Friday, December 14, 2007

Synthetic Landscapes

Living in the city forces me to live within manufactured landscapes in my everyday life. I am forced to watch planet Earth DVDs to see the natural beauty and phenomena of nature. On rare occasions nature intervenes and wreaks havoc on the city in the form of a heavy white blanket. It merges the well distinguished zones of infrastructure and circulation into a continuous landscape that disregards all humans attempts to organize nature. We can't sweep it away fast enough to remember where we are suppose to walk and drive our cars and cross the street.

As an architect I feel I am constantly trying to blur the definition of the distinct zones because if we can merge the functions we won't need so much space and can reduce our footprint in every way. If we don't need as much space there is a chance we might be closer to "natural" nature. Unfortunately most people don't want to walk in the street or drive on the lawn let alone work in the same zip code they live in. We leave our homes to heat themselves while we go to an empty office that was kept warm all night so we will be comfortable when we get there. I live in the city that is so dense yet everything is separated and distinct. I can't help but think a farmer living and working on a farm is living a much more urban life by layering all of life's needs in one place.

We associate urban life with density and rural life with wide expanses but the opposite may be true. True urban and rural life are not all that different, within a few acres of land both can get everything they need, there are just more or less people around. It is suburban life that is striving to merge the two that is choking nature and pushing the rural and urban conditions further and further apart.

Our dependence on automated transportation as an everyday commonplace is forcing us to travel further and further perpetuating the problem. Industry and consumption blind common sense and skew human existence into a wasteful self perpetuating machine. We are constantly spreading ourselves further and further apart thus the quality of our life, relationships, and by default nature are all suffering. We use technology and consumption to attempt to mend these rifts only to move further away. It is only through the perseverance of nature that we get intermittent reminders of true beauty and the frailty of our existence and shortcomings to understand true human nature and what is necessary.

This post was meant to be a short introduction and photographs of the beautiful work of Tara Donovan but I distracted myself. Another day.

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