Layered Landscapes, Conflicting Narratives, and Environmental Art

Martin Drenthen

in Restoring Layered Landscapes

Published in print December 2015 | ISBN: 9780190240318
Published online November 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780190240349 | DOI:
Layered Landscapes, Conflicting Narratives, and Environmental Art

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If landscapes can be conceived of as “texts,” then layered landscapes are like palimpsests: multiple texts on top of each other, each affording multiple interpretations. Moreover, our readings of the legible landscape don’t just reveal something about the texts but also about us as readers. This means that restoration can lead to serious moral conflicts, about which textual layer we should restore, and about what that restoration would entail. This chapter suggests that the arts can help to accommodate our understanding of these multi-interpretable layered landscapes, but should also play a more critical role of challenging dominant interpretations of landscape that might suppress painful, embarrassing or otherwise difficult aspects of (the history of) a place. By bringing forward or even amplifying alternative views and readings, art can help to contest the taken for granted meanings of landscape, and thus bring them back to the heart of the moral debate.

Keywords: legible landscape; palimpsest; art; interpretation; ecological restoration

Chapter.  9274 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy

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