Faire avec le milieu : Art, Design et médialité du paysage
Claire Azéma, Christian Malaurie, Aurélie Michel

Making with milieu : Art, design and mediality of landscape

After having coordinated in 2021, the first part of the double issue on the Arts of making concerning the question of the Modes of existence of the Atelier in art and design, we wish to question in 2022  : the ways of making the landscape in art and design and in the media.

A symbolic revolution is currently at work, and we would like to report on it and anticipate its possibilities. The Anthropocene paradigm calls for a new conception of the notion of project, understood as the conduct of valuation1 in relation to the living. More broadly, it is a question of measuring and thinking about the stakes of the present situation by revising the "project values", that is, the relations between situations, means and ends from an ethical, political and aesthetic point of view.

Our epistemological questions will therefore focus on :

— transfers of theoretical notions, scientific and professional methods, uses2 and landscape practices.

— the landscape relations that draw both the actuality and the virtuality of the sensitive cartographies that produce the representations of the landscape.

— eduquated and ordinary landscape uses and practices.

Landscape is therefore understandable from an epistemological point of view :

— Firstly, as an environment : it implies transaction sites and situations3 and a set of resources to be managed.

— Secondly, as a fragment of a mappable territory : it covers an area articulated with physical, symbolic and imaginary limits. It questions the scale and more broadly the configuration of the territory.

— Thirdly, as an area of cultured nature : it allows us to think about the historicity of the artificialisation of environments and the art of the landscape.

— Fourthly, as a scene-landscape becoming an image-landscape that structures ordinary practices.

— Fifthly, as a mediation of the living  : it is a social reality objectified in a particular eco-techno-symbolic system linked to a given socio-historical context. In this sense, it participates in the construction of the ordinary daily situated common.

1. Thinking the making of Landscape

Should we think of landscape as an environment, a milieu, a relationship between humans and non-humans to renew the theoretical and practical dialogue between art, design and landscape  ?

The notion of environment, concerns the landscape and therefore implies an included third party, in immersion. This results in an anthropocentric view of the landscape which limits the point of view.

The notion of milieu, for its part, opens up multiple perspectives. The environment understood as a place, both a resource and a mediator4 allows us to consider the making of landscape from a more relevant angle.

By putting forward the question of the relationship, it is a question of renewing the conceptual tools necessary to be able to grasp the configurations, the organisations, the techniques and the ways of making things, participating in the making of landscape in its different temporalities.

The making of landscape, understood as the milieu of making, is a situated process. It is thus to be thought as a process of transactions between an environment (its eco system, its bio-diversity, its living or non-living resources) and one or more human actors, in view of objectives responding to a situated ethics. A revision of the project as a valuation process seems to us to be possible in the logic of this landscape construction.

— What relationships should be thought of today, between landscape and doing in the daily uses and professional practices of landscape ?

— What ways of making landscape are available today to designers, artists and landscape professionals to imagine, build and test alternatives to the consumerist landscape ?

— How do these processes redefine the landscape in terms of its new practices ?

2. The making of landscape in its sensitive and symbolic dimension

From climate to atmosphere or ambiance, the aim is to understand how, starting from the climatic conditions that bathe a landscape, ambiance and atmosphere operate concretely and symbolically as landscape mediations, in the making of the landscape.

The utilitarian and productivist society in which we live denies the sensitive experience of landscape. By over-mediatising landscape images, it denies the reality of the landscape, and thus reduces the landscape experience of the subject to the simple consumption of pleasant and spectacular images. Furthermore, by facilitating consumer access to increasingly formatted landscapes through mass tourism, it reduces the resistance between the societal and the environmental, denying concrete landscape situations. Thus, the massive production of media images (photographic or videographic) or tourist images perceived in situ by the flow of consumers, calls into question the ways of living, of dealing with the earth and the sky, the sky and the sea, the mountain and the plain, the city and the surrounding nature, the metropolis and the peri-metropolis.

— How does the issue of sensitivity (urban and peri-urban, rural, coastal, mountain, etc.) in the era of the Anthropocene renew the definition, design and implementation of landscape projects ?

