This is a site about the philosophy of landscapes. If you like landscapes and thinking about why you like landscapes, then you will feel at home here. We are bombarded by landscape images everyday, commercial or otherwise, but how often do we stop to think about the meaning of these landscape images? The content of my writing is driven by my research in the phenomenology of landscapes. The topics of interest may range from landscape painting, to Romanticism, the meaning of nature, landscape aesthetics, place making, nostalgia, sacredness, spirituality, humanity, existentialism…
Landscapes mean a lot to me. Even at a young age, I had been intrigued by the “magic” of landscapes. For better or for worse, this enchantment led me to a career in landscape architecture. As the years went by sitting in front of Outlook, AutoCAD, Photoshop (and the occasional sketch paper, site visits, meetings, etc.), I began to wonder how many of us literally and figuratively “stop to smell the roses” (or whatever plant we prefer to specify in a planting list). That was when I decided to do a PhD on the phenomenology of poignant landscapes. As I delved deeper into theory and thought, I began to feel that I was speaking a different “language” than my landscape architecture peers. This blog was born in an attempt to bridge the two languages, making my thoughts more accessible to non-academics. Its other purpose is to help me practice writing continuously, a task that surprisingly troubles many grad students including myself. So if I begin to slack off, feel free to give me a nudge in the comments!
As much as I would like to encourage the landscape architecture profession to (re?)embrace the philosophy behind landscape-making, first and foremost, the driving force of my studies is really a spiritual journey to discover more about myself. Not only that, I believe that landscapes have historically always been a vehicle for revelation of humanity’s relationship with the material and spiritual worlds. Whether you are here by accident, here as a landscape professional or enthusiast, or here because you are an acquaintance of mine, thank you for your stay, and please feel free to join the discussion as we can all relate to landscapes.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert in art history, philosophy, aesthetics, etc. Sometimes landscape architects are considered “jack-of-all-trades,” knowing enough to put things together to create something else. I like to think of my dabbles in multiple disciplines as the same. Footnotes for citations are provided in posts when appropriate. Most of the posts here are edited versions of (non-published) things I have already written for academic purposes. Published or presented material will be noted.
Acknowledgements: My academic research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.