “Campaign Aims to Restore Weather-Abused ‘Lightning Field,’” The New York Times (June 7, 2012). 15 This point about Smithson’s commitment to entropy is raised in a number of articles that support Dia’s decision not to physically conserve the sculptural coil of Spiral Jetty. See, for instance, Ben Eastham, “We Can’t ‘Save’ Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, and it Would Be Wrong to Try,” Apollo (October 8, 2015). 16 Robert Smithson, “Cultural Confinement,” in Jack Flam (ed.), Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), 155.
Previous: Suburban encroachment around the Shift site from the sculpture’s inception in 1970 to 2014. Above: Today, Serra’s sculpture lies hidden among weeds and native grasses in the middle of a crop field.
y favorite picture these days was taken on the streets of Hong Kong by the German photographer Michael Wolf. The photo depicts two vendorsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a man, perhaps in his 30s, and a girl, about 12â&#x20AC;&#x201D;posing with their wares including 13 paintings convincingly imitating work by the Japanese conceptual artist On Kawara hung outdoors on a red and white tiled wall. The man stands between two blue plastic stools, smiling directly into the camera. He is wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt, black slacks, and black shoes. The girl sits in a wooden folding chair pointed toward him, while she is turned toward the photographer, engaged but impassive. Inside their stall, behind a raised garage door, are other paintings and miscellaneous items for sale, maybe snacks.
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Daniel Rosenberg is Professor of History at the University of Oregon. He writes on a wide range of topics related to history, epistemology, language, and visual culture. His publications include the books Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline (2010) and Histories of the Future (2005). Rosenberg is also editor-atlarge at Cabinet: A Quarterly of Art and Culture, where he is a frequent contributor. His current research concerns the history of data.
The paintings in the photograph are, to all appearances, identical to one another. Each shows the same phrase in bold white sans-serif capital letters against a black background: SEPT.10,2001. They look like date paintings from the famous Today series that Kawara began on January 4, 1966 and continued until his death on July 10, 2014 – one of several projects in which Kawara explored issues of temporality and chronology, including the two large bound volumes of One Million Years (1999) listing in sequence the years from 998,031 BC to 1969 AD and from 1993 AD to 1,001,992 AD, the singlepanel One Hundred Years Calendar (2000), which graphically registers each date on which Kawara made one or more date paintings, and his irregular series of telegrams sent from 1969 to 2000 informing friends and acquaintances I Am Still Alive. Kawara’s Today series is as much performance as product and, as such, is itself structured by time. When he traveled, Kawara carried a kit for producing date paintings. Each took no more than a day to complete and depicted the date on which it was painted. The language used was that of the country in which the painting was executed. The painting was then boxed up in a carton containing a clipping from that day’s local newspaper. Any painting unfinished at the end of 24 hours was destroyed. There is a complex reflexivity in Kawara’s practice. Though visibly handmade, the date paintings simulate typography. They portray letters, numbers, and punctuation. And, handsome as they are, visually, most vary only subtly. Often, the Today series paintings are displayed in chronological order, and the effect is striking. Mounted on the wall, aligned at eye level, they evoke nothing so much as a timeline. And yet, as a series, the Today paintings are in fact most interesting when they diverge from, rather than reiterate, the regular rhythm of historical chronology. As we know from the One Hundred Years Calendar, Kawara did not make a date painting every day, and some days he made more than one. And, once complete, the paintings are unmoored from the chronological series. In museums, Kawara’s date paintings are typically arranged horizontally in chronological order. When two or more paintings of the same date occur, these are often stacked vertically, producing a kind of accidental bar graph. This is, in fact, a fairly common occurrence in graphic chronology: when objects are visually organized as a chronology, by virtue of their varying size, number, shape, color, or resemblance, they often end up producing a secondary visual effect with informational as well as aesthetic consequences. This happens too in natural chronological phenomena such as tree rings and sediment layers.
Previous: Photographer Michael Wolf’s image of fake On Kawara paintings in a Hong Kong stall. Opposite: A collection of Horned Larks from the US Great Lakes region shows changing levels of atmospheric pollution over seven decades (1904–1966).
A recent, ingenious study of feather color in taxidermied larks from natural history museums in the Great Lakes region has, by virtue of chronological arrangement, demonstrated changing levels of atmospheric pollution in 19th- and 20th-century America. The study results, of course, may just as well be presented in a table or a narrative, but laid out in date order the darkening bird bellies of the period of the American industrial
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revolution make a striking graphic on their own. As soon as we place them in visual sequence, they become informational. And so, if we wished to do so, we could make a timeline of Kawara’s Today paintings, and we could extract information from them as we do from lark feathers. We also would be on firm ground with the artist in doing so. Kawara’s own One Million Years rigorously keeps to its chronological rhythm. And yet, even that work is hard to characterize as a timeline. While each page lists an equal number of years (500), and each volume contains an equal number of pages (2,000), the visual arrangement of dates follows the convention of the codex not that of the graphic timeline. Years are listed left to right on each line of each page. The end of each line is a carriage return (a wonderful idea from the last age of mechanical typography, reminiscent of the ancient, and culturally consequential, shuttle throw). The end of each page kicks up to the top of the next. If you’ve ever paid close attention to a book printed before the 19th century, you’ve seen a fascinating artifact of the throw from page to page. In traditional Western moveable-type printing, pages are not printed one by one. Rather, some number of pages are printed together on a large sheet of paper in a regular pattern of up and down, front and back, allowing the paper to be folded into what is called a ‘signature’ in which the pages are correctly oriented and in order, ready to be attached to the next signature and then bound into a book. (Our names for book sizes: folio, quarto, octavo, duodecimo, and so on, derive from the number of folds made in a full-size folio sheet.) At the bottom right corner of the last page of the signature, one often finds a ‘catchword,’ identical to and anticipating the word that occurs at the upper left of the next signature. In this way, signatures are easy to keep in order during the book assembly process. In former times, when you bought a book, the folds of the signatures were often still uncut. If you bought a book used, you would know how far the previous owner had read by how many pages had been cut free. The edge of the book formed a kind of spontaneous information graphic in this way. But this also was not a timeline. That Kawara worked in series, that his paintings name the days of their own production, that they are often presented in chronological order – all of these facts tempt us to see the Today paintings as a timeline. Above all, the fact that when we look at Kawara’s paintings we see a lot of dates in order puts us in that graphic mood. Yet Kawara’s work forces us to reconsider that reaction. Experienced history, which is what his painting as performance amplifies, is irregular. Kawara’s date markers only bring that out more clearly. At the same time, there is something regularizing in Kawara’s work. While the Today paintings vary in size, font, color, and language, they never depict anything other than name of the day. The fact that each is boxed with a fragment from that day’s newspaper only reinforces how laconic the painting itself is. In Kawara’s approach, adjacent dates such as September 10, 2001 and September 11, 2001 must be virtually identical to one another, which is not at all the case with the newspaper clippings that line his cartons.
Opposite: Book printing on an original Gutenberg Press showing multiple pages per sheet.
It is also not the case in the marketplace. I don’t know if Kawara made paintings on September 10, 2001 or September 11, 2001. I don’t know if he made a painting on the day I was born. I am interested in the latter out of a kind of vanity; when I am in a dime store, I still look for my own name on the revolving rack of miniature license plates. I think about the Zeitgeist and how strangely hard it is to give a child a name that is historically distinctive. On this, the data from the US Social Security Administration is irrefutable. The trends carry us along like rivers. Somehow, without anyone making a decision, the Britneys turn into Haileys and then Kaylees and Harpers.
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In the marketplace, as in newspapers and in lived life, the difference between 9/11 and the day before is a difference of kind not of time. And, in a strong reading of Kawara’s work, the small Hong Kong entrepreneur depicted in Michael Wolf’s photo has captured the twist of it. It is not clear who might want a painting of the date, September 11, 2001, but September 10, 2001, in the unmarked style of On Kawara, or September 13, 2001 in Kawara’s own hand—that one went for $1.2 million at auction in 2015—is chronological irony that sells. In Wolf’s photo we see also that a different practice of iteration has produced a kind of spontaneous gallery show: many copies of Sept. 10, 2001 hung together not in series but in assemblage. Did the Hong Kong copyist paint all of his or her Kawaras on September 10, 2001, according to the rules of Kawara’s practice? Unlikely. But if so, Wolf’s image would mean something else entirely (and perhaps the name Rasputin would be trending now at the Social Security Administration). As faithfully as the copies imitate Kawara’s look, the copyist’s practice obeys different and coherent rules that at the same time shed light on Kawara’s. After September 11, 2001, it became meaningful to forge an On Kawara date painting of September 10, 2001 and exceptionally difficult to forge a painting for the day after. That’s not chronology, it’s history, and it’s what Kawara was doing all along.
1 Daniel Rosenberg & Anthony Grafton, Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2010).
TIME trains AND TRUTH
mark raggatt W Mark Raggatt is a director of ARM Architecture, Australia. He has led practice research at RMIT University, Melbourne, and the University of Technology, Sydney, most recently under the banner “The Shit of Others.” A published writer, designer, teacher, and critic of architecture, Raggatt was contributing editor on Mongrel Rapture: The Architecture of Ashton Raggatt McDougall (2015).
e see time’s wounds, we sense its passage but its shadow doesn’t so much as cool our skin. Time is not perceived directly, we have no specific sense devoted to the perception of time. Multiple data streams are processed by several spongy bits of brain: the cerebral cortex, cerebellum, basal ganglia, suprachiasmatic nucleus, the occipital lobe (the image processing center for all that we see). The great trick is that all that information arrives and is processed at different speeds, a disparity reconciled by the brain in about one-tenth of a second. In 1882 E.R. Clay called this moment the “specious present.”1 The specious present is fabricated by our minds – a parsing of the past that has ceased to exist and future that does not yet exist. The present is a fiction approximating a dimensionless slice of time. But what if we could watch time like an inexorable slouching beast, or give form to the passing of the present, not in memory or shadowy afterimages but by capturing the present? Daniel Crooks is an artist. He’s from New Zealand but lives in Melbourne, Australia. He works from his shed, mostly. He meddles with time as if it could be manipulated, mined, shaped, and sculpted. As if it were not predestined, or forever radiating away from us. Crooks slices time, revealing an intricate and beautiful anatomy. As a contemporary artist, Crooks instrumentalizes technology and the moving image to orchestrate ways of seeing time.2
Of Trains, Their Timetables, and Pedestrians Trains and the moving image appeared at almost the same moment in history. Movement at speed altered human perception of space and time, an assault so great that people fainted and vomited – though presumably not in that order. Similarly, one of the Lumiere brothers’ earliest films The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station (1896), caused panic in the cinema as a full-sized train rushed toward the audience. This might be the birth of cinema and, in its infancy, it had yet to develop a cinematic language. It is a 50-second, unedited, unmoving, continuous shot of everyday life. So, too, is Crooks’ work Train No. 1 (2002–13), in which a train arrives at the station accompanied by the almost familiar clickety-clack. The vision, too, seems to clatter with staccato repetition. The unblinking footage is sliced and displaced, as if to offset the present long enough for us to contemplate its passing. Objects and urban detritus are repeated in adjacency, we see their relative positions in time, each staccato beat a present now past. The film recalls the famous chronophotographs of Eadweard
Muybridge, and Etienne-Jules Marey who coined the term and used the process, overlapping the images, to study the phases of movement. (Etienne-Jules Marey also invented a train timetable, La méthode graphique (1885), a milestone in data visualization in which the stations are listed vertically, spaced according to their relative distance, and the hours of the day are arrayed horizontally such that the angle of each line reflects the speed of a train.) In Crooks’ Static No. 9 (a small selection of something larger) (2012) we see horizontal slices through the video frame. Temporal strands saunter past, some twisting like DNA, others like creeping millipedes, or strange temporal tendrils blooming. At times, we feel as though we are panning ever upward, then still, this strange world passing. The soundtrack of urban bleeps, sonar scuffling, and human voices provides an uncanny metropolitan hustle; perhaps it’s then that we notice the legs, hands, and feet – we are people-watching. Their paths are like those of Marey’s trains tracked in temporal space, their movements seemingly predestined by some complex underlying geometry. Marey’s timetable reveals a temporal geography long before Swedish geographer Torsten Hägerstrand defined the ontology of time-space geography. In his paper What About People in Regional Science (1970) Hägerstrand writes, "In time-space the individual describes a path, starting at the point of birth and ending at the point of death…the life paths become captured within a net of constraints, some of which are imposed by physiological and physical necessities and some are imposed by private and common decisions…An individual can never free himself from such constraints."3 Crooks’ contemporary work captures the inexorable quality both of Marey’s trains steaming from Paris to Lyon and the captured freedom we describe on our paths between life and death. We are seeing just a small selection of something larger. What paths might we be on, and to what end do we carry ourselves? The Illusion of Choice In Garden of Parallel Paths (2012) we pan across these possible trajectories in the form of parallel laneways. Melbourne is a grid city; the Central Business District and inner suburbs are run through with service lanes and back alleys. The first thing we notice is that there is a dimensionless boundary between one lane and the next. Shadows
Previous: Imaginary Object No. 3 (2007) by Daniel Crooks. This page: Train No. 1 (2002–13) by Daniel Crooks.
