[Wallpaper] Issue02.


Inquiry:

Missing Landscape

by Chelsea MAFA Group 4

During this unprecedentedly unexciting, ticket-canceling summer, there was one brilliant website which went pretty viral in Korea that eventually caught my eyes: “Window Swap”.

WindowSwap is a quarantine project by Sonali Ranjit and Vaishnav Balasubramaniam that lets you use your browser to watch a video of a window and its unique view from different locations across the globe.

https://window-swap.com

What it does is simple, definitely not involving what you’d call the most high end technology. If you click on “Open a new window somewhere in the world” button, it literally just randomly plays one of the pre-recorded videos, giving you a view through someone else’s window. When submitting, you are asked to provide 10-minute HD videos of “your window and frame,” along with the creator’s name and location. Sitting in your room, you could transform your laptop screen into a window in Singapore, China, US, Canada, Taiwan and so on.

Although it was completely based on voluntary participation of ordinary people, the scale of submission was exponential. This made me think, ‘Wow, we really were snatched of the spectrum of everyday common landscape’. We now even long for lively, yet mundane scenery of our neighbourhood ever since the lockdown.

For this issue, [Wallpaper], group 4 attempts to unveil multiple aspects of the landscape we have missed throughout history and are still missing, along with how it’s affecting today’s art world.

“Landscapes Without End”

A poem by Andrew Durbin
 Interviewed by Jacob Forrest Severn for Bomb Magazine

“Sometimes I daydream about merging my body with my computer so that I can more fully enter the landscapes of Google Earth, lush surface world without pollution or traffic, planet seen from the vantage point of space and roving surveillance vehicles, a motionless field, magnifying the normal imperfections and irregularities of the earth so that the planet is rendered transparent, misshapen and yet intoxicating in its languishing differentiation from the real.”

https://bombmagazine.org/articles/andrew-durbin/

Digital Landscapes
Mishka Henner

Short word from Alessandra Akiwumi

The idea of a digital landscape had not really entered my mind until I stumbled upon Henner’s work. Through the use of Google Maps, Henner, appropriates satellite landscapes and street view scenes. I realized that there are multiple manifestations of “landscape.” Of course a digital landscape can be many things, but I was focused only on Google Maps. I started to think about the vastly different experiences one would have of a physical versus a digital landscape. Then I started thinking about the digital landscape and what’s missing from it. In essence, a digital landscape from Google Maps, is a reading of the actual physical place. In a way, these types of digital landscapes are a collection of moments of time all condensed into one platform. A photograph of a specific day, season and time. A moment frozen. It’s also incredible, to be able to look at a specific street in Nairobi whilst sitting at home in London. Whilst landscapes have been made more accessible to us, it changes the way we experience our physical spaces. Do these digital images accurately depict our physical landscapes and what is missing? As the digital becomes an even more increasingly important part of our lives, we become disconnected from what is real. There is something lost in these images. What do these images magnify or conceal about our real landscapes?

https://granta.com/dutch-landscapes/

https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/slide-show-google-maps-cant-see

Virtual Landscape Products

by Dingyi Feng

The renovation project of Qinghai Lake area surrounding the nomadic community in China has always been an active topic.What is clear that, now we contact the new landscape construction of the main mass media and the demand of the new policy guidance. However, due to the adverse circumstances, the project was almost impossible to implement. Therefore, the group of designers invested in the project spent a lot of time using virtual modeling software to reconstruct and reconstruct the surrounding landscape and reproduce the local landscape in the virtual world.

These simulations traversed the new Chinese landscape and ethnic architecture (2018-present) in Jiangxigou Township of Qinghai Lake in the south of China under the virtual situation, and depicted an ‘impossible’ reconstruction plan for the architectural landscape group in the Tibetan and Pastoral Areas of Qinghai Lake.The plateaus, undulating landforms and bad weather in the real world make it an absurdly Utopian virtual digital product that only exists in a virtual place. Under the appeal of the media and the demand of the Tibetan people in Qinghai Lake, this virtual product has undoubtedly become a boring structure for the reality simulation.

Worth thinking is that, the real landscape transformation between demand and its simulacra of what kind of relationship do you have? The boundary between the fictional landscape and reality? The practice and exploration of “future humans will reproduce a part of the virtual past” by Ancestor Simulation?And does the architecture of the virtual landscape intensify the digital perception of the viewer and lead to thinking about new ideological and material relationships?

The Truth about Coal

by Keran Wang

Shanxi,a province in northern China that has supported half of China’s coal energy in the last century. Shanxi at that time was as black as coal. (This is by no means an exaggeration.) There is a director in China called Jia Zhangke, and he has a movie called “Xiao Wu”, from which you can watch the scenery, characters and social relations of the time.

