exploratory project (week 3): landscape, gender and perspective.

(experiment 1) following or breaking rules of movement: adverse weather conditions and a lot of snow had me walking down the middle of the road yesterday which is usually out of bounds. this seemed to connect with some ideas i have been thinking about relating to landscape, movement and gender. landscape has a prescribed movement – in urban spaces we walk on the footpath, stay out of peoples gardens, give people space to pass etc. also in the open countryside we follow unwritten rules; stay on marked tracks, follow arrows in different directions, heed signs to keep out, keep left etc. (on another slightly related note, i saw a programme ‘the push’ which did an experiment on social compliance where individuals took their cues for others in how they behaved)… anyway this is a short, spontaneous experiment about landscape and movement that has me thinking about gender. it feels good to be walking down the middle of the road and seeing the street or urban landscape from this perspective.

landscape and perspective: perspective in relation to how the landscape is captured and represented is tied up with gender. some research that i have read argues that male gaze and perspective on the landscape is very different to that of a female – the male gaze being usually from above the landscape, a dominant eye, in control and from a position of power whereas the female gaze tends to be low and in a more intimate position. this might seem like a huge generalisation so it might be good to examine some landscape art works in terms of gender of artist and their perspective in capturing / exploring the landscape. i’m reminded of the post i made about susan trangmar a few months ago about perspective. it is also very relevant to my contextual study looking at gender and landscape in an irish context (link for susan trangmar: untitled landscapes: http://www.susantrangmar.com/art/untitled/Untitled3.html).

reflection – landscape, movement, gender: obviously it is easy to break rules when no one is about in this weather but it has me thinking about rules of movement in the landscape. the idea that the landscape is a free open space and a place to be totally free is rarely fully possible. even in the freedom of open waters there rules that the physical body dictates in order to breath and stay afloat. again i’m also thinking of the rules of safety, especially in the urban landscape and in relation to gender – the ‘no go areas’ that women should not go or only ‘certain type of women’ go. this ties into what i have been reading in Elizabeth Wilson’s ”Sphinx and the City’ and also Doreen Masseys ‘A Global Sense of Place’. in dublin ‘walking the canal’ is a euphemism for prostitution because that’s where you might find one, i wonder how true that is really. i walk the canal with my dog and come to think of it, i was once asked for a bj when i was walking along the canal with Lola. he was drunk, it was broad daylight and there were loads of people (and dogs) about so i think he just wanted a reaction. anyway it wasn’t enough to put me off going there but it might have.

next step: taking risks (landscape, movement, gender (perspective))  

3d: in this (very brief and spontaneous) experiment i have begun to explore some ideas of landscape & gender, capturing movement and perspective through the lens. i wonder how i could explore these same ideas through 3d, as was the challenge i gave myself for this exploration? maybe over the next week i could take some of the things i touched on and develop it through 3d means; either object or a physically printed image. this mightn’t be pretty! i’ll try to make it as spontaneous as this initial impetus to experiment.

sound: another part of my exploratory project plan and challenge was to look at exploring the possibilities of sound. i find the soundscape that i captured of me walking through the snow quite intimate – it is close up to my breathing and stomping body. maybe recording sound of movement in the landscape from different perspectives might be worth exploring in relation to landscape, movement and gender. i also continue to record the weather forecast reports which have yet to come to anything.

word and text: again as i said in my project plan, i am also curious about exploring the possiblities of word, language and text. i wonder if this ties in with what i have been researching for my contextual study – gender in irish poetry and the silencing of the female voice. i posted about this last week . i wonder what would come of exploring my video through word, text or language. or maybe the weather forecasts that i have been recording could be interesting as visual words.

some more shots from the middle of the road

lots to explore for next week but i think that for these initial experiments i should continue to work quickly and spontaneously. landscape perspective and gender might develop further.

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