fall from unique suns; each lane is discrete. Beyond each slice are worlds we can’t reach, parallel universes subject to their own net of constraints, in which we made different choices. We travel across these parallel paths, the pavement changing in front of us with each slice. Pedestrians appear in the frame, some walking away or toward us in one lane or another. Others travel with us. They appear briefly, only to disappear beyond the narrow frame. We must be like them, only passing through each of these worlds. There is a man who stands at the corner, not entering, nor moving. He watches us as we pass and as we watch him, he wanders away, just as we slip into another parallel path. But in An Embroidery of Voids (2013) we are sailing down a laneway. This lane has been sliced and spliced with another lane hanging incongruously within the first. We float through the portal into the next and then another, and another, and another all fitting with monocular precision within its predecessor; a bizarre labyrinth of nested worlds. In previous works Crooks has been slicing space-time vertically, revealing in thin slices of vision a strange unseen choreography. This work, however, cuts thick slices of space as we travel into it. It is both an affirmation and a disassembly of monocular vision: the perspectival construction forced by the medium and by the laneways themselves is undermined. The camera is set close to eye level, a horizon line and vanishing point clearly defined by the fence-lines, these orthogonal armatures leading to a vanishing point we can never approach. Each frame offers an alternative universe, as if in our sailing we might travel with each alternative self, as if each portal were a missed opportunity or a catastrophe avoided. Like the earlier train tracks, the laneways offer few opportunities for diversion, few chances to truly change our trajectory. In the final frames, two chefs perch like figures from Rodin’s Gates of Hell. The laneway(s) turn back on a dead end, a black fence consumes our vision and I felt a little pang of grief. The Tenth Principle of Tai Chi If the steady pace and unblinking footage of the Voids provides little solace, it creates the desire to hold time still, if only to perceive more vividly. The tenth principle of Tai Chi is to “seek stillness in movement,” as if to recognize the human desire for a peace lost in Eden. And to acknowledge that we cannot halt time,
but that through seeking, seeing, looking, we might apprehend something in the baroque crevices of our own movements. In Static No. 12 (seek stillness in movement) (2010) Crooks accommodates the minute and ceaseless catastrophes of existence and manufactures a method to look, see, and seek stillness. A man performs Tai Chi in a small courtyard, his movements slower than even his discipline demands, while birds call via electronic ambience. His figure begins to contort, to double and treble as his body moves through space, as if he dances on some unseen temporal line. That slice is just one pixel wide, captured and displaced, apprehended in time before it is lost but still moving as another pixel slice is captured and both are displaced again, and again, and again. The displaced pixels create a portal in the footage, forcing it open. As each slice is preserved, corresponding information at the edge is lost, and eventually in capturing this terribly thin slice of the world, the rest is lost. By the end, even the man moves beyond this thin contour of time and we are left with a precise but unintelligible blur that once was the world. Crooks accepts the ever-shifting nature of his subject and by extension our world; in seeking stillness he makes concrete the rococco geometries, friction points, folds, and fugitive sculptures in our movements. Crooks’ ‘time slice’ is an almost complete description of a single contour of time but, being just one pixel, it can only exist in camera. It remains inaccessible to us, intangible, and so still dimensionless. Truth Crooks has been refining a method to transport the temporal forms he creates on screen into realized three-dimensional objects. The screen images do already suggest forms in space, perhaps none more than his Imaginary Objects, which shows a sinuous wisp turning in a void. Its nature and genesis are not clear, nor perhaps does it matter. Rather, the point is its allusions to corporeal possibilities. It appears simultaneously ephemeral and concrete like smoke and marble, or liquid drapery. In truth, it’s a scrunched up bit of paper, rotating lazily on a turntable, almost a parody of artless drollery. Yet the truth of the object is not in its subject but in the qualities it reveals through observation. It’s like René Descartes’ ball of wax, taken freshly from the hive, still sweet with honey, still smelling of flowers, its color, size, and even resonance apparent. Yet when brought close to the fire, all these distinct qualities are destroyed even while its puddle remains. What do we know of Descartes’ bit of wax if
Above: A Garden of Parallel Paths (2012) by Daniel Crooks. Below: An Embroidery of Voids (2013) by Daniel Crooks.
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everything we saw, smelled, tasted is gone? Not what our senses brought, not even our imaginations but our reason, the perceptions of our mind. Descartes asked us to abstract from all that does not belong to the wax and see what remains—nothing— except a certain extended thing which is flexible and moveable,4 res extensa. So too, with Crooks’ droll paper ball, now stretched and twisted in time, all that we might have observed of its existence has been displaced and replaced by this imaginary object. How, then, to extend the imaginary into the world, or perhaps to translate, transpose, or transport it? The monocular view of the camera creates a projection of form, like perspective, an approximation we accept as approaching truth. An approximation that fails under the strain of capturing time-space figures as they port into the specious present. Crooks’ work depends on technology to find the work he makes, to see the things he sees. The technologies and contraptions he deploys are intrinsic to the qualities and insights of the work. For this next portal to open he had to find the right technologies or sacrifice the fidelity of his earlier discoveries. Crooks researched LIDAR scanning, corner pinning, RED cameras, laser levels, and brute trigonometry, but after presenting his research during a Futurelab Residency in Linz he was told, "You’ve got to talk to Otto." Otto, it turns out, was developing a system deploying laser trackers to trace figures in space. Abandoning his earlier research, Crooks began with SICK laser trackers, Kinect cameras, and polygon point-clouds. The resultant series Truths Unveiled by Time are works comprising 2D contours of figures as they move through space, stacked where the third-dimension is a unit of time. They no longer represent data-visualization in the tradition of Marey but are now fully realized, as Crooks says, like "beings from another dimension sliding into the gallery and sliding out again."5 These works, like their parents—the Static and Imaginary Objects series—reveal the geometries of an ephemeral world. They recall, too, baroque and rococo marble sculpture and one in particular: Antonio Corradini’s Veiled Truth (1751), which stands in the Sansevero Chapel in Naples. Veiled Truth is a marble woman draped in the sheerest of fabrics (disconcertingly sexy for a tomb monument), her veil a marble conceit; she conceals very little. Crooks’ Truths might be unveiled by time but the once legible figure is lost, transfigured into this new version of itself. We are yet able to recognize this being from another dimension. I’m reminded of that other virtuosic work facing Veiled Truth: Francesco Queirolo’s Release from Deception (1752–59). The deceived figure is still tangled in that net, struggling against the finite limitations of his body. Looking at these works, from trains to truth, as I have over many months and even years, I am disappointed. I sense that I’ve failed. From the first, I had the sense that soon and very soon a revelation was at hand, that soon and very soon I would understand. Crooks sees intently the indignant business of contemporary life, the morning commute, city pavements, the back alleys and service lanes, lonely figures and paper waste. Crooks makes them figures of contemplation, opening grottos in the spatio-temporal plane to make time for stillness. Yet, for me, the work remains opaque while the feeling that even now all might be revealed lingers frustratingly out of reach; a perceptual leap beyond my meager senses. I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve been measured and found wanting.
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1 Anonymous (E. Robert Kelly), The Alternative: A Study in Psychology (London: Macmillan and Co., 1882). 2 To view Daniel Crooks’ video work, see https://vimeo.com/danielcrooks. Daniel Crooks is represented by Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne, Australia. 3 Torsten Hägerstrand, “What About People in Regional Science” in Papers of the Regional Science Association 24, no. 1 (1970): 6–21. 4 René Descartes, The Philosophical Works of Descartes (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1911), trans. Elizabeth S. Haldane. 5 In conversation with Daniel Crooks, Canberra, (October 19, 2016).
Previous: Static No. 12 (Seek Stillness in Movement) (2010) by Daniel Crooks. This page: Truths Unveiled by Time No. 3 (2014) by Daniel Crooks.
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jock gilbert Jock Gilbert teaches in the landscape architecture program at RMIT in Melbourne, Australia. He has an abiding interest in the unrepresentable and fleeting nature of the formless sublime thought and its relationship to landscape through the stories of the everyday. He is currently engaged in design research practice which seeks the elevation of these stories to the scale of the epic through a “working of the ground” in a series of regional projects located in East Africa, South East Asia, and western New South Wales.
ART, cultural studies
his essay explores temporality and landscape in relation to ‘Country’ – an Indigenous Australian understanding of land in which “there is no separation of human activity and the natural world,”1 and through which time is not considered a linear entity. The essay reflects upon a mapping workshop “Interpretive Wonderings” held in September 2015 with Indigenous custodians of the landscape known as Culpra Station, an 8,500-hectare former grazing property on the Murray River floodplain in regional New South Wales. The workshop sought to question and augment institutional maps of the land – paper objects produced by government agencies that facilitate management, commodification, and valuation of land in natural resource terms with little accounting of intrinsic value and which inherently elide a temporal dimension. Maps produced in the workshop offer opportunities to re-think practices of landscape representation through Hans-Georg Gadamer’s conceptualizing of the hermeneutic circle through which “interpretation must be a matter of constant revision”2 and which “holds the promise of fundamentally altering the way one thinks about interpretation, understanding and the communication of culture.”3
The Site Culpra Station, was purchased by the Indigenous Land Council in 2002 as part of a land-bank established for Indigenous people. In 2012, title was passed to the Culpra Milli Aboriginal Corporation, which remains, through the Pearce family, the custodian of the land. Intrinsic to this custodianship is the preservation, protection, and promotion of Aboriginal culture and the promotion of opportunities around collaborative knowledge exchange. The Pearce family and the Culpra Milli Aboriginal Corporation belong to the Barkandji4 people through the matriarchal line of Betty Pearce. Betty’s husband, Barry Pearce, manages the day-to-day operation of the property, which is share-farmed: a neighboring pastoral family cultivates dry-land crops of wheat and runs 2,000 sheep. For Barry Pearce, water and land are one inseparable entity, inseparable also from self, “while [he] might own the land, the land owns [him].”5 Australia’s longest river—the Murray—provides one ventral boundary to the property with arresting sand cliffs and wide flat beaches. It is country where towering majestic red-gum forests thrive in watery billabongs, and dry mallee scrub (low, multistemmed Eucalyptus trees) grow in undulating fields of red sand punctuated by tufts of prickly Spinifex grass, gnarled box, gray saltbush, and tangled lignum spread across wide, heavy black-soil plains. Wetlands can swell and recede in a moment. Along with these spectacular environmental features, the property is home to a number of significant Aboriginal cultural heritage sites including burial sites, ancient fire hearths, shell middens, scarred trees, a fish trap, and an ochre quarry.6 These are overlaid with colonial pastoral relics including stockyards, irrigation earthworks, fencing, abandoned homestead sites, and settler graves. Acknowledgments "Interpretive Wonderings" was produced in collaboration with the Culpra Milli Aboriginal Corporation. The project team was comprised of Indigenous researcher and Barkandji woman Sophia Pearce, architect Campbell Drake, curatorial designer Sven Mehzoud, and landscape architect Jock Gilbert.
The Workshop In September 2015, 30 Indigenous and non-Indigenous creative practitioners met on the site to map material and immaterial qualities of the landscape in response to local stories. Storying7 and story-telling are forms of transgenerational knowledge sharing for many of the world’s indigenous peoples. They are inherently cartographic and recognize a different way of mapping – performed through an Indigenous knowledge8 system based on conceptions of Country and allowing exploration
the circle of time 82
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of knowledge associated with places and time. The concept of Country is itself a form of Indigenous knowledge. Deborah Bird Rose has written of the Aboriginal concept of Country as that of “a living entity with a yesterday, today and tomorrow, with a consciousness and a will toward life,”9 a rich description that places the temporal at the heart of any conceptualizing of place or landscape (in a landscape architectural sense). Janet McGaw and Anoma Pieris quote Marcia Langton in describing “Story” as a “spiritual power that is ubiquitous in particular persons and places...an essence that is immutable”10 and which is enmeshed within the concept of Country through a living relationship: “‘to be’ is to know one’s Story and to enact it on Country.” For the workshop, story-telling was enabled through ‘yarning,’ an approach that affords each party the opportunity to situate themselves in the story of the other. In doing so, each party is also then situated in and on Country. The understanding of Country is dependent on the unfurling of the understanding of one’s part in it, and can only be gained in relation to the parts of others engaged in the yarn. It is a process that takes time and requires patience, as well as an inclination to listening deeply. In the sense that the yarn might be considered to be circuitous and processdriven—fundamentally iterative as stories loop through time and do not seek the resolution of problems—it shares characteristics with the idea of Gadamer’s hermeneutic circle. In response to local Indigenous stories, and with regard to sites of cultural and environmental significance, participants in the workshop were asked to produce mappings that would demonstrate a specific relationship to an element of the landscape – Country, as it became. Time spent on Country during the workshop was quite short: for most participants, two nights and three days. The structuring of this time revolved around two more or less formal walks in which participants were introduced to specific sites of significance during which knowledge holders shared stories of the specific nature of these places and things. Participants also engaged in less-formal conversation over meals and food in a shared kitchen or around the large group campfire. Punctuating both these formal and informal activities, participants were also undertaking a form of cartography in locating themselves both spatially in the context of the property and temporally through the stories being exchanged – the yarn being a locating
1 Margaret Somerville, Water in a Dry Land: Place Learning Through Art and Story (Routledge, 2013), 56. 2 Hans-Georg Gadamer, “On the Circle of Understanding,” in J.M. Connolly and T. Keutner (eds) Hermenutics versus Science? Three German Views (University of Notre Dame Press, 1998). 3 Paul Kidder, Gadamer for Architects (Routledge, 2013). 4 For ease of reference, the spelling Barkandji (used by the Culpra community) is used throughout this essay; however, it should be noted that the spelling varies depending on the familial and therefore regional connections of individuals. 5 Barry Pearce, personal communication with author (2015). 6 These indicate past Aboriginal presence and engagement with Country: midden sites contain the detritus of life (in this case mostly discarded mussel shells), scarred trees are those where bark has been removed for the making of canoes and coolamons (elegantly curved carrying vessels). 7 Janet McGaw & Anoma Pieris, Assembling the Centre: Architecture for Indigenous Cultures (Routledge, 2015). 8 Sophia Pearce, Kanyitas Way: A Reflection on Yarning, Masters Thesis (Charles Sturt University, 2013). Pearce notes that, “Indigenous knowledge is embedded within the belief system for many Aboriginal people, their views and experience of the world…According to Grenier (1998), “Indigenous knowledge (IK) is stored in peoples’ memories and activities and is expressed in stories and songs, folklore, proverbs, dances, myths, cultural values, beliefs rituals, community laws, local language and taxonomy, agricultural practices, equipment, materials, plant species and animal breeds. IK is shared and communicated orally, by specific example, and through culture. Indigenous forms of communication and organization are vital to local-level decision-making processes and to the preservation and, development, and spread of IK.” 9 Deborah Bird Rose, Nourishing Terrains: Australian Aboriginal Views of Landscape and Wilderness (Australian Heritage Commission, 1996), 7.
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device drawing the past in an iterative circle through the present to the future, an inherently cartographic undertaking. Outcomes The immediate outcome of the workshop was a collection of mapping artifacts in a range of media including sound recordings, performance, video, assemblages, writing, drawings, installation, and photography, which were then exhibited in the Mildura Art Centre from February to April 2016. The collective outcome of the project tends towards an altered understanding of the nature of time through the processual engagement involved in the production of each work and of the whole. The four works described below demonstrate the outcomes in relation to an expanded understanding of time.
