Landscape Perception and Inhabiting Vision: Practising to see from the inside

From the recent archives, I thought it would be good to post my dissertation from Dartington. Download the pdf of Landscape Perception and Inhabiting Vision.

The Abstract:

In this dissertation I investigate vision and landscape through painting. I identify landscape as a diverse and lively critical field of study as I have come to understand it through my reading. I recognise that a problem occurs between my painting practice and my understanding of landscape as a lived practice. Vision has a deeply rooted epistemology of detached observation and an ecological practice requires engagement. To continue painting landscapes, I must find a way to inhabit vision.

I begin by comparing landscape as a way of seeing (Cosgrove 1998) with a phenomenologically placed account of dwelling-in-the world (Ingold 2000). I explore how vision in a landscape operates in both accounts. Of the two models, dwelling presents a more ecologically engaging account of living within the landscape, but it seems to advocate more immersive bodily experience (i.e. movement, touch, smell or hearing) and has no place for a detached vision. Must vision always be constituted by detached observation? I turn to Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology in order to come to an understanding of embodied vision. In doing so, my conceptualisation of practice and method has changed. I find a theoretical framework that will support future inquiries into living and painting as an inhabitant of my landscape.