Tuesday, 14 July 2015

view. the return of landscape

The new issue of the fantastic contemporary theory and research journal Widok (View) is out now and ready to be read in its entirity online. The editors introduce the content of the issue, which is titled The Return of Landscape: "Many of the images presented here use distance (and sometimes also a change of vantage point) as a means of recognizing the mechanisms of seeing, as a starting point for reflection and action. Such is the work of Belgian artist Mishka Henner, analyzed by Alicia Guzman – Henner's photographs expose the scale of the American meat and oil industries and their dire effects on the environment, but also offer the viewer an intriguing aesthetic experience, by creating images simultaneously alluring and unnerving. The representation of rapidly changing natural landscapes becomes an especially pertinent topic in the age of the Anthropocene – examined by Sidsel Nelund in her review of Haus der Kulturen der Welt's Anthropocene Project and by Susan Schuppli in the essay Can the Sun Lie? In his essay devoted to representations of war in the works of Sophie Ristelhueber and Werner Herzog, Krzysztof Pijarski asks whether the traditional genre of aerial photography may hold a subversive potential. However, not all of the presented landscapes are as directly political as the work of Henner, Ristelhueber, Herzog, and the creators of the film Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change. Although often naturalized, they often call for political and philosophical questions. And so Łukasz Zaremba writes about the process of radical commercialization of Polish landscapes after 1989 and the recently passed “landscape bill,” constructed with the aim of "cleaning up" and "aestheticizing" contemporary urban and suburban views. In the essays by Max Symuleski and Piotr Schollenberger, the distance necessarily involved in the production of images of the Earth from outer space has a profoundly destabilizing effect on the viewer's subjectivity. We also examine the archive of Polish artist Teresa Murak (with Sebastian Cichocki's commentary); as well as the work and thought of Jan Gwalbert Pawlikowski, the first proponent of landscape preservation in Poland (in an essay by Mateusz Salwa). Lastly, the photographs of Dutch artist Awoiska van der Molen are analyzed by Ernst van Alphen and the diverse art projects of Francis Alÿs is discussed with the artist in conversation with Magda Szcześniak."
(photograph above: Teresa Murak, Sculpture for the Earth, Ubbeboda, 1974)