10 McGaw & Pieris, Assembling the Centre, 22. 11 Louisa King, “The Antediluvian River” in Sophia Pearce, Campbell Drake, Jock Gilbert, Interpretive Wonderings: Mapping Culpra Station (2016), 41. 12 Warlpa Thompson, “Knapping the World,” ibid., 61. 13 Mick Douglas, “Custodian Boots,” ibid., 33. 14 Campbell Drake & Jock Gilbert, “Interpretive Wonderings,” Unlikely: Journal for Creative Arts 2 (2017) http://unlikely.net.au/issue-2/interpretive-wonderings.
“The Antediluvian River: How to Draw a River (Without Actually Drawing a River),” produced by Sydney landscape architect Louisa King, pursues a mapping “language with the potential to contain the multiple ephemeral states of a river within one image.” King noted that “the current status of the river is relegated to a series of boundaries, irrigation networks, and quantifiable volumes.” Her work imagined the river “not through linear time, but in a collapsed temporal state, where past, present, and future hydrological conditions were given equal measure.” In an attempt to allow unspoken and unaccounted narratives to pervade the space of the work, voices constituting video, data sets, geologic survey, aerial surveys, and narrative are used as means through which to interpret the multiple temporal conditions of the river. King envisions a type of interdisciplinary conversation occurring in which the river is reimagined as constitutive of relations through time – a reflection of inhabitation and use in the present, the past, and into the future. The exhibition of the work as a triptych further strengthens (albeit ambiguously) the sense of time as existing simultaneously in multiple states. Warlpa Thompson is a Barkandji man who practices as an archaeologist and paleoanthropologist. Thompson’s work engages with the tradition of knapping. This is an ancient technique of working stone through which blades and spear points have traditionally been produced and which is often undertaken by contemporary archaeologists in order to gain understanding of the past.
From left: Louisa King’s Murray River triptych; Warlpa Thomson’s knapping artifacts; Sam Trubridge’s “Night Walk,” (frames added). Next: Mick Douglas’s “boot’s-eye view” of walking Country.
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The study and categorizing of knapped artifacts and their techniques of manufacture was a standard archaeological and anthropological practice throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Barkandji people traditionally used the technique, striking two hard siliceous stones against each other to cause flaking in one in order to produce a sharp edge or edges. Implements thus produced are often to be found associated with extant midden and fire-hearth sites found on Culpra, although the particular stone type used does not occur in the area and so would have been acquired via trade with other Aboriginal groups. With colonization, new materials (including the thick glass found at the base of bottles and the ceramic of electricity insulators) provided an analogous set of material qualities with which to work. Thompson’s work provides a commentary on the effect of colonization on Aboriginal techniques and approaches to technology, the innovation and adaptation of traditional techniques in response to changing and developing circumstances, and the need for the preservation of these techniques. Culture is recognized here as being a fluid concept – adapting and changing over time thereby absorbing new materials and techniques. For Thompson, “looking past the obvious allows us to see the beauty of the world and directly relates to the technique of knapping. Whilst knapping you have to see the object in the material and sing to the material to let it out – it tells you what it wants to be.” While this can be seen in essentialist terms, it is also possible to understand something of the material qualities of time through this work – the transmission and hybridization of technique through material collaboration. Perhaps indeed Warlpa’s piece is a song to time – certainly a mapping of such. Mick Douglas, a Melbourne-based design researcher, invites us into the rhythm and gait of walking Country, through a boot’seye view. Registering the constancy of interpretation, Douglas has noted the familial and generational relationship between Barry Pearce and his grandson, Nick, (and Nick’s growing relationship to his prized cowboy boots into which he is both growing into and out of). Throughout the workshop (and indeed whenever he can) Nick is figuratively and literally to be found in step with his grandfather as he traverses Country. In proposing that “perhaps we are always growing into Country,” Douglas attached video cameras to Nick’s boots as he walked behind Barry on Country, capturing a video work which speaks of the timeless rhythm of walking and its bodily connection to land but also to its generationality. As Barry walks slowly ahead, attention falls to the shadow he casts and the relationship of this through Country to the generation to come. And, finally, New Zealand artist Sam Trubridge extends the theme of walking Country with a performance work titled “Night Walk.” “Night Walk” maps the landscape through two parallel processes: dialogue with local communities and custodians of the land, and a negotiated passage through Country. In a performance work, Trubridge constructed a large, black, inflatable sphere from plastic-welded garbage bags which he seals himself in, walking the sphere across or through
a landscape. The sphere appears to the viewer to be selfpropelling, providing a spectacle of almost alien juxtaposition negotiating the black soil plain of Culpra – this juxtaposition engaging viewers in spectatorship and speculation whilst providing a commentary on traditionally social modes of walking. As the sphere passed across the rough prickly terrain of saltbush and tangled lignum, it gently and slowly deflated as it was shredded over the course of a one-kilometer traverse. Rather than building up a map as one traverses landscape, arguably distancing the cartographer from the landscape being mapped, in Trubridge’s work “the relationship between the act of mapping and that of being mapped is gently inverted, where the device used for mapping, in this case a makeshift inflatable, is gradually broken down by the very country it traverses” bringing the cartographer, Trubridge, ever closer to the landscape as medium as time is (momentarily) reversed. Closing a Circle For the Culpra Milli Aboriginal Corporation, the expectation was that the mapping outcomes produced would help to realign relationships with neighboring land management agencies and in particular the territorial relationships enacted through the existing maps which valorize ‘straight-line’ boundary conditions with little scope for collaboration or shared endeavor across these boundaries. The workshop afforded a space in which understandings of landscape might be transformed in ways that produced new understandings and relationships through individual projects. The selected works referenced in this essay establish the relationship between the making of the projects (the maps) and the material, both physical and cultural, from which they emerge. Inherent in this is an understanding that the concept of the map may also move beyond a fixed representation of ‘what is’ and subtly allow a shift to an understanding of ‘what might be’ through a collaborative and interpretive framework. Inasmuch as an engagement with ambiguity underpins this interpretive endeavor as demonstrated through these works, it is the engagement with time in non-linear, circular ways that lies at its core. The value of engaging with landscape on these terms lies in the notion of ‘what might be’ and its relationship to what might already be – the privileging of the potential for action in ways that demand taking time as well as an accounting for time. Perhaps, like Warlpa Thompson’s work, we are singing of time, to time, in time.
Three Kinds of Time in Ecological Science steward t.a. pickett Steward T.A. Pickett is a Distinguished Senior Scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, in Millbrook, New York. He has produced books on ecological heterogeneity, humans as components of ecosystems, conservation, bridging ecology and urban design, the philosophy of ecology, and linking ecology and ethics. Pickett served as President of the Ecological Society of America from 2011â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 2012, and sits on the boards of the American Institute of Biological Sciences and the City as Living Laboratory.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Time, which you can do nothing with. You can't liquefy it, put it in a jug and pour it out like rendered cheese. As it is like the dry snow of the high latitudes, you can't take it into your hands and mould it into snow balls to pelt against your own image in a looking glass.â&#x20AC;?1
ere is our basic question: what does time mean in ecological science? Or, more precisely, is time something outside the systems we study, or is time a part of those systems? This may seem like an odd question, given that classical sciences like mechanics are founded on an invariant and external temporal reference. But perhaps the warning embedded in the theory of relativity suggests a more nuanced examination of the nature of time in ecology. The answer to the question of whether time is a part of or apart from ecological systems seems important to ecological landscape design. There are three kinds of time in ecology: time as count, time as content, and time as a creation or consequence. The most familiar concept of time in ecology is the first one: an external reference in research. Many scientific papers in ecology include graphs of some characteristic plotted against time: the march of physiological activity over the course of a single year, or the growth of a bacterial population over a span of hours, or a spiky graph of catastrophic forest fires over several centuries. Invariant time serves as a reference for such studies. The second view of time emphasizes content; that is, understanding the processes that underlie those graphs of change over count time.2 Sometimes ecologists emphasize the processes by identifying phases or stages of the changes they are interested in.
The change in a forested area following one of those catastrophic fires might be divided into stages of colonization, canopy closure, competitive thinning within the developing stand, and a late phase where a few, large old trees dominate in a complex layered forest structure. Such stages of forest development don't have a fixed temporal duration. Rather the length of the stages relative to one another can depend upon how severe the initiating catastrophe was, or whether there are nearby sources of colonizing plants, or whether there are seed predators in the area. The phasing of events emphasizes the content of time, or, more provocatively, time as content. Of course, an external time reference or counter is useful for comparing the phasing of forest change in different regions or in different conservation settings. Phasing in processes is also recognized in studies of population growth. Growing populations of organisms have an initial lag phase, where the rate of growth is slow, followed by a rapid s-shaped growth phase, and finally, a phase where the growth slows while the numbers remain high. Different kinds of interactions predominate in those different phases. In this case, clearly an external temporal reference is used to calculate the rates of change in the different phases, but time here is only a measurement tool, and not a driver or cause. The changing density of the population and the consequently changing probability of interactions are the deeper ecological mechanisms.
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In these examples, what is of interest is the sequence of events, the changing mix of ecological interactions, and the alteration of system characteristics. Time in a sense, fades into the background, or exists as a calculation tool to expose rates and magnitudes of change that must be related to each other. Time as a counter helps expose the relative relationships of ecological processes and events. In other words, how the events are related to one another is what is important. Relating events to each other, and sometimes to very different kinds of events, or to events that arise elsewhere, exposes the mechanisms of ecological change. For example, there may be a somewhat irregular, long-term pattern of drought and high rainfall in a Mediterranean climate region such as that of Southern California. As the density of shrubs increases, so does the ability of fire to spread within the stand, creating a temporal threshold after which fire events may become larger and more intense. Time as content of events is important beyond the sorts of examples above. The temporal sequence of different kinds of events has its own pattern, and the scaling of interactions sets in motion other kinds of events.3 It is true that extreme events have an onset that can be marked on the calendar, but they are not a simple outcome of count time. They result from the interaction of ecological and climatic processes that each have their own temporal scaling, and it is the interaction of processes having such differently scaled patterns of occurrence that becomes a headline or a public crisis requiring intervention. Time as content introduces considerable complexity into ecological understanding. The fact that important ecological events and processes emerge from the relative temporal scaling of other processes alerts us to a significant way in which time expresses ecological outcomes. Events in the hereand-now may have been initiated by a process that ended long ago, or may reflect the legacy of past conditions. How severe the last fire was, long ago, may determine the availability of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;nurse logsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; that provide safe sites for establishment of new tree seedlings. Or how indigenous peoples managed wildlife may set the template for conservation sites that industrial societies have chosen to protect. Importantly, such conservation has often been done in ignorance of the active role of cultures that previously controlled management in the landscape. That
ignorance has often impaired contemporary management strategies, resulting in unexpected changes in the conserved lands. These are examples of untoward lags and legacies. Ecology has learned not to neglect the content of time in the form of inconspicuous legacies or slowly emerging lags. In parallel, management is learning the same thing. Three things have emerged from ecological science's encounter with time as described so far. First, time can be an external reference or counter. In this sense, time is a tool for calculation and comparison, but is not a driver of change. Second, time stands for the different scales of various processes and events. Such interacting sequences of processes are the content of ecological history and inform many ecological explanations. Third, researchers and those who apply the insights of ecology have come to expect episodic or long-term change to be ubiquitous in ecological systems. Time as counter and time as content have different uses and applications in ecology. What is the value of count time as an external reference? The astronomical periodicities the Earth experiences have provided multiple markers to which organisms respond. These include such things as the great cycles of advance and retreat of glaciers, the progression of seasons, and the nearly 26-hour cycles of the tides. When these periodicities interact with contrasts in temperature from equator to poles, or contrasts in altitude, sizes of land masses, and coarse-scale watersheds, they provide relatively persistent conditions to which organisms adapt or across which they migrate. These periodicities mark the largest rhythms to which evolution and biology march. Time, thus becomes embedded in the biology of organisms as response to reliable large scale signals, opportunities and constraints. Again, these can be arrayed according to the conventions of the clock and the calendar, but it is the aligning of biology with predictable, though periodic, conditions that is functionally significant. Time in ecology's second sense is more about the content of the processes that it signals than it is about an external marker. One example of the content of processes in time is the formal labels of seasons in moderate climates of the north temperate zones. Rather than four seasons defined by the two
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equinoxes alternating with the two solstices, ecologists have used as many as eight seasonal designations, each of which is characterized by a suite of ecological activities or differing degrees of dormancy and activity. Other biological regions might suggest a different number of seasons, such as the wet season/dry season alternation in the tropics. The significance of time as a signal appears when conditions change. The predictable changes of day length imposed by the orbital regularities of the Earth have been used by birds as a cue to annual migrations. The North Temperate arrival of birds returning from the tropics generally occurs when insects become active and abundant as spring advances. There is some ‘slop’ in this relationship, and reproductive success of different species and individuals varies with the degree to which their arrival coincides with the abundance of their insect larder in a particular year. The insect populations, in contrast, tend to be more responsive to local temperature, a signal which is not available to the birds as they begin their migratory trek. Day length is stable relative to climate change, whereas temperature in the northern spring is now shifting with global change. There are many examples of emerging disjunction between stable environmental signals and climate-dependent changes in resources or risk. Amitav Ghosh calls such disjunctions between what I have called time as count, and time as content of events, the "great derangement."4 The mismatch between the regularities of the clock in contrast to shifting cycles of planting and harvest, or exposure to changing risks of storm and flood, for example, can have extraordinary, and increasingly pressing consequences for both environment and people. The final kind of time in ecology is as a creation or consequence. Ecological creation of time is an important outcome of time as content in ecology. This idea emerges from a social science conception – the social creation of space. It can be reasonably said that ecological processes also create space. The concept of organisms as ecosystem engineers acknowledges this fact, as does the idea of niche creation by organisms.5 Organisms create external structures that facilitate their own resource capture, or promote their own behavioral repertoires, or boost their chances of survival. Some of these structures and processes incidentally facilitate the success of other organisms, while placing still other species at a disadvantage. One of the reasons that ecologists are so concerned with diversity is that the variety of organisms and the structures they create or the fluxes they modify in the environment are both major drivers and conspicuous responses to the creation of ecological space. But because the creation of spaces unfolds in time, and at different rates, it can equally well be said that ecological processes and the activities of organisms create time. To create time means that ecological entities and processes have different durations, different rates, or occur in variable sequences that have consequences for other processes and other organisms. The process of plant succession is one example. In succession, some of the early colonizers alter
the environment in ways that favor the colonization, growth, or reproduction of other species. The community changes as a result. But some early colonizers in fact deny resources or opportunities to other species, resulting in an inhibition of species turnover in the plant community. The original theory of succession posited a uniform process of sequential facilitation of later arriving species by earlier species. Now, however, the complexity of the process is better understood, and the existence of mechanisms and species that sometimes inhibit, sometimes facilitate, and sometimes are neutral to species turnover have been identified. In spite of the fact that succession can be parsed into phases that contrast significantly, the mechanisms that underlie such simplifications are actually a diverse collection of powerful events that can be arrayed differently over clock time.6 ‘Windows’ open and close over time based on the interaction of organisms with each other and with their environments. Natural disturbance, exemplified by some instances of wildfires, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes provides another example of the ecological creation of time. Disturbances in nature are events that disrupt the material structure of a system, with a consequent shift in resource availability and the environmental signals that exist in the newly disturbed site. Wind storms that blow down trees increase the availability of light on the forest floor, consequently altering temperature and humidity. Suppressed saplings that had been ‘idling’ in their growth beneath the closed canopy may be released, and new seedlings germinate in such places. Disturbances result from the interaction of the structure of an existing system, including any legacies embedded in its structure, and the potentially disruptive energy of storms, floods, and fires. Again, time is not the most important aspect of disturbance. Although time can help organize the data, and summarize how often various kinds of disturbances occur, what is ecologically important is the sequence of events, their connection to past legacies, and the creation or denial of space and conditions required by various species and processes. Clock or count time is thus not the driver of inevitable turnover, whereas ecologically created time is a consequence of the specific events and mechanisms of interaction among species and interactions between species and environment. Recognition of the specific mechanisms accompanies terms like ‘priority effects,’ coined in animal ecology studies, or ‘contingency,’ which was introduced in evolution to describe episodic turnover of species in the fossil record. Social scientists have their own terminology for the idiosyncratic yet meaningful order of events in the term ‘path dependency.’ The state of a system at a given time, whether it is a plant community, an animal assemblage, an evolutionary lineage, a city, or a neighborhood, depends not only on the contemporary or even the immediately prior state of the system, but reflects legacies from earlier states and even sometimes initial conditions in the deep past. Time is rendered meaningful in ecology by the sequence of interactions and events and the structures they generate. This is time as content and time as consequence.
