[The final draft of the final project for GEOG386]
Ingold’s theories on landscape and dwelling (beginning in section 5.3.2 of Wylie’s book) stuck out to me as I read about phenomenology. I’m most interested in how humans interact with landscape—how they influence and are influenced by landscape. Ingold, most likely siding with inhabitation over observation in the landscape tensions, described landscape in terms of practical activity (Wylie 158); he wrote that the world becomes a meaningful environment by being inhabited:
"Nature ceases to be seen as inert matter or ‘bedrock’ to be inscribed with meaning. Instead, ‘far from being inscribed upon the bedrock of physical reality, meaning is immanent in the relational contexts of people’s practical engagement with their lived-in environments’." (Wylie 159)
I wanted to make a video that reflected this inextricable connection between people and environment, one that would reflect how people interact with their environments in order to live in them. I also drew upon Ingold’s ideas that landscape is not strictly “nature” in the sense of an external, distanced world; rather, landscape is “anchored in human, embodied perception” (Wylie 160), something that is almost a part of us.
Lastly, Ingold’s idea that held the most influence on my work is that “landscape is the world as it is known to those who dwell therein … [it is] the everyday project of dwelling in the world” (Wylie 161). I wanted my video to reflect this project, focusing on the specific ways in which people use and work with their environment to dwell in the world. The video was meant to portray landscape as “both performative sensorium and site and source of cultural meaning and symbolism” (Wylie 161).
I thus chose scenes in the home, following a group of two or three people as they start their day. The video starts with a conversation, heard in the background, about a broken toaster. Someone can be seen getting out of bed to join the conversation and figure out what to do. Next, someone can be seen making breakfast. I used both close-ups and wider shots to focus on the specific interactions (what the hands are doing) and on the person doing them.
The camera returns to the bedroom to watch someone making the bed, then two people can be seen leaving the building to drive to a park. Along the way I kept focusing on the points at which people and landscape meet: the car used to transport people to a different point in the landscape, people crossing the street outside, the windshield wipers to keep off the rain, etc. Once in the park, I took shots of the two people throwing something away, playing with a dead flower, holding an umbrella, etc. All these shots were meant to point out the subtle ways in which humans are in constant interaction with landscape—the “project” of dwelling.