Andscapes: As the Bug Crawls
academic paper, submitted for publication
Borrowing landscape architect Martin Prominski’s term “andscape,” this essay attempts to forge a link between an open definition of andscape, on the one hand, as a non-dualistic approach to environment that productively problematizes distinctions of subject-object, nature-culture; and, on the other hand, as artistic practice in landscape that is rooted in epistemological questions concerning empirical measurement. My point of departure for thinking about andscapes here is a critical look at the default perspective of distance across landscapes: distance as the crow flies. A top-down cartographic perspective – the global point of view of satellites, planes, drones – flattens a landscape’s surface irregularities and renders the distance between two points smooth and two-dimensional. But what might be learned about a landscape if we measure its distance from a more surficial, earthbound perspective – for instance, from a bug’s point of view? If we adopt the practice of measuring as the bug crawls, what temporalities and qualities of the Earth’s surface might surface through this action? And while this practice troubles notions of scalability, what gains can be made in valuing specificity? Moreover, could an artistic read of the physical resistance of roughness evoke a political resistance to smoothness?