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Change is the deep subject of contemporary ecology. Ecological change has come to be understood as a normal condition. Nearly 150 years ago, the founders of ecological science were at pains to explain the great global and regional regularities in the distribution of organisms. However, as research has accumulated longer runs of data about specific places, or has compared diverse long paleoecological records like pollen cores, a more dynamic view of ecological systems has emerged. Whether one takes change to be measured against an external clock, or to be assessed as the intersection and divergence of various ecological processes relative to one another, or to be the creation of opportunities, change is a consistent ecological fact. Data collected on a particular day, or in a particular season, or over a particular decade are merely snapshots compared to the virtually universal observation of change in ecological systems. Succession and disturbance, drought and spates, migration and local extinction, evolutionary adjustment and genetic constraint are phenomena that intertwine and punctuate each other. Change, and the interaction among different kinds of changes, is fundamental in ecological knowledge. Stasis is often an artifact of experience by individual people spanning a few decades, or notoriously short and imprecise human memory. Similar bias has also appeared in traditional ecological models that used stasis or equilibrium as a simplifying tactic. Both the technical and the personal biases have obscured the ubiquity of ecological change and its legacies. And, of course, there is the desire to exercise control over the material world, which invites a static view. Investment, insurance, and concepts of ecosystem services might better flourish in a static world. But those desires do not hold back the flow of processes and the punctuations of their interactions.
1 Jack B. Yeats, Ah Well, A Romance in Perpetuity and, And to You Also (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1974). 2 Steward T.A. Pickett, “Natural Processes” in M.J. Mac, et al. (eds), Status and Trends of the Nation’s Biological Resources (Washington DC: US Department of the Interior, US Geological Survey, 1998), 11–35. 3 Charles L. Redman & Ann P. Kinzig, “Resilience of Past Landscapes: Resilience Theory, Society, and the Longue Duree,” Conservation Ecology 7, no. 1 (2003). 4 Amitav Ghosh, The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016). 5 Blake Matthews, et al., “Under Niche Construction: An Operational Bridge between Ecology, Evolution, and Ecosystem Science,” Ecological Monographs 84 (2014): 245–63. 6 Scott J. Meiners, Mary L. Cadenasso & Steward T.A. Pickett, An Integrative Approach to Successional Dynamics: Tempo and Mode in Vegetation Change (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2015).
To reconsider the Jack Yeats quote that began this essay: what can you do with time? In ecology, time acts as a count or marker, as the content of unfolding ecological processes, or as the creation or closure of opportunity. These are different dimensions needed to understand change, which is a central focus of contemporary ecological science. Time, in the senses of content and consequence, is a part of ecological systems, not something external to them. So, there is a great deal to do with time in ecology. Time, in a multifaceted, complex sense, must be considered in any ecological study or application. Therefore, time as a complex should also be part of the toolkit of ecologically motivated design. At the least, the multidimensional conception ecological time reminds us that no landscape design that purports to be ecological can neglect time. That seems a very important thing to do with time. Previous: Drawings from the series “Mass in Time” by Katherine Jenkins (assistant professor of landscape architecture at Ohio State University). Jenkins used graphite, sediment, and charcoal dust on paper (26” x 40”) to depict geologic and biologic change over time at Marble Cliff limestone quarry in central Ohio.
Mark R. Eischeid C Mark R. Eischeid is a practicing artist and an Assistant Professor in Landscape Architecture at the University of Oregon. The Edinburgh Sky series was first shown in 2011 at Eischeid’s solo exhibition at the Star Gallery in Nagoya, Japan.
olor has a strong geographical and cultural relationship to place. Consider, for example, the white cliffs of Dover, England, or the blue-painted buildings of Jodhpur, India. Sometimes these color associations become formalized in names and nicknames for places: Yellowstone National Park (western USA), The Grey City (Aberdeen, Scotland), or The Emerald Isle (Ireland). The relationship between color and various urban landscapes around the world was extensively explored in Gareth Doherty’s 2010 edited volume Urbanisms of Color. The relationship between a single color and a particular place is also expressed in monochromatic paintings and prints. Frank Stella’s Delaware Crossing, Palmito Ranch, New Madrid, Island No. 10, Hampton Roads, and Sabine Pass paintings (1962) refer to both real and abstract places. Alighiero Boetti’s painted monochromes on cardboard and metal (1967–68) are in some cases labeled and titled according to a particular location (Grigio Dover, Bleu Cannes, Verde Ascot, Bianco Saratoga). However, the role of time in defining color is less established and more rarely expressed in monochromatic art. An early example of monochromatic artwork, Alphonse Allais’ humorously conceptualized monochromes in his Album Primo-Avrilesque (1897), capture very particular moments in time, such as the monochromatic red painting Récolte de la tomate par des cardinaux apoplectiques au bord de la Mer Rouge (Tomato harvesting by apoplectic cardinals on the shore of the Red Sea). More recently, On Kawara’s Today series (1966–2014) are daily paintings with hand-lettered dates on a monochromatic background, explicitly associating a date with a color. The Edinburgh Sky series (2011), shown opposite, was originally conceptualized as an attempt to document how the sky changes color over the course of one day. Photographs taken of the same part of the sky from the same location in the New Town in Edinburgh, Scotland were translated into screen-printed monochromes. Each monochrome was annotated with the city name, year, month, date, hour, and minute of the captured color; these annotations are provided as if they were part of Pantone or house paint color charts. The Edinburgh Sky series expresses various blues defined by both place and time. If color is partially situated in time, then it is possible that the color of the sky will change not only every hour and every minute, but also every second and every infinitesimal fraction thereof. The annotations on the screen-prints therefore describe only some of the temporal information associated with each blue. Time, along with place, may indeed define color in the landscape, but our ability to perceive differences in color from one infinitesimal moment in time to another is limited. There could be an infinite number of screen-prints expressing infinitesimally different blues within the span of a nanosecond. Originally intended as a simple exercise in documenting color change in the landscape, the project could only begin to express the full breadth of that color change, ultimately revealing the power of time in defining color.
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emma sheppard-simms Emma Sheppard-Simms is a Tasmanian landscape architect and writer with an interest in exploring the landscape dynamics of marginal urban spaces including cemeteries, post-industrial sites, and agricultural landscapes. She is currently working on a PhD at the University of Tasmania on the significance of island burial grounds as landscapes of memory and cultural trauma. Sheppard-Simms practices as a landscape architect at the Hobartbased firm Inspiring Place.
Design, Cultural Studies
n certain understandings of the world, time is seen as an arrow that flies a clear path from past to present and future.1 Similarly, human bodies are set in temporal and spatial motion from the moment of birth, arriving as fully-formed entities that move and interact with one another, projecting their thoughts and wills upon space in an agency that continues until the moment of their death. At the moment of burial or cremation, the body becomes merged with the cemetery landscape and life is transformed into eternal memory...or so it seems. Others say time doesn’t really stop. “Life goes on,” or so the saying goes. The corpse in its bed of soil is broken down and transformed by the invasion of insects, microbes, and bacteria. In the crematoria, molecules of heat and light and carbon and water produced by the burning body dissipate and find their way out to re-join the dust of the universe. At the gravesite, mourners come to remember their loved one, performing religious or personal rituals and leaving personal mementos. Eventually, the visitors stop coming and the plastic roses and small teddies fade to gray, the grave grows over with weeds, insects invade the cracks, soil erodes, and inscriptions weather away. While it is common in the Western Christian tradition to think of the cemetery as timeless—a sacred and static repository for human remains—this view is contradicted by a landscape that is continually changing; replicating, producing, and always in the process of becoming something else. By navigating the gaps between representation and ‘the real,’2 this paper discusses the evolving temporal expression of the ‘garden cemetery,’ from the timeless model advocated in the mid-19th century, to the cyclical and generative forms of cemetery design emerging today.
Richard Etlin has written about the frenzy of urban development that transformed Paris during the 18th century, whereby social institutions that “harbored disease and decay” were relocated from the center to the outskirts of the city as part of the aims of the scientific, secular, and progressive society.3 Such reforms established fundamental changes in the physical layout of the city, including the widespread closure of overcrowded churchyard burial grounds and the establishment of new, large cemetery landscapes. Influenced by the work of urban reformers such as J.C. Louden, the so-called garden cemetery was designed to enclose the disturbing presence of death—the corpse, odors of decomposition, and the chaos of multiple decaying bodies—within the neat trio of perimeter, grid, and grave.4 A new characteristic of the garden cemetery in 19th-century England was the notion of perpetual burial; the promise that the grave would remain in-place and be maintained indefinitely. This represented a significant change in the cemetery compared to previous churchyard burial grounds where most graves were reused.5 The new garden cemeteries allowed for permanence as they were much larger in size and often had available lands for future expansion.6 Thus, perpetual burial reassured the public that remains would not be disturbed by grave snatchers or opportunistic cemetery managers, but would remain in the grave in-place and be maintained indefinitely.7 In an increasingly secular society, the perpetual grave represented a suspension of time within the landscape, reflecting the growing significance of individualized memory preserved in a place set apart from the realm of the living.
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But while the garden cemetery has been designed as a reassuringly static landscape within a relentlessly moving world, this timeless image depends on the continuity between the represented landscape and its physical manifestation. In other words, the cemetery maintains its illusion of timeless serenity only when there is sufficient land for burial, continued money for maintenance, and separation between the cemetery and its urban setting. In many cities today there are severe shortages in burial space, rising costs of burial, and community resistance to cemetery expansion, challenges which have tipped the garden cemetery form into a state of crisis.8 It is in this paradoxical state—an ideologically static but constantly consuming landscape—that the garden cemetery is headed for collapse. Fortunately, with the development of new technologies and social demands for alternative modes of memorialization, new types of cemeteries are beginning to emerge. One response to declining burial space has been the development of high-rise cemeteries, commonly found in China, Japan, India, and Brazil, but also emerging as part of speculative design competitions in countries such as Norway, Canada, Italy, and Israel.9 High-rise cemeteries are characterized by a high interment capacity, which in many cases requires complex technological systems to facilitate access for mourners. At Shinjuku Ruriko-in Byakurenge-do in Japan for example, mourners swipe a smart card which triggers the electronic collection and placement of their loved one’s cremated remains within a memorial ‘kiosk,’ complete with digitally-labeled tombstone.10 Photos, personal mementos, and other ritualistic objects can then be integrated into this transitory memorial space, creating a personalized mourning experience. The iconography of the high rise combined with the symbolism of the cemetery provides a fascinating convergence of ideas. In one sense, the high-rise cemetery simply continues an established tradition of locating burial grounds on topographical high points in the landscape; from the tumuli burial mounds of Northern Europe to the Pyramids of Egypt, striving for the heavens in death has long been an architectural enterprise. Yet, since the 18th century, cemeteries have been hidden away, out of sight and out of mind, on the outskirts of cities. In contrast, the high-rise cemetery is situated at the center of the city, in a form that conflates the iconic power and triumph of contemporary capital with the burial/memorial setting. Within the high-rise cemetery, death once again becomes visible as a high point of the urban landscape; however, here it is also symbolically contained within an architectural spectacle of size, power, and permanence. As such, some high-rise cemeteries could be thought of as a type of immortality project, an expression of human mastery over death and a continuation of high modernity.11 Here, the removal of the corpse from the soil is also significant as it continues the tradition, initiated by the 19th-century practice of relocating burial grounds to the urban margins, of ‘disappearing’ the abject reminders of death and bodily decay. The high-rise form, together with its abstracted
networks of organization and management, strengthen the illusion of stasis and timelessness by hiding the multiple transformations of the body following death. In turn, the landscape and such unpredictable physical effects as weather, decay, erosion, plant growth, and climate are absent within the highly controlled space of memorialization. While the architects of high-rise cemeteries have pushed the notion of the timeless cemetery to the extreme, other designers have eschewed traditional cemetery practices altogether by turning their focus towards alternative methods of disposal of bodily remains. The Urban Death Project, led by architect Katrina Spade, proposes a new cemetery landscape involving ‘recomposition,’ essentially the controlled conversion of human remains into a humus-rich soil.12 In a reworking of the traditional mausoleum, Spade has designed a machinelike building that contains multiple bodies at various stages of recomposition whilst providing a ceremonial space for the process of interment. Within the building, bodies are placed into a compartment containing a mix of organic materials that allow decomposition to occur at an accelerated rate. The container is kept sealed within the building for approximately six to nine months, until the body has completed its transformation into soil. Relatives can then use the soil for a variety of memorial purposes, including the creation of a memorial garden. Spade’s idea is provocative, in part because it represents a decentralization of the cemetery landscape (and the idea of human memory) into potentially infinite memorial gardens. By making decomposition a central feature of the design, the focus also shifts from eternal memory to bodily impermanence. In combination with the architectural/landscape design, this creates opportunities for new rituals of mourning and memorialization. The various processes of mourning (from carrying and placement of the body, waiting for recomposition to occur, collection of the soil, to, finally, the creation of a garden) inform alternative modes of remembrance based upon the recognition of time and change rather than static notions of eternal memory. Also employing a generative approach, Columbia University’s DeathLAB proposes an urban cemetery that foregrounds decomposition and the gradual fading of memory by harnessing biomass. DeathLAB’s speculative project “Constellation Park” consists of an extended network of “individualized memorial vessels” suspended on a system of cables underneath Manhattan Bridge in New York City.13 Each vessel encases a decomposing human body which produces energy via a process of anaerobic microbial digestion.14 Within the vessels this energy is converted to light, which collectively illuminates the newly formed park space under the bridge, with individual vessels glowing and fading according to the stage of decomposition. When the decomposition has finished, a small amount of remains are made available to the family and the vessel reused, allowing for long-term sustainability of both the memorial illumination and the burial network.
