defining landscape through body and mind

Screenshot (95)

(stills from i see and i saw, 2018)

defining landscape: what comes up in my work on landscape is the question ‘what landscape?’ as its a very broad term. i think i’ve been looking at the traditional irish landscape – open, outdoor because its places i am drawn to whether making or not and because of its strong links to irish identity, and as i argues, its strong links to gender roles. i have also looked to this outdoor landscape as a way of contrasting the domestic landscape- indoor and more confined as it touches on so many things about gender in relation to gender roles and stereotypical behaviour – in an irish context or indeed in many contexts but i guess i am only drawn to my own. choosing my parameters in terms of what landscape might be helpful but i don’t think i can be any more specific than this for the moment – yet, if ever?

today’s starting point: one of the areas i wanted to return to from last year was the text piece i made trying to mirror write text that describes the landscape in ideal terms. towards the end of this making, i realised that there seemed to be greater potential for this way of working in exploring ideas about understanding landscape through language, through the body and of course opening up all sorts of issues about the struggle to understand and to reconcile the mind and body, the logic side of my brain with perhaps a more sensual or tactile side where my body has to retrain its movements.

experiment 1: so for today i continued this work, this time choosing simply the definition of landscape. instead of mirror writing which i learned to do with less effort since beginning this process, i now set myself the challenge to write different texts although both texts starting with the word landscape. i’m not sure i will ever get used to this way of writing and i’m not sure where any of this is heading, if anywhere?

experiment 2: i also made some effort to reverse the spoken definition of landscape which was a headwrecker. it would have been easy to read backwards but i made a point of learning the definitions which meant i had to see it in my minds eye before i could attempt to say the words backwards. when i played it back against the text i didn’t get it anyway like the text i was trying to speak. i wonder if it might be interesting to see my physical struggle as i attempt to recall and reverse?…. for another time as again i am not sure where any of this is heading.

going forward ….. there are lots of other texts i could experiment with but i feel that there is something else that it needs to be which i can’t quite put my finger on yet so i will let it digest for the moment – let it sit until it rears it head again while i’m working laterally on some other related or unrelated things. i guess its useful to remember the reason i started this process of mirror writing was because i wanted to be in the middle, see things from both side – i think?

afterthought: in a strange way today’s work seems to relate in some way to what i have been reading about merleau-ponty’s phenomenological approach to how the body informs the mind echoing what nan shepherd says about understanding the mountains through the body.  i am also thinking of what shepher says about a compound eye in experiencing the landscape so perhaps this is some small part of a view.

definition of landscape: interesting to read the definition of a landscape at a later stage rather than at the beginning of my landscape work – especially the definition that says ‘a portion of territory seen at one time from one place’….. maybe that’s what i’m challenging? (from merriam-webster online dictionary):

landscape: all the visible features of an area

landscape: the art of depicting such scenery

landscape: the landforms of a region

landscape: a portion of territory that can be viewed at one time from one place


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