Paisatg-e / Paisaj-e / Landscap-e / Paysag-e

MAY-JUNE 09

QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER OF THE LANDSCAPE OBSERVATORY - 17

THE OBSERVER

Foto

Published Landscapes

Jose Manuel Vidal
Architect, coordinator of Paisea

What is published in Spain and Europe on the subject of landscapes? What are specialised landscape journals and collections of books on the landscape like? What is their philosophy? Who are they intended for? Is there some relationship between theory and practice in the media published on the topics of the landscape and landscaping? Do these journals and collections of books have any influence on the community's perception of its landscapes? These and many other questions were discussed just a few weeks ago at an interesting seminar held in the context of the Second Biennial on the Architecture, Art and Landscape of the Canaries. Entitled "Paisajes publicados/Published Landscapes" it was managed by Daniela Colafranceschi, architect and curator of a landscape-themed collection for a prestigious publishing house. Lisa Diedrich, Hans Ibelings, Miquel Adriá, Joan Nogué, Manuel Orazi, Gilles Tiberghein and the author also participated in the seminar. The seminar manager and the organisers of this Second Biennial had the excellent idea of devising this type of seminar. Perhaps, a few years ago, there would have been little point in holding a meeting of this type in Spain, because there were few specialised journals on the subject in this country and even fewer collections of books to be found in bookshops. Now, however, the scenario is very different and the time has undoubtedly come to discuss the question of "published landscapes", simply on the basis that this is starting to be an encouraging area, although it is still lagging far behind the situation existing in some of the countries represented at the seminar. There is still a long way to go, but at last, we've set off on the journey. The debate covered both Spain and Europe, because in spite of the plethora of journals and collections of books available in countries such as Holland, Germany or France, a Europe-wide meeting of this type had never been organised. It was not merely a question of showing and describing the different journals and collections, but rather of delving more deeply into points of view, methodologies, perspectives and, particularly answering the questions that led to this collaboration. This exercise had still not been looked at from a European perspective. The time has come to reflect on what we write and who we are writing it for and, specifically, if what we write has any social relevance or impact; in other words, if we really want penetrate beyond the professional guilds we are addressing. The discussion can be either theoretical or practical, as was seen in the meeting, but in both cases far more effort needs to be made to reach society as a whole, to increase understanding of the landscape and contribute to its better protection, management and planning. Much education is needed. We must be capable of having an impact, through our journals and books, on social education about the landscape, on increasing awareness of the landscape, and in the same way that mass media exercises an influence, on the creation of values and the generation of stereotypes, also involving the landscape. Jose Manuel Vidal Architect, coordinator of Paisea

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