Although past mining activities have contributed to the development of the local economy, they have also produced serious environmental problems, including forest destruction, soil erosion, deterioration of natural landscapes and water pollution. Since the beginning of the 21st century, energy has gradually dried up, and the status of coal superpowers has become lower and lower. Some large private coal companies have been established and become state-owned enterprises. At the same time, the destroyed landscape cannot be restored temporarily. What we need to know is that Shanxi’s geographic location has a very high status in China. In addition to its superior war geographic location, it is also because of its beautiful scenery and historical sites. However, due to the exploitation of energy and the inaction of the government, people have no way to appreciate its full picture.

How to achieve industrial transformation, how to comprehensively manage the environment under government policies, how to use existing resources to provide new development ideas, etc. These issues have always been the direction of government thinking.

Landscape of your mind
Analysing Landscape Montage

Test Conducted and Analyzed by Semin Hong
Drawings of healthy adults
Drawings of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia

LMT(Landscape Montage Technique) is a therapeutic technique that involves drawing a completed landscape, with an investigator requesting the subject to draw ten items under instruction.

Ten items are,
1. River
2. Mountain
3. Field
4. Road
5. House
6. Tree
7. Person
8. Flower
9. Animal
10. Stone

Each item symbolises different elements of our mind and how they are depicted in patient’s drawing can indicate various states of mind. The items are familiar to people, which enables it to be easily adapted to various subject age ranges. LMT is a projective test which analyzes personal characteristics. The projective test is a comprehensive diagnostic technique that allows understanding of a client’s cognitive skills and personality traits.

It was originally developed by a Japanese psychiatrist and professor, Nakai Hisao, and was utilized as a therapeutic tool for schizophrenia patients in 1969 (Nakai, 1970). Later LMT was recognized not only as a therapeutic technique but also as a diagnostic tool after its effectiveness was shown in the clinical mental health setting. LMT was a significant development in Japanese art psychotherapy because Japanese mind is prone to think that landscape reflects the human soul (Kawai, 1984).

We conducted our own small LMT through a video call, not necessarily to examine the validity of this technique, but to utilise it as a gate opening a conversation about landscapes we’ve experienced in our lives, with some initial questions in my mind;
1. What forms each person’s stereotypical/ideal landscape?
2. How does that image affect the way we perceive present landscape?
3. If the drawing of landscape represents one’s psychological mind and how we depict the landscape is the result of what we are surrounded with physically, could it mean our geographical locations are capable of shaping our mind?

First, below are the drawings and part of interpretations interpreted according to basic LMT teaching resource.

(1) Mountains in the back not depicted with too much significance;
Mountains indicate the prospect problems/situations you have to overcome. Attitude towards them seem quite stable. But considering the overall hills along the road, though not in an intensive way, might be feeling obligated to complete several tasks throughout recent period.
(2) Field and a house(almost only one with a window) further behind the mountain ; 
Distance is notable. Field usually symbolises intention towards something. House could be something that’s thought to be accomplished after overcoming certain problem.
Maybe could be an abstract image of family. 
(3) Two roads, one to the house with flowers on side, and one to the fields but disconnected;
Road usually symbolises your consciousness, self and its direction hints where your consciousness is directing/heading. Relatively content towards current environment. But might be feeling a bit troubled by prospect plans, where you want to be where you want to go may be considered as quite complex matter at the moment/ may be going through a temporary issue
(4) Multiple connected mountains in the back;
prospect situation you feel about yourself. located in the very back/top of the paper means you are well aware of them consciously. May not be feeling particularly troubled by specific one but relatively have calm perspective ahead the problems as a whole.
(5) The vast amount of water in river, big river;
Size of an unconscious world. Highly affected by one’s unconscious world.
Could be a strong imagination skill for an artist

Given the same instruction simultaneously, all seven participants each drew completely different landscapes (obviously). But considering that they were never asked to illustrate any realistic or existing landscape, there were certainly notable similarities they share with typical images or painting styles from their culture.

You can easily notice the mountains from (4),(5),(6) resembles a lot with chinese landscape paintings. Also, flowers and composition from (1),(2) with european landscape paintings. Aside from individual psychological factors that could be read from the drawing, this collection of drawings (though the test may have been conducted unprofessionally) vividly points out that we perceive and imagine the concept of landscape culturally.

Based on more than 20 years of landscape perception research in many areas in the Netherlands, Coeterier (2000) argues that, within local cultures, inhabitants develop a special way of looking at the surrounding landscape. Often, a leading theme, which depends on the specific landscape, guides this way of looking. For example, in one region he found that the predominant theme for people was to divide the landscape into a front, consisting of paved roads where housing and human activities are concentrated, and a back, unpaved drives where nature and silence were to be found. This leading theme comprises the nature of the landscape as a whole and its function. 
(“Psychology of the Visual Landscape” by Maarten Jacobs)

We perceive different landscapes even when we are looking at the exact same one, meaning that we are always somewhat missing certain aspect of landscape that only others can observe, and vice versa. The more we communicate, share, and appreciate other’s landscape, the less we are missing out on our own horizon.

