The Suffocating Embrace of Landscape and the Picturesque Conditioning of Ecology
MetadataShow full item record
CitationEllison, Aaron M. 2013. The suffocating embrace of landscape and the picturesque conditioning of ecology. Landscape Journal 32, no. 1: 79-94.
AbstractWhat are natural landscapes? Are they “out there,” separate from people, or are they creations of our own perception? An exploration of artistic visions of landscape on the one hand and the development of ecology as a self-conscious science on the other suggests that for nearly 150 years ecology has been conditioned by romantic, picturesque portrayals of landscape. Landscape (as landscab) originally implied people living within and shaping a capricious nature, but rapidly evolved to landtskip: natural scenery reflecting a balance of nature viewed from the outside. Despite repeated scientific demonstrations of the lack of ecological balance at any time now or in the past, ecologists (and most other people) persist in clinging to a romantic conception of landscape with nature in balance. An explicit analogy between Fernand Léger’s 1959 lithograph La Ville—Le Viaduc and an old-growth Douglas fir/Western red cedar forest suggests that Modernist or Postmodernist visions of landscape may be more realistic visual representations of nature. To reframe and reconfigure ecology and environmental stewardship to better reflect current understanding of how nature—including people—“works,” contemporary landscape artists must engage with ecologists, environmental scientists, landscape architects, and the broader public to redefine the nature of nature.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:11315411
- FAS Scholarly Articles