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Title: A study of the relevance of environmental art to landscape architecture in the context of the United Kingdom
Authors: Selanon, Pattamon
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Landscape architecture and environmental art are concerned with shaping the environment, and their outcomes share similar physical appearances. Formally established after Frederick Law Olmsted designed Central Park, New York, in 1858, landscape architecture intervenes in the environment for a variety of social, aesthetic and environmental motives (Thompson, 1998). Environmental art, which emerged in the 1960s, initially in rejection of gallery and museum culture, is also associated with the environment, and includes a wide range of artworks from small sculptural objects to large interventions, and from temporary works to permanent ones (Andrews, 1999). A large amount of literature (for example, Weilacher, 1996; Beardsley, 1998, 2000; Balmori, 2010, 2011, etc.) has reviewed the relevance of environmental art to several eminent landscape architects such as Peter Walker, Kathryn Gustafson and George Hargreaves. ‘History cannot give us a program for the future, but it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves, so that we can better face the future’ (Warren, 1929, p.100). By exploring this aspect of landscape history, the research aims to show how landscape architecture has been impacted by environmental art in three ways, comprising: 1) forms and styles; 2) significant thoughts and ideas; and 3) practices of the two disciplines. The investigation of the research covers practices of landscape architecture and environmental art in various contexts, including Europe and North America. However, the research’s fieldwork, which includes semi-structured interviews and focus group, are based in the United Kingdom. The two research methods brought together specialists from the two disciplines, were conducted by the researcher. The semistructured interviews gained first-hand and insightful information for the research, while the focus group was intended to produce in-depth analysis of themes deriving from the interviews. Discourses representing a synthesis of the thinking reflected in the findings of the two research data collections were triangulated with the literature reviews. Reflecting on the research objectives, the empirical study of the research identifies how environmental art affects landscape architecture in three themes. The iii first theme discusses variations of forms and styles, in which the research suggests that the pure and simplified forms of Modernism and experimental aspect of Postmodernism make an impact on landscape architecture through its connection with environmental art. The second theme investigates significant thoughts and ideas, in which the research highlights four theoretical connections, interchanging between the two disciplines comprising the concept of the spirit of the site, the three eighteenth-century aesthetics concepts, Environmentalism, and the passage of time. Aspects of the creativity and experimentation in environmental art, which transform these four thoughts and ideas into artworks, have had an effect upon landscape architecture. The final theme explores the professional practices of the two disciplines. The research confirms that the two practices work across discipline boundaries, even though they have different agendas in professional practice. The research also identifies that this may be because environmental art is not bound by any professional institution, so that it is able to reposition and reframe itself through time. Even though environmental art today has different approaches from its first emergence in the 1960s, contemporary landscape architecture remains affected by the art. A number of significant underlying issues within the theories and practices of landscape architecture are also addressed. The findings of the research also suggest that landscape architecture is relevant to environmental art. Consequently, the conceptual guidelines proposed in this research are hoped to be one stage towards paving the way for the future development of landscape architecture.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

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