zaterdag 9 oktober 2010

The n'th landscape

...collecting nettles and quickleaf from the wasteland for the first infosoup
The edible city movement, if that is what it is, with their g-map applications and obscure herb recipes, gives us much to think about. At the moment I can think of only one attempt to create a theory for the edible city effort.

Listen to Wietske Maas and Matteo Pasquinelli (The City Devouring Itself: Urbanibalism in Times Insurgent Communes and Biopolitical Sieges):
The scenario of war, more than a well-regulated city ecology, forces a recognition of the overlooked nature across the urban landscape. This space is what the gardener Gilles Clément refers to as the third landscape, a ‘residue’ full of biological potential that grows between the first landscape of nature and the second landscape of man. Clement never uses the term ‘ecology’ as he prefers to stress the autonomous power of the neglected and uncultivated spaces of the environment. Yet not even in a global megalopolis is the dominion of concrete absolute. A recent example of metropolitan resistance — guerrilla gardening and seed bombing — shows how cities are not an ecosystem apart but a terrain still permeable to ‘involuntary’ vegetation.
That is spot on, though, without wanting to sound like a total dick, given that this third landscape stands between the landscapes of nature and man, it is a misnomer. The one-and-a-half landscape, the 1.1 to 1.9 landscape, the 1.01 to 1.99 landscape, would all be a better names. 

Garden joke (Ha!Ha!) by Gilles Clement
The point however I think is not that the existence of these 'mezzanine landscape', to coin another name, had remained undetected, (go ask a gardener about weed) but that they are not longer regarded as something purely negative, as a blight to be destroyed. Suddenly the 1plus-2minus landscape has become a giving landscape. This brings us back to the earlier observation that for hunter-gatherers "the land around them is their spiritual home and the source of all good things. This view is the direct antithesis of the Western Judeo-Christian perspective on the natural environment as a "wilderness"." The western distinction between man and god is a stranger to the forager as well, they do not have gods but tricksters, beings who stand somewhere between being fully human and fully divine, a being who is cunning and sly and devious but at the same time someone who teaches and has a good sense of humour; consider the Curupira

It's a foraged dish but I would prefer it deep-fried

A g-search on 'third landscape' quickly leads into another term: drosscape coined by Michael Berger and which offers an typology based on earlier work by Lars Lerup (who I met once, his book I have sold to my 2nd hand dealer). Quoting Frieze Magazine:
Drosscape’s greatest contribution lies in its speculative taxonomy of the wasted and the wasteful. Berger classifies drosscape sites into
Landscapes of dwelling  (LODs – voids of land in housing developments), 
Landscapes of transition (LOTs – temporary storage facilities),
Landscapes of infrastructure (LINs – transportation rights of way), 
Landscapes of obsolescence (LOOs – junkyards and landfills), 
Landscapes of exchange (LEXs – abandoned malls) 
 Landscapes of contamination (LOCOs – military bases and other brown fields).   

Sounds ok to me, up to a point because of course ends up by thinking about this landscapes as problematic areas in need of a fix. Can I stress that the Cryptoforest is not another urban design typology but an ethical proposition and that the cryptoforest is fine as it is and that the cryptoforester does not want to DO, let alone IMPROVE, anything. 

We are the first generation that will be judged by its waste rather than by its art.

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