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Above: Rendering of Urban Death Projectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recomposition building.
Constellation Park represents a major departure from conventional cemetery burial. From the relative safety of its speculative state, this project evokes a spectacular vision of the future to encourage community debate about our long-held expectations that the cemetery should be physically separated from the life of the city. The technological and design features of Constellation Park have recently been applied within the landscape of an existing Victorian cemetery as part of a collaborative residency between the Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol and researchers at DeathLAB. The awardwinning project “Sylvan Constellation,” represents the next step in a process of expanding the burial capacity of overcrowded garden cemeteries, via technological and design innovation. In contrast to brand new technological and architectural cemetery landscapes, the existing, overcrowded garden cemetery landscape provides a more difficult prospect for designers. It resists spatial change as it contains cultural meaning that is literally cemented in place by the burial infrastructure. Renewable tenure, or the recycling of graves, has increasingly been discussed as a means to provide additional burial space and to contribute to the long-term sustainability of the cemetery landscape.15 While renewable tenure appears to be a return to the model of grave reuse that was practiced in European churchyards, its management and practice in the contemporary, secular context is quite different. This is due to the greater size of cemetery landscapes, higher density of burials, and the continued cultural importance placed on individual memorialization in today’s society. This means that there needs to be careful consideration given to the processes around
1 Sean Carroll, “The Arrow of Time,” Engineering and Science, Winter (2010): 20–25. 2 ‘The real’ is understood here in the Lacanian sense, not as reality, but as that meaning which escapes the symbolic and which characterizes the chaos of human existence. 3 Richard A. Etlin, “Landscapes of Eternity,” Oppositions 8 (1977): 14–31. 4 Peter Johnson, “The Modern Cemetery: A Design for Life,” Social and Cultural Geography 9, no. 7 (2008): 777–90. 5 Emma Sheppard-Simms & Katrina Simon, “The Institution of Perpetual Memory: The Typology of the Cemetery and the Generative Potential of Renewable Tenure,” in P. Hogben and J. O’Callaghan (eds), Proceedings of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand: 32, Architecture, Institutions and Change (Sydney: SAHANZ,2015), 603–15. 6 Julie Rugg, “Defining the Place of Burial: What Makes a Cemetery a Cemetery?” Mortality 5, no. 3 (2000): 259–75. 7 Julie Rugg & Stephen Michael Hollan, “Respecting Corpses: The Ethics of Grave ReUse,” Mortality 22, no. 1 (2017): 1–14.
exhumation and what happens to human remains and monuments once the grave tenure expires.16 From an ontological perspective, renewable tenure instigates an important shift in the conceptualization of what happens to the body after death – from the certainty offered by the perpetual gravesite, to a foregrounding of the fragility and impermanence of the human body. The practice of renewable tenure moves toward a cyclical notion of time in the cemetery where bodily decay is necessarily followed by forgetting, disappearance, and, finally, renewal. However, renewable tenure remains a politically fraught option that continues to face community resistance when it is proposed in existing garden cemeteries.17 Despite continued resistance in the United Kingdom and its former colonies, renewable tenure is currently practiced in many countries throughout the world, including Europe, South America, and Asia, where graves can be recycled in as little as five years following burial.18 Perhaps less visibly, renewable tenure has also been practiced in instances of state burial, for example in collective paupers’ graves or “potters’ fields,” where there tends to be less political resistance to the reuse of graves.19 A notable example of this is Hart Island, located at the western end of Long Island Sound in New York City. Hart Island has a complex history and has been the site of many institutional land uses over time, including a prison camp, quarantine station, hospital, a missile base, and a boy’s reformatory.20 However, since 1868 the island has been used as a mass burial ground for over one million people – primarily
8 There have been multiple studies that discuss shortages in burial space in the American, UK, Australian, South African, Asian, and South American context. See, e.g., Carlton Basmajian & Christopher Coutts, “Planning for the Disposal of the Dead,” Journal of the American Planning Association 76, no. 3 (2010): 305-7; G. Bennett & P.J. Davies, “Urban Cemetery Planning and the Conflicting Role of Local and Regional Interests,” Land-use Policy 42 (2015): 450–59; Lily Kong, “No Places, New Places: Death and its Rituals in Urban Asia,” Urban Studies 49, no. 2 (2012): 415–33. 9 See, e.g., Moksha Tower in India, Memorial Necrópole Ecumênica III in Santos, Brazil, and Martin McSherry’s proposal for the Vertical Cemetery in Oslo. 10 Matthew Au, “Housing the Dead: A Lense through Local Densification Patterns,” Room One Thousand 4 (2016). 11 For work on immortality projects and the connection to questions of mortality, see Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death (New York: The Free Press, 1973). 12 Urban Death Project “Home” http://www. urbandeathproject.org/ (accessed July 26, 2017).
Above: Rendering of DeathLAB’s “Constellation Park.”
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stillborn babies and the poor of New York City.21 While part of the island was initially landscaped in the rural cemetery style with grids and gardens,22 today Hart Island presents as a sparse landscape where death and burial is characterized by efficiency rather than ornamentation. The bodies are enclosed in numbered pine coffins and placed in large, communal trenches which eventually contain 150 adults or 1,000 babies. Full trenches are filled in, marked by a single white post, and then left for at least 25 years, after which disinterment may legally occur.23 This process of continual, mass interment has resulted in disturbance to the ecological character of Hart Island, which varies from overgrown areas where there are no recent interments, to the starkly empty dirt fields where new trenches have been excavated.24 Personal memorialization is not permitted on the island and public access has been complicated by its management by the New York City Department of Correction, which pays inmates from the nearby prison on Riker’s Island to dig the trenches and perform burials and exhumations.25 However, as a result of a long-standing campaign for public awareness and access to Hart Island, supervised access is now permitted once per month.26 Landscape architects Ann Sharrock and Ian Fisher, in conjunction with artist and activist Melinda Hunt of the Hart Island Project, have proposed a strategy that re-establishes the ecological integrity of Hart Island, transforming it into a natural burial ground that opens up the potential for future use and public access. The strategy involves dividing the island into “successional vegetation blocks” that would be used for burial on 25-year rotations. The process begins a year prior to burial, with the removal of any existing vegetation and the planting of a flower meadow in the designated block. In contrast to eroded muddy fields, the flowers are intended as a mark of respect for the burial to come. The next stage is the digging of the trench followed by communal burial, after which the area is planted with long-term trees. Medium-term vegetation communities are regularly interplanted amongst the trees, reinstating habitat and biodiversity on the island. At the end of the 25 years, the vegetation is removed and the process begins again. Staggering the location and use of blocks avoids the largescale clearance of vegetation for new burial, while the varied planting cycles create complex communities of plants that could prepare the island as a future hybrid burial/memorial/ recreation landscape. In a sense, Sharrock and Fisher’s proposal for Hart Island provides a speculative test case for renewable tenure in the garden cemetery. In their vision for Hart Island the time–space relationship is conceived as both transient and cyclical, where different areas of the cemetery rise and fall depending on a programmed strategy of burial, planting, stasis, and renewal. The succession of plantings above the ground mirror the changes that are occurring under the ground; in effect, demonstrating the energy exchange between the bodies
and the plants above. This is quite different to how plants are usually used in a cemetery within formal and permanent memorial gardens. In contrast, in the Hart Island proposal the ‘gardens’ are deliberately transient and impermanent, loosely managed but not formally arranged. The modern cemetery was constructed on the promise of eternal memory that was built into the form and management of the monumental landscape. In such a space, time itself could be suspended through the belief that individual memory would endure forever in the perpetual grave. This timeless cemetery evokes a type of separation of self from the cycles of decay and dissolution that characterize the physicality of human existence, yet the specter of the neglected, overgrown cemetery has constantly returned to haunt us with its presence; its most recent manifestation found in the burial space crisis facing many modern cemeteries today. In response to the challenges of space and separation, contemporary designers have been exploring new expressions of the urban cemetery. While diverse in form and expression, what all of the discussed projects have in common is the reinterpretation of time and temporal experience within the cemetery, mediated through processes of burial, expression of the memorial, and the articulation of physical space. While rapidly evolving cemetery architecture and burial technologies offer insightful perspectives on the future diversity of landscapes of death, the renewable tenure cemetery offers perhaps the most hopeful way forward for the existing garden cemetery-incrisis. Through direct engagement with the existing challenges of the cemetery landscape, it may be possible to transform current expectations about permanence and control over our own bodies in search of truly sustainable and communal landscapes of death.
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13 Columbia University DeathLAB, “Constellation Park” http://deathlab.org/ constellation-park/ (accessed July 28, 2017). 14 Eric Kester, Making Light of Death,” Columbia Magazine, Spring (2016): 36–39. 15 Rugg & Hollan, “Respecting Corpses,” ibid. 16 There are few examples where renewable tenure has successfully been introduced into existing garden cemeteries. Exceptions include the City of London Cemetery and Dudley Park Cemetery in South Australia. 17 Rugg & Hollan, “Respecting Corpses,” ibid. 18 Ibid. 19 It is important to note here that while there may be less political resistance concerning renewable tenure in potters’ fields, there is a growing recognition of the social significance of such sites, for example Melinda Hunt’s ongoing work on the Hart Island Project and the recent presentation given by Graham Denyer Willis on the social significance of potters’ fields in São Paulo, Brazil (https:// anthropology.stanford.edu/events/ colloquium/potter-s-field-and-thanatofield). 20 Deborah Ann Buelow, Peripheral Memory: New York’s Forgotten Landscape, Unpublished Master’s Thesis (Department of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2010). 21 Nina Bernstein, “Unearthing the Secrets of New York’s Mass Graves,” The New York Times (May 15, 2016). 22 Melinda Hunt, Personal Communication (24 August 2017). 23 Jason Summerfield, “Comments on the Potter’s Field: The Future of Mass Graves,” Quinnipiac Probate Law Journal 28, no. 1 (2014): 32. 24 Ann Sharrock & Ian Fisher, “Hart IslandA New Cultural Dimension Through Ecological Recovery,” Paper presented at ECLAS Conference, September 11–14, 2016, Rapperswil, Switzerland. 25 Buelow, Peripheral Memory, ibid. 26 City of New York Department of Correction, “Hart Island,” http://www.nyc.gov/html/doc/ html/about/hart_island.shtml (accessed February 28, 2016).
Short term planting Medium term planting Long term planting
Left: Sharrock and Fisher's proposed landscape strategy for vegetation succession on burial blocks at Hart Island, NY.
FIRST IN T
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Casey Lance Brown is the research director at P-REX, an interdisciplinary think tank at MIT, and a 2011 fellow of the American Academy in Rome. Independently, Brown conducts long-term research on the geologic selection of land uses, securitization of borderlands, and the ramifying effects of land speculation. The large-format photographs that accompany these projects have been collected and exhibited globally, most recently at THE FENCE national exhibit in Atlanta, USA.
