How to look at landscapes? is an experimental research
project focussing on the impact of wilderness and
computer culture on identity and vice versa
Our relationship to spaces shape our perspective and identity – and vice versa. To experience a landscape is always an intervention. Landscapes are complex parts of our cultural systems, they hold memories, meanings, and they are not untouched by change.
A landscape does not need to be wilderness, it can even be an online space. How to look at landscapes? asks the question how we situate ourselves in our surroundings.
The conceptual approach of the presented research is to provide a rhizome-like assemblage of informations, artistic positions, sources and data-sets, highlighting the intersection of the different academic fields. This approach aims to give some sovereignty back to the reader to discover their own interest in the question.
What is a landscape?
As a landscape the research project understands a space or collection
of connected spaces. The lowest common denominator is that all these spaces are navigated in some form or another by human entities or are at least prospectively able to be navigated. This could be a room, a house, a forest, a website, some computer directory, an AR-Simulation, a planet, a foucauldian heterotopia. Further, these landscapes inevitably become spaces of negotiation of social and cultural capital (for the lack of a better term.) Landscapes don´t need to have fixed or defined borders. What does looking imply?
Looking or even gazing has two interwoven components who need to be addressed critically.
The first one is the position of the looking entity.
To look/capture/receive something, someone or something needs to be positioned towards the looked/captured. This act of positioning is always a balance of interfering – how much (abstract and literal) distance is between the looking and the looked-at? For example, there is a difference to look at a landscape through a binocular, a satellite, to go in and wander around, a drone, taking a 3D-scan.
Similar, this is also about the professional distance between researcher and research topic. To understand a landscape we need to visit it, but in visiting a landscape we will leave a trace.
Secondly, looking also implies visualization.
A visualization is always a (didactical) simplification of data.
There is no looking without a focus and therefore something unfocussed left out. This might be sometimes just a matter of material: a photo is 2D, a scan 3D. But holds a negotiation of power. What is shown? What is left out? And who decides? A simple example is how mapping was/is used as a colonial, imperialistic tool. Which, in that cases, also holds the possibility of deconstruction and reclaiming – the practice of counter mapping.
by Kaeur Studio