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FAH 377 Lecture 1.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Pam Wolff

FAH 377 Lecture 1 Dilemmas of nature and Culture: Landscape architecture since 1850 Jane Wolff, associate professor, UC F207 Landscape architect, interpretation of complex landscapes and their audiences  Defining the landscape, what is a landscape? o Painting/photography that depicts scenery o A patch of cultivated ground o The image of that ground o Geographic landscape inhabited by an ecosystem o Landscapes = built artifacts of culture o In the last 30 years, there have been reactions against a neutral observation of landscape, along with new definitions of the word  Discussed as texts and veils of large abstract communal interactions o Notion of fixed meaning has given away to questions of interpretation o Strong interest in phenomenological qualities of landscape(places of experience, etc.) o Within architecture, landscape is a medium of design  A series of systems, natural and synthetic  We make changes in order to achieve particular ends/ambitions  Cultural products and places beyond cultural control  Dilemma o A state of indecision with two alternatives o The choices tend to be mutually exclusive o Two states that exist counteractively and require a conciliation between each other  Nature/Culture o Words full of complexity and ambiguity o A primitive state of existence untouched and uninfluenced by civilization and social limitations o In landscape, these two are impossible to separate and need to be considered together o Nature never exists as an external reality without people o Every landscape in the world has been touched by culture (climate change, etc.) o Nature is an idea that comes from the presence of culture, but is a separate thing defined by being “not culture”, although they are heavily interconnected (same with vice versa) o Talking about the grey area in between the two, where they interact  Landscape architecture o About managing the interplay between nature and the built environment  What do built projects say about the tension between nature and culture?  North America o Deeply defined by landscape and economic/political realities o We valorize the landscape and ruthlessly exploit it o Th
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