TECHNOLOGY, ASTROBIOLOGY, FUTUROLOGY
Previous: Space mining missions, 2014 to 2025. Above: Mining spacecraft, derived from renderings by Deep Space Industries, JAXA, and NASA.
n 1890, the US Census Bureau declared the western frontier to be closed. This conceptual closure was based solely on a threshold of population density (two persons per square mile) that had already been surpassed in the American West.1 Gold-rushers, homesteaders, and frontiersmen had staked claim to land plots from the plains to the West Coast, establishing San Francisco as the tenth largest city by 1870. Unsurprisingly, it is the technology pioneers of the San Francisco Bay Area that have opened the newest wave of frontier exploration – Mars expeditions, asteroid mining, and space tourism. One hundred and thirty years after the western frontier closed, the rush is on…again. While the aerospace engineering and technological wizardry required to launch these space forays are remarkably advanced, the conceptual and ideological motivations behind the initiatives are more antiquated. This newest wave of expeditionary zeal is rooted in the original frontier mindset of early America. Natural resource extraction drove the formation of the early American colonies and the subsequent westward expansion of the nation. Gold, silver, and a bounty of unknown precious materials drove American settlers and European explorers alike toward new frontiers at a pace limited solely by the wind- and animal-powered transportation technologies of the discovery era. Like an internet-era replica, the tech-industry entities involved in space exploration have expressed clear interest in mining as an early mission directive. Two companies—Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries— have exclusively focused on launching, fueling, and equipping the first foray into extra-terrestrial mining. In 2016, Planetary Resources secured funding from Luxembourg to help jumpstart asteroid mining missions as planned by its team of former NASA engineers. Deep Space Industries intends to build the earliest space gas stations and factories, supplying orbital fuels and materials for in-space manufacturing by tapping asteroids for metals and water. In addition to mining-focused companies, the desire to establish transport infrastructure to launch a space civilization and commercial space ventures is at the top of the modern tech-industrialists wish list: Jeff Bezos started Blue Origin, Paul Allen launched Vulcan Aerospace, Richard Branson
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founded Virgin Galactic, and Elon Musk formed SpaceX. Each company has major West Coast hubs and various space development strategies focused on transportation. The tech titans likely see clear parallels with the shipping moguls of the colonial era, as well as the railroad, coal, and oil barons of American industrial expansion. With fortunes built from the internet’s tentacled infrastructure, the industrialists of this generation are merely extending their infrastructural arms outside Earth’s atmosphere. However, this space-age manifest destiny retains an unstated subplot: to support actual, biotic explorers and tourists from Earth, the companies and their missions will have to find a supportive source of water. Water has the unique trifecta of properties of sustaining life processes, producing hydrogen for fuel and oxygen for respiration when broken down chemically, and serving as a vehicle propellant. Thus, water trapped in the moon, Mars, or asteroids would become like the fossil fuel of the galaxy. Investors have already begun to process this galactic investment opportunity. Goldman Sachs has issued research briefs broaching the subject while the United Arab Emirates has funded a new Space Research Centre – the first of its kind in the Middle East. Given the estimated supply of 25,000+ near-Earth asteroids, and potentially trillions of US dollars in mineral resources, there will be plenty to go around. The coming decade will witness a significant uptick in asteroid missions, data-informed extraction plans, and corporate jockeying for initial rights. In just a few years, the first returning asteroid missions are due, bringing data and material to populate the investment forecasts. Hayabusa-2, from Japan’s JAXA space agency, will return with samples from asteroid Ryugu in 2020 if the mission is successful. Meanwhile, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Mission plans to reach asteroid Bennu in 2018 and return with samples collected from nitrogen blasts in 2023. Next
up will be NASA’s Psyche mission, which is built to explore a nickel-iron asteroid between Mars and Jupiter (recently moved up to a 2022 launch with a 2026 asteroid arrival). Simultaneously, nations and international institutions are rushing to formulate a legal framework. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which prohibits national appropriation of space property, remains untested. Conveniently, the treaty may not legally apply to private entities. Its vague language will almost certainly need to be revamped. Already, a 2015 US law and a copycat law from Luxembourg attempt to reassert the rights of future private space claims.2 This nascent body of law emulates mineral rights laws that date back to at least Spanish colonial ordinances from the 16th century and even earlier medieval customs from Cornwall and Devonshire.3 Broadly stated, the mining claim laws hinge on the concept of prior appropriation—more commonly known as “first in time is first in line.” Prior appropriation ultimately formed much of the frontier’s jurisdictional basis, distributing water, land, and mineral rights to the first occupants of each area or resource. In a lockstep corollary, space mining companies want to extend those rights to extraterrestrial objects. If we want to avoid a repeat of the grab-bag of environmental destruction and resource conflicts that took place during westward expansion, nations and companies will have to form strategic and pre-emptive agreements. This is where groups like the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science come into play. Their scientists and engineers penned a tentative scheme to manage space resources, largely focused on Mars.4 Broadly stated, colonies would follow a “bounded first possession” model that limits claims to exclusive economic rights rather than a kind of squatter-based sovereignty. Further, mandated planetary parks will set aside some Martian land for research and unknown future
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uses. All entities will remain under the jurisdiction of their host nations, while a Mars secretariat comprised of representatives from each colony will manage communication and disputes. Such a distant, tentative bureaucracy will have to consider problematic precedents, like the all-too-easy violation of the UN’s Law of the Sea by territorial claims derived from artificial island formation in the South China Sea and bathymetric uncertainty in the Arctic. All this preliminary legal wrangling, focused primarily on resource development, stands apart from the most outspoken of the tech billionaires’ approaches. Elon Musk, in his forthright ambition to establish humans as a multi-planetary species, has initiated the first constitutional plans to establish this extraterrestrial society. In public statements, Musk described a direct democracy on Mars, where laws could be enacted with a 60% majority, repealed with a 40% vote, and would contain a sunset clause to automate legislative updating.5 While sensible enough as a governing framework, there is little to prevent Mars from adopting the privateer, monopolizing schemes that Earth experienced during colonization waves. For example, will the founding pioneer miners of Mars readily agree to incrementally debase their vote to later waves of Martian immigrants? This burgeoning utopian hope for a new start on Mars parallels the missionary plans of New World colonial powers and conceptions of westward expansion in early America. In the colonial era, a unique combination of religiously motivated European monarchies and powerful orders of Franciscan, Dominican, and Jesuit monks, inspired by philosophical tropes of enlightening the noble savage, coalesced to push a utopian agenda on the new lands. Their agenda drove resources and people to colonize a newly opened frontier with new forms of spatial governance.6 Frederick Jackson Turner’s frontier thesis, delivered soon after the Census declared the western US frontier closed, offers another version of the frontier approach. Turner described the cultural evolution that occurred across frontier space as a succession of dominant industries, evolving from fur trading pioneers to farmers to the full suite of professional trades and ownership systems that exist today. While not necessarily utopian in outlook, the Turnerian frontier is a positivistic realm that fostered new, democratic American systems through the frontier settlement process itself. Turner argued that the act of exploring, settling, and ultimately putting these new lands into production allowed the frontiersmen to shed older, hierarchical systems of European land ownership. It seems that Musk sees the Martian frontier similarly, as a kind of next stage for human civilization, launched from American shores but unburdened by its current political morass. Both historical approaches to the frontier discount the tremendous damage inflicted to the native populations and ecological resources in the colonized regions. Although Mars,
planetary moons, and asteroids may only have microbiological inhabitants to protect, we would do well to operate under the precautionary principle and attempt to do no harm, both to protect potential life, and to protect the discovery process and its fruits. One approach that could perhaps avoid some of the pitfalls of colonization would be to form an agreement that establishes robot colonies first. Tech billionaires could fund their robot avatars to conduct exploratory missions, assess resources, and perform experiments that have the lightest feasible footprint on environmental baselines. Naming rights would be theirs to command, but the frontier would remain squatter-free and unexploited for more advanced space colonies in the far future. Furthermore, robot colonies would allow us to collectively benefit from the technological advances derived from space exploration without bumbling into a galactic gold rush and its inherently damaging mining claims. With a co-evolving set of artificial intelligence (AI) protocols, we could safely test our mostadvanced AI as a proto-civilization. Each of the robot colonies could run a different civilization-testing simulation. By varying initial parameters for each robot colony, the simulations could simultaneously advance mineral extraction, interplanetary communication, space governance, and technology. Because these benefits are global in scale, governments should continue to both underwrite and restrain the acts of private companies in space. The Planetary Resources website notes that a single metal-rich asteroid could have more platinumgroup metals than have been ever extracted here on Earth. If the resource assessments confirm a vast supply of rare metals, the commodity economy here on Earth could collapse. Costs for products that depend on these rare materials, which includes everything from rechargeable batteries to wind turbines and lighting, would decline. Mining, and its knotty pollution problems, could be moved to asteroids. Land reserved for mining on Earth could be opened for less-destructive land uses. Alternatively, the techno-extractive approach could be subordinated to a biological dispersal imperative. Freeman Dyson, the physicist and generally subversive space theorist from the Institute of Advanced Study, has postulated that unforeseen biotech methods could enable the design of colonization “eggs” capable of spreading entire ecological communities in small packages throughout space.7 These Noah’s Ark seeds would evolve in unpredictable ways, spreading via asteroids, comets, and interstellar dust. Dyson argues this astrobiological approach takes dispersal advantage of the vast surface area of thousands of small objects rather than limiting it to the “planetary cage” of gravity from large masses. However, considering the recent discovery that flatworms returned from space with a tendency to produce two heads, Dyson’s approach would have to proceed with the understanding that space will fundamentally alter whatever we originate from this gravity-based, oxygenated atmosphere.
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There may be an operating space where the AI-robot colonies and the astrobiological seeding could work in tandem to extend complex life into space. The viability of space mining will ultimately fuel, oxygenate, and physically assemble the foundation of any future human colonies in space. For this reason, the legal and techno-scientific pathways used to establish the earliest claims must be very strategically crafted and sufficiently visionary to support future biological colonization. Historical versions of frontier colonization fostered a vicious cycle of exploitation, violent resource grabs, and toxic legacies of abandonment, despite their oft-utopian ambitions. To initiate a virtuous cycle, space mining and colonization efforts need to be properly vetted for unintended consequences and collective benefits, not just for private profitability. Towards this goal, a new space colonization directive might require dual functions for each mission to help form habitable life conditions and provide new technological means of travel and economic viability. None of these proposed checks and balances is meant to suppress the race for space colonization. Indeed, the endeavor is the next apparent advancement for our species and bears the promise of extensive technologies, biological advancements, and resources that will be useful here on Earth. Musk shows clear intent and resolve to retire on Mars.8 And if your idea of a solid retirement is braving a three- to six-month trek to a barren land in an exploding cylinder, where you must live underground to endure the raining radiation, unbreathable air, and unlivable temperatures, then mining-based frontier Mars colonization may be your ticket. I, for one, am more eager to let my asteroid robot avatar test that frontier first, to terraform and atmospherically design it into habitability. This techno-bio dilemma will remain an important chicken-and-egg question for decades. Should we first house our most advanced lifeform on other space objects, or should we pioneer new space with our most advanced, technological creations?
1 US Census Bureau, “Following the Frontier Line 1790–1890,” https://www.census.gov/dataviz/ visualizations/001/ (accessed June 22, 2017). 2 Jeff Foust, “New Law and Space Agency to Support Luxembourg’s Space Resources Ambitions,” SpaceNews (June 6, 2017), http:// spacenews.com/new-law-and-space-agencyto-support-luxembourgs-space-resourcesambitions/ (accessed June 22, 2017). 3 John C. Lacy. “The Historic Origins of the US Mining Law and Proposals for Change,” Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law 10, no. 1 (1995): 13–20. 4 Sara Bruhns & Jacob Haqq-Misra, “A Pragmatic Approach to Sovereignty on Mars,” Space Policy 38 (2016): 57–63. 5 Kurt Wagner, “Here’s How Government Will Work on Mars, According to Elon Musk,” Recode (June 3, 2016), http://www.recode. net/2016/6/3/11852148/elon-musk-marsgovernment-direct-democracy (accessed June 22, 2017). 6 Stelio Cro, The Noble Savage: Allegory of Freedom (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1990). 7 Freeman Dyson, “The Green Universe: A Vision,” The New York Review of Books (October 13, 2016), http://www.nybooks.com/ articles/2016/10/13/green-universe-a-vision/ (accessed June 22, 2017). 8 Elon Musk, “Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species,” New Space 5, no. 2 (2017): 46–61.
Erle C. Ellis
Time In Our Hands co-designing a better anthropocene
Fall 2018 $5
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Erle C. Ellis is Professor of Geography and Environmental Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where he teaches environmental science and landscape ecology. His research investigates the dynamic ecology of human landscapes from local to global scales toward informing sustainable stewardship of the biosphere. Ellis develops tools for global synthesis (GLOBE) and 3D mapping (Ecosynth) and is author of the recently released volume Anthropocene (2018) from the Oxford University Press Very Short Introduction series.
Geography, Environmental Science
new “great force of nature” is shifting Earth into a new interval of geological time, an “age of humans,” the Anthropocene.1 Global climate change, widespread pollution, mass extinction, and the loss and reshaping of natural habitats are just a few of the many indicators that human societies have gained the capacity to transform the functioning of an entire planet. For some, this time of unprecedented anthropogenic environmental change must be seen as a “rupture” in Earth history – a clean break from earlier times when human societies lived only within the limits of a natural Earth system which shaped them, and not ever the other way around.2 Others, including the stratigraphers of the Anthropocene Working Group, recognize the continuous nature of anthropogenic environmental change, yet still focus on defining a discrete boundary in time and rock to define the start of an Anthropocene epoch in the middle of the 20th century.3 Others look deeper in time, observing anthropogenic transformations of Earth’s biosphere, atmosphere, and climate caused by megafaunal extinctions, land clearing using fire, soil tillage and irrigation, domestications and species introductions facilitated by expanding trade networks, and other increasingly globalized social-ecological transformations that have produced the Earth and world systems of the current time.4
Recent anthropogenic changes in Earth’s environments are unprecedented in scale, rate, and intensity. Their impacts are harmful already and all but certain to increase over time, at least in coming decades. But there is nothing unprecedented about the coupling of human social change with human transformation of environments. There is no break in this human-environmental continuum. Human societies have always engineered their ecosystems. And across tens of millennia, human transformation of ecology has always been inherently social: socially learned and socially enacted. We have always lived within, reshaped, and adapted to environments already shaped by our ancestors. Unlike any other species, the human ecological niche, our way of living on Earth, is a sociocultural niche, constructed from the coevolving cultural, material, and ecological inheritances of countless generations across myriad societies interwoven into the fabric of human sociocultural diversity.5 The emergence of ever-larger scales of interconnected human societies and their unprecedented capacities to transform Earth are dual consequences of these longterm evolutionary processes. In the Anthropocene, environmental change is social change, and social change is cultural change. Though social change follows no simple directional timeline through the many regime shifts in societal functioning and environmental transformation (from intensive hunting of megafauna, to agriculture, urbanization, and industrialization), there is no rupture in this relation. Human societies have never been more capable of transforming Earth than they are right now. Yet these unprecedented sociocultural capacities cannot be understood or redirected without connecting them with their deep roots in millennia of sociocultural evolution in societies around the world.6 To break the timeline of Earth history into two parts around 1950 or even 5,000 years ago acts only to obscure the underlying processual and political realities of social-ecological change, which are inevitably continuous, heterogeneous, historically contingent, and evolving.7 Whether and when an “Anthropocene divide” in Earth history might eventually be negotiated among stratigraphers, the question that matters now is not when human societies changed Earth, but why, and whether human societies might yet shape a better Anthropocene than the one we are creating now. The Anthropocene paradigm puts time in our hands. Can this time be reshaped from a narrow crisis of despair and shrinking possibilities into an expansive future of hope and opportunity for both humanity and nonhuman natures? Engineering Time Left: “Earthrise” by NASA, with a nod to Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog (1969).