— How do the atmospheres created by design products, more or less consciously staged, participate in the making of the physical and sensory reality of a landscape ?

— How do commercial images interact with our intimate representations of the landscape as experienced through our ordinary daily uses ?

— What is the relationship of contemporary artists with the making of landscape, since Land Art ?

3. The making of landscape as a common

Augustin Berque's theory of médiance5 puts forward a logic of place (of the predicate) against the logic of being (absolute). It is therefore opposed to the logic of the excluded third (advanced by Aristotle). Berque demonstrates the trajectivity of things  : the ek-sister (in the Heideggerian sense) and not the absolute being of metaphysics holds us in relation to a milieu which for the human species is the world. By world he means that which is common to a given species, in this case the human species.

The role of art, design and landscape is to participate in the renewal of the physical and techno-symbolic environment of the human species. In these conditions, for design, there is a vital, semiological (and not sociobiological) need to deal with the milieu in order to build a living milieu that makes sense as a world to inhabit.

— How does the manufacture of landscape work to build the commonality of a world to be inhabited ?

— For design today, what are the values, i.e. the relationships between conditions, means and ends, that shape a living environment ?

— How does the art of landscape artists participate or not in the construction of the common ?

4. The making of landscape mediality

Whether art, design or landscape design, these disciplines produce mediality, that is to say, physical and techno-symbolic resources. As such, they participate in the mediality of the ordinary everyday landscape. According to Berque, the trajective links the human condition to the writing of history, to the need to write a history of the common in the ordinary everyday, or else it will disappear. The responsibility of practitioners engaged in the making of landscape is thus to produce forms with a stable identity, at least for a certain period of time. This process allows these forms to play their medial role. They are then objectified as social realities in an eco-techno-symbolic system linked to a given socio-historical context. The responsibility of the practitioners is thus based on taking into account the historicity of these forms in relation to a situated ethics.

— If landscape is a vital, existential commonplace inscribed in a historicity, how do designers, artists or landscape architects take this historicity into account in their projects ?

— How can the historicity of the medial forms of the landscape constitute a common heritage in the making of landscape ? What about the conservation of the living landscape ?

— Landscape is not limited to outdoor spaces, it also penetrates our living spaces. How does the mediality of design construct our domestic landscapes ?

— How do art and design construct the relationship between the domestic landscape and the surrounding landscape ?

To respond to this call for papers, transdisciplinary orientations should be favoured :

Design, Arts, Media, Landscaping...

History and Theory of Design, Art and Landscape



Anthropology of practices

Critical, social and political analysis

The aim of our call for papers is therefore to stimulate debate from different points of view on a complex object which is still difficult to understand today  : landscape design.

Terms and conditions of contributions  :

Proposals should be returned by 25 May 2022 to the following address : claire.azema@u-bordeaux-montaigne.fr

You are requested to submit an abstract (between 2000 and 3000 characters) presenting your paper proposal. Please include a short bibliography and a biography of about 4 lines. Abstracts and papers may be submitted in English or French.

Calendar  :

25 May : return of proposals from interested authors

1 June : feedback on whether the proposal has been accepted

1 July : return of articles for expertise. Sending of articles to experts

7 September : feedback from the scientific committee

7 October : final return of articles corrected by the authors

7 November : online publication

For any questions or additional information, please use the same e-mail address as for sending the proposals.

Indicative bibliography :

BEGOUT, Bruce, Le concept d'ambiance, Paris, Seuil, 2020.

BERGSON, Henri, Matière et mémoire (1896) ; reprinted in Paris, PUF, 2012.

BERQUE, Augustin, Médiance : de milieux en paysages (1990), Paris, Belin, 2000.

CHOMARAT-RUIZ, Précis de paysagétique, Valenciennes, PUV, Collection Contrée &Concepts, 2014.

DELEUZE, Gilles and GUATTARI, Félix, "Geology of morality", in Capitalisme et schizophrénie 2  : Mille plateaux, Paris, Ed. Minuit, 1980.

DEWEY, John, Experience et Nature, Paris, Gallimard, Nrf, Translated by Joëlle Zask, 2012.

