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The Land has Eyes

 Pandit Chanrochanakit

OF LAND, SPACE, PLACE AND MEN

Etymological investigation more often than not springs a surprise, as the search for meaning in the land and in space reveals how man has transformed nature to suit his own ends. As a result of this, we may wish to uncover the meaning of landscape, space and place. One can trace the notion of landscape back to the term ‘landschaft’ – which was used in the Dark and Middle Ages to refer to “a collection of dwellings built within an area of cultivated land that…is surrounded by an unknown-and unknowable wilderness”. 1

 

By the end of the seventeenth century, the Dutch had slightly changed the spelling of the word to ‘lanschap’, meaning “an area of land that can be represented, by either a surveyor or artist, as a map or painting.” The reason for this was that by this time Holland had developed to such a degree that it made little or no distinction between forests and townships. In England, the term was changed from its original spelling to ‘landskip’, meaning “…broad, often elevated views of rural scenes in which one can place villages and fields, woods and roads.” 2 The modification of these terms created a sense that landscape was a product of human activity, a part of nature that had been modified by man. Certain spaces in this sense became landscapes because human beings transformed nature into places in which they could dwell. We can thus see that the notion of space and place are inseparable. 

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