The Anthropocene was not designed. Nor was it built in a day. In clearing land, farming, and developing Earth to sustain our generations, no one set out to create a hotter,
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more polluted, less biodiverse planet. There is no cockpit on planet Earth, nor is there a five-year plan for the biosphere. Yet this planet is the way it is because our societies made it that way. We humans, as individuals and societies, reshaped this planet while we were busy making other plans. In reengineering the biosphere to sustain our billions, we created a monstrous flood of unintended consequences that now threatens to overwhelm us, together with the rest of life on Earth. In the words of Bruno Latour, "Dr. Frankenstein's crime was not that he invented a creature through some combination of hubris and high technology, but rather that he abandoned the creature to itself."8 The planet we have shaped and reshaped for generations is the only home we will ever know. There is no going back to an imagined time in which nature unaided might sustain us. It is time to move forward to nature, to embrace the used planet we’ve reshaped, and to guide its future toward better outcomes for both humanity and nonhuman nature. A better Anthropocene cannot be realized if societal energy systems cannot be transitioned beyond burning the biosphere – both fossil and living. Nor can a better Anthropocene emerge while species extinctions and habitat conversions continue at current rates. Too much of Earth’s ecological heritage, evolved through hundreds of millions of years, is being lost forever in ongoing efforts to reengineer the natural and the hybrid human-natural world to better sustain our societies. Without concerted and coordinated societal efforts to sustain the ecological treasures of evolutionary time, the Anthropocene will become an Eremocene, an age of loneliness.9 Our populations and livestock already form more than 90% of Earth’s terrestrial mammal biomass.10 Even while human societies still use less than half of Earth’s land for agriculture, forestry, settlements, and other human infrastructure, the land we’ve left unused is mostly unsuited to our use anyway. The steeper slopes of hills and mountains now form islands of remnant and recovering vegetation within seas of agriculture, settlements, and infrastructure in the more than three-quarters of Earth’s land we’ve transformed into anthrome mosaics, the working landscapes that service human populations.11 Only in Earth’s coldest, driest, and remotest regions do wildlands linger on. As Earth moves deeper into the Anthropocene, there is little time left to sustain and restore the nonhuman natures that came before us. It is time to disrupt the Anthropocene narrative of an everexpanding humanity presiding over an ever-declining nature. For too long, human infrastructures have been designed and engineered without concern for preserving, sustaining, and enriching nonhuman life and nonhuman habitats. As a result, these are becoming ever rarer and ever poorer. In pivoting towards the nonhuman world, ongoing efforts to improve the human world, to end poverty, violence, and massive inequality must not be foregone – they must be accelerated. Nevertheless, the time has come to reverse the reshaping of the biosphere
to serve us only. It is time to co-design landscapes and infrastructures that re-empower nature as designer in a hybrid human-natural world where humanity thrives together with nonhuman nature into the deep future. It is time to embrace our unprecedented social capacities to shape an entire planet towards co-designing Earth for the better. Better Halves As human populations stabilize, urbanize, interconnect, and grow ever more globally interdependent, the potential is emerging for a global social project to design, construct, and interconnect habitats at the scales needed to sustain the rest of life on Earth.12 Increasingly productive agricultural systems have produced more food per person every decade since the 1950s without a major increase in the global area of land cultivated for crops since the 1970s. Agricultural intensification and urbanization continue to enable societies to produce more with less, leaving behind huge areas of marginal lands in the process. With 15% of Earth’s land already protected and another 2% on the way, there are real prospects for going much further, toward a radical redesign of the biosphere to make the space needed to sustain nonhuman nature across the Anthropocene. Toward this end, E.O. Wilson’s Half-Earth and the Nature Needs Half project envision restoring and conserving half of land and sea to serve the needs of nonhuman nature.13 While these visions yet remain more aspirational than real and the obstacles to their realization are clearly daunting, their appeal to human aspirations for a better future are the most universal of any call for conservation in human history. But there is no simple plan for building a better biosphere. Radically expanding conservation could simply become the greatest green grab in history, imposed by elites on the less powerful.14 Sharing land equitably across ecoregions—many of which include Earth’s most productive and densely populated regions—will demand local, regional, and global trade-offs in land use that are hard even to imagine. Life is already hard enough for the billions struggling to meet their daily needs. Whose “half” will be conserved or restored? Where will lost agricultural production be made up? Who will win and who will lose in the great global land trade-off? Who will compensate whom? Any radical expansion of conservation must be more than a global land deal or a global property portfolio in the hands of a few powerful institutions. It must engage people broadly, personally, and powerfully—beyond the wealthy and technocratic conservation systems that now predominate—by embracing the diverse nature values and needs of societies and social groups around the world, from the bottom up.15 Multilevel, not top-down, modes of design and governance, defined by strong local and regional institutions, as well as novel forms of social collaboration among private and public stakeholders will be needed at all levels. The Convention on Biological Diversity, the Yellowstone to Yukon project, the Landscape Connectivity call to action of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and Europe’s Natura 2000 Programme are
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helping to pave the way, but social strategies and institutions for protection, conservation, restoration, and interconnection must continue to evolve and diversify if they are to serve the needs of all people and all species. In particular, dichotomous models of used lands versus protected areas must transition toward a continuum of integrated, multi-stakeholder, co-design strategies, from interconnected regional national parks and indigenous reserves to urban green spaces, prairie strips, hedgerows, wildlife bridges, dam removal projects, and experiments with conservation management. Diverse and creative co-design solutions will be essential to navigating the compromises that will make a shared planet valuable to people and viable for wildlife.16
1 Erle C. Ellis, Anthropocene: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018).
5 Ellis, ibid; K.N. Laland, et al., “The Extended Evolutionary Synthesis: Its Structure, Assumptions and Predictions,” Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 282 (2015).
To design, engineer, construct, and govern a planetary landscape capable of sustaining wild species in wild spaces across the Anthropocene demands a triple focus: production for human societies must be advanced together with protections for species and spaces, and the interface between these two must also function toward both ends. The anthropogenic biosphere is composed mostly of shared spaces – patchworks of remnant, recovering, and less-used habitats left embedded within our producing landscapes and connective infrastructures. Corridors of unbroken habitat, free of human pressures, must be designed, engineered, and constructed at scale to connect the largest protected areas with each other across continents. Protection and restoration can only work if they form continental webs of wildlife mobility that serve the large and the small, the slow and the fast, in the movements they must make to survive across the Anthropocene. Design with nature brought the natural world into design projects as functional and aesthetic elements and even as a partner in the design process. Design for nature has produced reserves, parks, wildlife corridors, restoration projects, and other critical spaces for nature. But what of nature as designer? Can nonhuman natures survive the time of humans? Can the human world be redesigned and reengineered to regenerate and sustain wild places free of ongoing human interventions and influences at the same time it provides better lives for humanity at increasing scales? Can the role of nature as designer be radically empowered and expanded within an increasingly human world? The client for a redesign of the biosphere ought to be the collective aspirations of humanity – and the rest of life on Earth. Humanity has emerged as a force of nature. In this age of humans, there is still time to make space for the nonhuman world in co-designing the landscapes of a better Anthropocene.
2 Clive Hamilton, “The Anthropocene as Rupture,” The Anthropocene Review 3 (2016): 93–106. 3 Jay Zalasiewicz, et al., “The Working Group on the Anthropocene: Summary of Evidence and Interim Recommendations,” Anthropocene 19 (2017): 55–60. 4 See, e.g., P.V. Kirch, “Archaeology and Global Change: The Holocene Record,” Annual Review of Environment and Resources 30 (2005): 409; Erle C. Ellis, “Ecology in an Anthropogenic Biosphere,” Ecological Monographs 85 (2015): 287–331; S.L. Lewis & M.A. Maslin, “Defining the Anthropocene” Nature 519 (2015): 171–80.
6 Ellis, ibid; Erle C. Ellis, et al., “Involve Social Scientists in Defining the Anthropocene,” Nature 540 (2016): 192–3. 7 A.M. Bauer & Erle C. Ellis. “The Anthropocene Divide: Obscuring Understanding of Socialenvironmental Change,” Current Anthropology (2018): in press. 8 Bruno Latour, “Love your monsters,” Breakthrough Journal 2 (2011): 21–28. 9 E.O. Wilson, Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life (Liveright, 2016). 10 V. Smil, “Harvesting the Biosphere: The Human Impact,” Population and Development Review 37 (2011): 613–36. 11 Erle C. Ellis, et al., “Anthropogenic Transformation of the Biomes, 1700 to 2000,” Global Ecology and Biogeography 19 (2010): 589–606. 12 Erle C. Ellis, “Nature for the People: Toward A Democratic Vision for the Biosphere,” Breakthrough Journal (2017): 15–25. 13 Wilson, “Half-Earth”; E. Dinerstein, et al., “An Ecoregion-based Approach to Protecting Half the Terrestrial Realm,” BioScience 67 (2017): 534–45. 14 J.M. Fairhead, et al., “Green Grabbing: A New Appropriation of Nature?” The Journal of Peasant Studies 39 (2012): 237–61. 15 B.S. Matulis, “The Economic Valuation of Nature: A Question of Justice?” Ecological Economics 104 (2014): 155; Ellis, “Nature for the People.” 16 See e.g., E.M. Bennett, “Changing the Agriculture and Environment Conversation,” Nature Ecology & Evolution 1 (2017): 0018.
in conversation with
kathryn gleason sonja dÜmpelmann christophe girot
+ The justification of the study of history is that you can’t adequately interpret the present and anticipate the future without understanding the past. Do you think this is true in the case of contemporary landscape architecture?
Landscape architecture has an ambiguous relationship to time. On the one hand, by virtue of its connections to the urban development industry, it is inherently futuristic and utopian in its outlook. On the other, landscape architecture’s veneration of place, and its deep memory of the paradisiacal, makes it simultaneously nostalgic. Suspended, as it were, between myths of the past and myths of the future, any landscape architectural work is also expected to absorb the contingency of the here and now. This stretched professional situation is reflected in long-standing pedagogical questions of the relevance and role of history in the field’s educational curricula. To broach this, LA+ posed three questions to landscape historians Kathryn Gleason (Professor of Landscape Architecture at Cornell University), Sonja Dümpelmann (Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design), and Christophe Girot (Professor and Chair of Landscape Architecture at the Architecture Department of ETH Zürich).
Kathryn Gleason: In my teaching and research, I see the temporality of landscape architectural design being less about past/present/future, or modern/traditional, and more about trajectories of different kinds of knowledge. For example, Roman hippodrome gardens might inspire more interesting ways to walk laps, but they have rarely been emulated since Pliny the Younger’s day. Roof gardens, on the other hand, have an exciting past, from detailed technical descriptions of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon to Tiberius’ use of them on the Palatine in Rome. After a lapse of two millennia, they have become important again, a trajectory akin to a stone skipping erratically across the water of time. More broadly, we see a more constant trajectory over three millennia of designed landscapes as expressions of economic or religious power, the control of natural processes, and as places for the curated collections for education of the citizenry. In seeing landscape architecture as a ‘new’ discipline, we see landscape design innovation on a short trajectory, rather than in longue durée as our sister disciplines do. Landscape is, as Anne Whiston Spirn has asserted, an ancient language. It is also a set of both intellectual and material practices we may interrogate towards innovation. Sonja Dümpelmann: If we lose our histories we lose ourselves. Analysis, interpretation, and criticism of contemporary landscape architecture would lack depth without historical understanding. The study of history offers explanations and insights that can help us better understand ourselves and others, our and others’ actions and inactions. It offers explanations for why a landscape looks the way it does, functions the way it does, is used the way it is used, is represented the way it is represented. The analysis and interpretation of historic evidence is fundamental in this endeavor, regardless of the age of the landscape and its design. Those who design and shape the land have a lot of power and therefore an ethical responsibility. By understanding how landscapes have been used in the past to subject or exclude people, we can inform the design and construction of more just and sustainable landscapes today and in the future. Without recognition of its history, landscape architecture would quite literally lose its grounding. Although beginning in the late 18th century, literati, philosophers,
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horticulturalists, art historians, and designers have written landscape histories from a variety of perspectives and with various goals in mind, landscape history—as I like to think of it today—is a relatively young field. I would offer the hypothesis that one of the reasons landscape architects have often appeared to struggle in the legitimization of their profession is that landscape history has, since the profession’s foundation in the latter half of the 19th century, had a lesser foothold in design schools than, for example, architectural history. A design profession that does not recognize that its history can best serve design if it is accepted for what it is—a distinct field of knowledge that requires skill and creativity and holds up a mirror to the profession— cannot have the necessary foundation to stand its ground and successfully provide human nature and culture with a dignified living environment. It falls back into ideologies serving self-fulfilling prophecies and market-driven developments rather than seeking truth in humanitarian ideals and values. Christophe Girot: Landscape architecture needs history in order to reiterate its bearings and affirm itself. Even a “design with nature” approach, has to work with some reference of the past. The reason for that is that landscape architecture does not only deal with nature, but also with temporal artifacts that can be extremely meaningful and useful to society. As explained in my book The Course of Landscape Architecture, we have inherited our concept of nature from the Greek, which defines it as an all-inclusive physical entity distinct from human society. If we accept this definition, then landscape architecture becomes the bridge between our present needs and some futures unforetold. Contemporary landscape architecture is no different than the many “contemporary” landscape architectures that we have already witnessed in the past. Societal tradition is based on layer upon layer of histories that are retold, reshaped, and reinterpreted. Neither history nor the present can ever help us pinpoint the future but, landscape architects can already sow the seeds in anticipation of a vision.
+ Many of the great historical works of landscape architecture resisted change (time), while today it would seem to be the opposite. Could you speak to this historical development?
Kathryn Gleason: I understand where you are going with this question and, in one sense, I agree that creating designs that anticipate change without tightly controlling the form of the outcome is a distinctive approach of landscape architecture in the late 20th and 21st centuries. SCAPE’s work with living reefs is a particularly exciting example. However, I think we need to position the question in the context of the Modern, which resisted time through an aesthetic of newness. I would hesitate to characterize design of the periods before 20th century Modernism in the same way. For example, when I first went to the American Academy in Rome, I was struck first by the clipped Quercus ilex trees, shaped in box and umbrella forms, but then, over time, by the gardener’s intimate knowledge of those trees as they grew and aged. I saw this knowledge in the larger landscape of Italy where trees are carefully managed through coppicing, pollarding, and other ancient practices. My own Modern design education had stressed a hands-off approach to the natural habit of the tree, even viewing it as ‘plant material.’ Many aspects of design for Modern living disengaged people from landscape practices. So to answer your question, I would argue that most design in the landscape in history seeks control of—or a kind of choreography with—natural processes across days and seasons, rather than resisting time, or even change, itself. If we look at the design that way, we can get past distinctions of formal versus informal and see innovations in each time period. Only since the 20th century have we thought that humans actually had the capacity to destroy nature, by any definition.