DEWEY, John, Art as Experience, Paris, Gallimard, coll. Folio, translated from English (USA) under the coordination of Jean-Pierre Cometti, 2010.

TIBERGHIEN, Gilles, Le paysage est une traversée, Marseille, Parenthèses, 2020.

TIBERGHIEN, Gilles, Nature, art, paysage, Versailles and Arles, ENSP, Actes Sud, 2001.

UEXKÜLL, Jakob (von), Milieu animal et milieu humain, Paris, Payot et Rivages, translated by Charles Martin-Fréville, 2010.

Cultural history of the landscape  :

COLLOT, Michel, La pensée paysage, Versailles et Arles, École nationale supérieure de paysage et Actes Sud, 2011.

JAKOB, Michael, Le paysage, Gollion, In folio, Archigraphy, Translated by Josette Dall'ava-Santucci, 2008.

MILANI, Raffaele, Esthétiques du paysage, art et contemplation, Versailles and Arles, ENSP, Actes Sud, Translated by Gilles A. Tiberghien, 2005.

WYLIE, John, Paysage, manières de voir, Arles and Versailles, Actes Sud and École nationale supérieure du paysage, Translated by Xavier Carrière, 2015.

Landscape project :

CLÉMENT, Gilles, Le manifeste du tiers paysage, Paris, éditions du commun, 2020.

CORAJOUD, Michel, Le paysage c'est l'endroit où le ciel et la terre se touchent, Versailles et Arles, ENSP, Actes Sud, 2010.

DESVIGNE, Michel, Territoires en projet, Basel, Birkhä user Verlag, 2020.

Les Carnets du paysage (1998-... ), magazine published by the École Nationale Supérieure du Paysage and Actes Sud.

- Projets de paysage, scientific journal on spatial design and planning (2008-…), published by the École Nationale Supérieure du Paysagei , online at http://www.projetsdepaysage.fr

Territory  design :

MAGNGHI, Alberto, Le projet local, Sprimont, Mardaga, Architecture + Recherches, Translated and adapted by Marlène Raiola and Amélie Tetita, 2003.

ROLLOT, Mathias, Les territoires du vivant , Paris, Les Pérégrines, 2018.

Rural Studies, EHESS, http://www.editions.ehess.fr/revues/etudes-rurales/

Topophile magazine, https ://topophile.net/

Art, Design and Landscape :

DUHEM, Ludovic (ed.) Design des territoires, L'enseignement de la Biorégion, Les Lilas, Editions Etérotopia, 2020.

GEEL, Catherine (ed), Design. From nature to the environment. Nouvelles définitions, Paris, T&P Work Unit, T&P Publishing, 2019.

  1. DEWEY, John, The Formation of Values, Paris, La découverte, Les empêcheurs de penser en rond, Textes traduits et présentés par Alexandra Bidet, Louis Quéré et Gérôme Truc, 2011. 

  2. For us, in the elaboration of an analysis of the ways of doing landscape, it is a question of distinguishing, in order to better apprehend the inventiveness of the users of the landscape, the studies of uses from the studies of practices. Indeed, referring to the Foucauldian analysis which makes use  : a regulated practice, fundamentally constrained and at the same time a space of freedom , it is a question of not confusing the user and the consumer. In this sense, it is also necessary to consider that uses structure practices, the latter updating them according to situations. 

  3. DEWEY, John, Experience and Nature, Paris, Gallimard, Nrf, Translated by Joëlle Zask, 2012. 

  4. Augustin Berque's work tends to show that the human being is linked to both the physical expanse of the earth, to the biosphere, and to a specific environment understood as a world. Man is thus an eco-bio-techno-symbolic being, to use his expression. The human being is thus held in a double body : an animal body and a medial body that must be nourished, physically for the one and techno-symbolically for the other. According to Christian Malaurie, art, design and landscaping are producers of mediality, that is to say, of signs and values objectified in artefacts, uses, in short, statements of various kinds. 

  5. BERQUE, Augustin, Médiance : de milieux en paysages (1990) ; reed. Paris, Belin, 2000.