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Post-landscape or the potential of other relations with the land

Post-landscape or the potential of other relations with the land

Wall, Ed (2017) Post-landscape or the potential of other relations with the land. In: Wall, Ed and Waterman, Tim, (eds.) Landscape and Agency: Critical Essays. Routledge, pp. 144-163. ISBN 978-1138125575 (doi:

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Have we reached a post-landscape condition? Have prevailing visual relations between people and land, exemplified by English traditions of pictorial settings, individual perspectives and enclosed properties, reached a conclusion? Has a particular frame of landscape, which Denis Cosgrove describes as a ‘way of seeing’ (1985, 45), come to a close? Conceptions of landscape, that emerged in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century England and that have continued to be reinforced through contemporary architectural representations and designed transformations, package landscapes as scenic backgrounds and frame tracts of land as spatial products. While referring to these dominant relationships with the land, Barbara Bender reminds us that there are many other ways of conceiving of landscapes: ‘when the word “landscape” was coined and used to its most powerful effect, there were, at the same time and the same place, other ways of understanding and relating to the land – other landscapes’ (1993, 2). What she describes as contrasting, and often contradictory, constructs of landscape, defined through individual and societal relations with our environments, have grown and receded in relevance. Landscapes are defined through specific economic, social and spatial contexts. So while dominant pictorial ideas of landscape may endure for some people in countries influenced by Anglo-Saxon traditions, other landscapes are configured through contrasting material, ecological, cultural and symbolic relationships with land. In this chapter I explore two inseparable contemporary London landscapes, Paternoster Square and the Occupy London Stock Exchange (LSX). I question a continuation of these English landscape traditions that embrace: predominantly visual approaches; scenes considered from static positions; and singular perspectives framed as representations and urban spaces, enclosed and transformed through design. Raymond Williams proposes:

It is possible and useful to trace the internal histories of landscape painting, landscape writing, landscape gardening and landscape architecture, but in any final analysis we must relate these histories to the common history of a land and its society. And if we are to understand changes in English attitudes to landscape, in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, this is especially necessary. (Williams, 1973, 120)

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Chapter 11.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Post-landscape, Landscape, Landscape architecture, Capitalism, Post-capitalism, Art, Architecture
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Design (DES)
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > Digital Arts, Research & Enterprise (DARE)
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Last Modified: 02 Nov 2021 23:01

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