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So, successful, even clever, control of natural processes (both design and management), rather than fixed newness, might best respond to your question. For example, I excavated the maritime palace of Herod the Great, King of Judea (first century BCE), the foundations of which are still preserved on a low promontory battered by the waves of the Mediterranean Sea. We now understand that he carefully sited the building within a living vermatid reef, apparently knowing that the reef would absorb the impact of the waves rather than the outer walls of the building. Herod was known for defying nature and he did so through close assessment of site processes as he made changes in the landscape. This is different from simply wanting to create a building that would not change – he sought to create buildings and designed landscapes that would endure to change over time. This returns me to those living reefs by SCAPE. It is no coincidence that my assessment of Herod's environmental site strategies has developed alongside the emerging discourse on resiliency. If we critically assess how designers and inhabitants of the past confronted environmental change with varying degrees of effectiveness, we can thicken the authority of our discipline to create the changes needed to ensure the longevity of our cities and other sites. Sonja Dümpelmann: I believe that the most successful works of landscape architecture resist stasis and provide a strong framework within which change can occur. They enable different types of reception and use over time, and they change with time. Landscapes grow, they are altered, adjusted, adopted, and adapted. They are often redesigned, restored, or reconstructed. In the process they accommodate different societies and cultures, and different uses. Although many contemporary landscapes are designed with change in mind (reacting to current theories in ecology, to climate change, to the notion of sustainability, and catering to the neoliberal market), this is hardly a new idea. Earlier landscape designers also accommodated ideas of change in their work. My favorite examples are two circular, open-ended, and expandable prototypical designs by the Scottishborn landscape gardener John Claudius Loudon. In an increasingly industrializing and urbanizing Britain, Loudon realized that both large- and small-scale landscapes needed to accommodate change. His design for a Botanical Garden published in 1812 consisted of a pathway spiraling outwards from a central greenhouse. Amorphous beds for plants arranged according to Linnaeus’s system flanked the pathway. Spaces were left between the planting beds so that species discovered in the future could be integrated without changing the general design. Loudon’s 1829 diagram for London’s expansion entitled “Hints for Breathing Spaces” proposed a similar growth model, but for an entire metropolis. Alternating belts of open space and urban fabric were to accommodate the processes of urbanization while securing green open space. Christophe Girot: When the Danish landscape architect Carl Theodor Sørensen planted patches of acorns on the campus at Aarhus in the late 1920s, he had a clear vision of the oak grove to come. He would watch the young oaks grow and gradually single out the best specimens that would befit this vision. This careful attention to selection took time and patience, and by the time Sørensen died in 1979 the oaks he had left to grow on the campus were still far from having reached maturity. Forty years later the same oaks at Aarhus are still growing and will probably reach their full maturity within a hundred years. I am mentioning this as an example of a trend in controlled naturalism that has grown over the past century, where things imperceptible at first become more and more significant, valuable, and meaningful
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over time. The key to the success of this project is precisely due to the intensity of human care invested in the project, not so much in terms of maintenance, but rather in terms of devoted dedication to a vision. More recent developments point instead to a generalized absence of care due to maintenance cuts and to a pretense of ecology. Fallow land has become a model of sorts for the landscapes of a new age, where neither vision nor care over time find their place. To this recent trend and detachment towards nature, I can only answer that the day landscape architecture will abandon its sense of cultivation and dedication to the land, it will forget all about its culture and know-how, and will lose its voice, identity, and meaning irrevocably.
+ When the landscape architectural history of the early 21st century is written what do you think will be the dominant themes?
Kathryn Gleason: There will be the driving themes of information technology and digital representation as we engage with complex systems in the face of climate change. Computer technology is now driving the design process, whether in GIS, Grasshopper, or simulations. This plays out not only in new forms of representation but also in the way we work with our most ancient tools of plan, section, elevation, and model. Think about the ability to design from the air. Some, not all, humans have been able to design large landscapes, such as the Nazca lines, or cities and territories, without the aid of ancient astronauts; we can see such plans in stone and clay dating back to the third millennium BCE. And we have designed on base maps in our studios until the 21st century, assessing three-dimensional space through orthographic projections from measured drawings. Now, with Google Earth, and use of inexpensive drones paired with photography, students and practitioners can effectively design from the air while in the studio and test their results in virtual reality. Historians of representation will also note that designers of the land have always worked at multiple scales. For example, I am working on a large garden of the first century BCE in the heart of ancient Petra that culled moisture and rainfall from across a large watershed into channels for display as boating pools and waterfalls in this garden. However, to represent those scales, we have had to create separate documents. Digital tools now enable us to move fluidly between the scales in representation, as well as in our imaginations and intellects. This must profoundly change our work, and historians are likely to observe how these representational shifts have supported the emergence of the interdisciplinary teams required to manage the data and processes of this new age. Also notable will be the increasing emergence of a more representative range of people in designing their environment as landscape architects and other agents, after this final last painful gasp of the ancien regime. My ultimate hope is that, having seen the shift away from the tabula rasa mentality of the Modern age, historians will note that designers and planners finally acknowledged the Americas as an ancient inhabited landscape and confronted the difficult post-colonial challenges to designing on the long trajectory of indigenous landscape practices. Sonja DĂźmpelmann: This question requires not only to think about current landscapes and themes that one would imagine being written about at a later point of time, but also imagining the respective future cultures in which these histories would be told. So, in short, it appears as a more than difficult task! I would imagine conflicts and crises including climate change, and the challenges and failures of dealing with big environmental questions to be in the foreground. From todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s standpoint in the West, however, I think that one of the dominant themes could be the evolution of an increasingly global landscape culture and the reactions to the globalization of
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landscape. This involves the tensions between the creation of site-specific works and their identity politics on the one hand and the globalized culture and the wideranging ecological networks they sit within on the other. A question that could be tackled would be whether and how discussions about social and racial justice have shaped landscape architecture, and the role that capitalist development has played in the creation of new designed landscapes. I would hope that more parts of the world would feature in the histories of early 21st-century landscape architecture than has been the case in the past. Christophe Girot: Landscape architecture has always responded to different forms of human use and pleasure, and the early 21st century does not escape this fundamental rule. Current trends have been dominated by a strong return to the culture of ornament â&#x20AC;&#x201C; that of subtle naturalistic plant arrangements uprooted and placed in beds on rooftops and elevated walkways under the banner of ecology. Whether this trend actually responds to the dominant themes of our epoch remains to be seen, for there remains a strong discrepancy between the means deployed and the aims achieved. In other words, the gap between what landscape architects claim to be and what they actually do has never been so broad. Time will tell what really matters in the end, as with SĂ¸rensonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s campus in Aarhus, where deeply rooted oaks speak for themselves about the timeless value of nature decades after the fact.
The Consistency of Time
“Allegory of Vanity” by Antonio de Pereda (c. 1632–36) via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
p. 43: Image by Valerio Morabito, used with permission.
Editorial p. 4: “Meridian Laser and the Moon” by Will668, used under CC-BY-ND 2.0 license via flickr.
Performing Drawing in Time p. 44: Image by Naeem Shahrestani, used with permission. p. 46: Images by Bonan Chen, used with permission via authors. p. 47: Images by Chuyue Wu, used with permission via authors.
Prisoners of Time p. 6: Image by Naeem Shahrestani, used with permission, incorporating “Man in Pelvis Cloth Running At a Half-Mile Gait” (1887) by Eadweard Muybridge, public domain.
Phase Shift p. 50–51, 53: “Richard Serra’s Shift” by Gianfranco Gorgoni (1970–72), courtesy Richard Serra’s Studio, used with permission via author.
p. 8-9: Images by Naeem Shahrestani, used with permission.
p. 54–55: Original preparatory drawing of Shift by Richard Serra (c. 1970), courtesy Richard Serra’s Studio, used with permission via author.
p. 57: Rendering of Richard Serra’s Shift by Sofia Nikolaidou, used with permission.
p. 12: “Punching the Time Clock: One Year Performance 1980–1981” by Michael Shen, © Tehching Hsieh, courtesy Tehching Hsieh and Sean Kelly, New York, used with permission.
p. 58–59: Mapping of suburban encroachment on Shift site by Sofia Nikolaidou, used with permission.
p. 14–15: “Tehching Hsieh 1978-1999 Installation Plan” © Tehching Hsieh, courtesy Tehching Hsieh, used with permission.
p. 60–61: Richard Serra’s sculpture today (photographer unknown), courtesy author.
p. 19: “Life Image: One Year Performance 1981–1982” © Tehching Hsieh, courtesy Tehching Hsieh and Sean Kelly, New York, used with permission.
Territorializing Memory p. 20–21: “Can Tacó” by Aitor Estévez (2012), courtesy Estudio d’arquitectura Toni Gironés via authors. p. 23: “Caminito del Rey” by Duccio Malagamba (2015), courtesy Luis Machuca Arquitectos via authors. p. 24–25: “Anaña” by, and courtesy of, Landa-Ochandiano Architects (2008) via authors. p. 26–27: “Banyoles” by, and courtesy of, MiAS Architects (2012) via authors.
Designing Dialectical Landscape p. 28–29: Images of Turtle Creek Waterworks by Julie Bargmann, courtesy D.I.R.T. Studio, used with permission.
p. 62: “Real Fake Art 11” by Michael Wolf, used with permission via author. p. 65: "Horned Larks (Eremophila alpestris pratensis), collected between 1904 and 1966. The Field Museum, Chicago,” by Carl Fuldner & Shane DuBay, used with permission via author. p. 67: Woodblock print image by Daniel Chodowiecki (1726–1801), public domain.
Time, Trains, and Truth p. 68–69: “Imaginary Object No. 3” (2007) by Daniel Crooks, used with permission. p. 70–71: “Train No. 1” (2002–13) by Daniel Crooks, used with permission. p. 72–73: “A Garden of Parallel Paths” (2012) and “An Embroidery of Voids” (2013) by Daniel Crooks, used with permission. p. 74–75: “Static No. 12 (Seek Stillness in Movement)” (2010), by Daniel Crooks, used with permission.
p. 31: Fungi in Thilo Folkerts and Rodney LaTourelle’s Jardin de la Connaissance, Quebec, photographer unknown.
p. 77: “Truths Unveiled by Time No. 3” (2014), by Daniel Crooks, used with permission.
p. 35: Decaying books in Thilo Folkerts and Rodney LaTourelle’s Jardin de la Connaissance, Quebec, courtesy Thilo Folkerts and Rodney LaTourelle via author.
The Circle of Time p. 78: Image by Sofia Nikolaidou, used with permission.
Time for Time p. 36: Cover of one of Humphry Repton’s Red Books, courtesy of the Anne and Jerome Fisher Fine Arts Library, University of Pennsylvania.. p. 38–39: Interior images of one of Humphry Repton’s Red Books, courtesy of the Anne and Jerome Fisher Fine Arts Library, University of Pennsylvania. p. 40: “Second Nature” (2014) by Hannah Schubert, used with permission via author.
p. 80–81: “Murray River Triptych” by Louisa King; “Knapping Artifacts” by Warlpa Thomson; “Night Walk” by Sam Trubridge’s, used with permission via author (frames added). p. 82: “Walking Country” by Mick Douglas, used with permission via author (frame added).
Three Kinds of Time in Ecological Science p. 86–87: “Mass in Time” by Katherine Jenkins, used with permission.
Color = Space + Time p. 91: “Edinburgh Sky Series” by Mark Eischeid, used with permission.
The Time and Space to Die p. 92: Germain Pilon, Statue of Death (16th c.), Cemetery of the Holy Innocents, Paris, public domain. p. 95: “Recomposition” by Urban Death Project, courtesy Katrina Spade, used with permission via author. p. 96–97: “Constellation Park” by Death LAB, courtesy Columbia University and DeathLAB, used with permission via author. p. 99: “Hart Island Landscape Strategy” by Ann Sharrock and Ian Fisher, used with permission via author.
First in Time/First in Line p. 100–101: “Space Mining Missions” by Casey Brown, used with permission. p. 102–103: “Mining Spacecraft” by Casey Brown derived from renderings by Deep Space Industries, NASA, and JAXA, used with permission. p. 105: Image by Sofia Nikolaidou, used with permission.
Time in Our Hands p. 106: “Earthrise” by NASA, public domain, with a nod to Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog (1969).
The Timekeepers p. 110: Image by Victor Tsu, used under CC BY 2.0 license via flickr.com. p. 115: Image by Colin Curley, used with permission.
IN THE NEXT ISSUE OF From the stone blade and the fire stick to the latest algorithm or genetic code, we shape our world through the act of design. With its roots in the renaissance notion of disegno, design is the ability not only to make something, but also to conceive of its invention and reflect on its meaning. Whether we valorize it as the democratization of design or critique it as the perversion of the commodity fetish, designed things are now ubiquitous. Not only things, but entire systems must now be designed and objects reconceived and redesigned as mere moments in unfathomably complex ecological flows. The planet itself, and even space beyond, is now presented as a design problem. How does landscape architecture relate, and what does it bring, to the broader culture of design? What lessons can be learned from other disciplines at the cutting edge of design? What role does design play in a time of transformative technological change? In LA+ design we move beyond the designed outcome to explore the myths, methods, meanings, and futures of design.
thomas jacobsen craig bremner + paul rodgers adrian bejan keith murphy colleen macklin winy maas javier arpa paola antonelli daniel pittman andrĂ&#x2030;s jaque COLIN CURLEY lizzie yarina + claudia bode james corner Richard Weller anthony dunne + fiona raby CHRISTOPHER MARCINCOSKI david salomon jenni zell thomas oles
OUT spring 2019
wild spring 2015
pleasure fall 2015
tyranny spring 2016
IDENTITY SPRING 2017
RISK FALL 2017
SIMULATION FALL 2016
Interdisciplinary Journal of Landscape Architecture
TIME fall 2018
imagination Spring 2018
DESIGN SPRING 2019
ICONOCLAST FALL 2019
LA+ (Landscape Architecture Plus) from the University of Pennsylvania School of Design
is the first truly interdisciplinary journal of landscape architecture. Within its pages you will hear not only from designers, but also from historians, artists, philosophers, psychologists, geographers, sociologists, planners, scientists, and others. Our aim is to reveal connections and build collaborations between landscape architecture and other disciplines by exploring each issueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s theme from multiple perspectives.
LA+ brings you a rich collection of contemporary thinkers and designers in two issues each year. To subscribe follow the links at www.laplusjournal.com.
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