Landscapes and public space-
how it’s changing:

A reflection by Katie Butler

Our landscapes are changing. Every object, road and diversion is designed strategically to evoke a behavioural response. Our surroundings are manipulated intricately through design to characterise the way we inhabit a space. A common term for this is ‘Hostile Design’- an architectural phenomenon appearing increasingly across the globe. It is a term used to describe the intentional design of objects in public space which have been altered or installed to deter or restrict certain behaviours from specific groups of people. This controversial form of design has been widely criticised and labelled discriminatory toward targeted individuals,  especially the homeless. Through altered benches, decorative spikes and CCTV cameras,  hostile design can be perceived as a way of ‘designing people out of cities’. 

Some other examples of this design are metallic studs on the edge of benches to prevent skateboarders skating on public furniture; the infamous ‘Camden Bench’- a multipurpose slab of concrete used to deter urination, rough sleepers, skaters, and flooding. 

Benches specifically have been a way to sit down and rest in public places, universally. However benches and their functionality can be seen to be changing- they are being purposely designed to be uncomfortable. From metallic, cold exteriors to separated seats these benches are designed for short term stays.

These examples of unpleasant design permeate the questions; what is public space? Who is it for, and what is it used for?

Club, A., 2020. The Shitty Reason New York City Benches Are Designed To Be Uncomfortable. [online] The A.V. Club. Available at: <https://www.avclub.com/the-shitty-reason-new-york-city-benches-are-designed-to-1820884365

Sound of Landscape

New founding by lily weng

Schafer (1977) recognized that sounds are ecological properties of landscapes, referring to soundscapes as “the acoustical characteristics of an area that reflect natural processes.” 

Soundscape Ecology: The Science of Sound in the Landscape

Soundscape impacts a lot on human behavior. Natural sounds engage one of our senses and provide information about our surroundings.

I had a walk at a park on this weekend to feel what is landscape, and I found that the sense of hearing and smell can enhance our perception in landscape environment. I tried to record the sounds of landscape, the sounds of chirping animals, running water and rustling win and brought them home. Landscape is a guest house, human or birds, these creatures are invited to release and enjoy. I realized that landscape can be carried, even if we lost the scenery of landscape but if the sound is there, we still position in the landscape.

A recording of landscape

BioScience, Volume 61, Issue 3, March 2011, Pages 203–216. Soundscape Ecology: The Science of Sound in the Landscape 

https://doi.org/10.1525/bio.2011.61.3.6

Landscape
Unfinished building

DAN WANG

Human behavior affects landscapes, and I think these landscapes in turn affect us. I lived in China since I was a child, and I grew up at a time when China was developing rapidly. People quickly got used to the fast-growing cities. But there are a lot of uncompleted buildings here, because of a variety of reasons, such as the collapse of the company, the broken capital chain, the property developer did not get a permit from government. These uncompleted buildings have been shut down for many years, and the war between payers and real estate developers has never stopped.

Getting Lost in a Landscape

short note by Semin hong

“Lost really has two disparate meanings. Losing things is about the familiar falling away, getting lost in about the unfamiliar appearing. There are objects and people that disappear form your sight or knowledge or possession; you lose a bracelet, a friend, the key. You still know where you are. Everything is familiar except that there is one item less, one missing element.
Or you get lost, in which case the world has become larger than your knowledge of it. Either way, there is a loss of control.”
<A Field Guide To Getting Lost> by Rebecca Solnit

In movie Gerry, two young men both named Gerry wander across a desert and get lost, in a remote, unnamed location. They abandon the trail, saying “let’s go this way, man. Everything’s gonna lead to the same place”, then set off to a fresh route. Ceaselessly walking, strolling, sprinting all over the dessert without letting you know where exactly they are headed, they eventually attempts to retrace their steps back to where they came from but keep fail.

In this issue, by accounting we are missing our landscapes, there is an undeniable implication of our relationship between landscape and ourselves; it’s so easily dealt as something we own, something we possess when it’s supposed to be the other way around.

What we are yearning is probably the landscape that we can’t put in a single fame of camera shot. The sense of belonging in a large scenery, landscape greater than our monitor-sized (or even vr scale) imagination, so great that we could actually get lost in it. We long for the landscape while presently “in” the landscape by getting lost which we can’t so much experience any more.

Further Reading

Dillon, Brian. Ruins: Documents of Contemporary Art. Whitechapel Gallery, 2011.

Ghirri, Luigi. The Complete Essays “Cardboard Landscapes” 1973. Mack Publications

Ghirri, Luigi. The Complete Essays “House, Bridge, Gate…” 1989. Mack Publications

Club, A., 2020. The Shitty Reason New York City Benches Are Designed To Be Uncomfortable. [online] The A.V. Club. Available at: <https://www.avclub.com/the-shitty-reason-new-york-city-benches-are-designed-to-1820884365

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