In musing about the purpose of art in public space (and particularly in ‘landscape’), I’m struck at how terminology that was once used as a generic term for a multiplicity of approaches has become detached from its anchor and now floats about lazily with the current…..I’m thinking here of engagement in the sense of ‘artworks engage people with places’.
I've recently been looking at Current Maps from the Marshall Islands and got interested in the way that these are not maps in the sense we understand but are rather very personal mnemonics made by individual families that aid the navigator in finding their location through picturing the interference patterns of waves created by different coastlines.
Researching around the topic I found these two references that are helping me reconnect my own personal anchor to engagement:
'In all of us is some remnant of an ability to understand relationships of physical space to survival and the evolution of stable community life. In admiring the mapping of aboriginal cultures, the goal is not to copy others, but to rediscover in ourselves a genetic memory of ancient skills.'
Doug Aberley ‘Bio-Regional Mapping’
'We learn a landscape finally by not knowing the name or identity of everything in it, but by perceiving the relationships in it--like that between the sparrow and the twig. The difference between the relationships and the elements is the same as that between written history and a catalogue of events.The interior landscape responds to the character and subtlety of an exterior landscape; the shape of the individual mind is affected by land as it is by genes.'
Barry Lopez – ‘Landscape and Narrative’
Some images from the landscape around New Luce, where I am currently developing work.