Landscapes - Winter 2019 - LPplus6

ESSAY

Despite the immense seductive power of the
digital images we produce with increasing
ease when we model our projects, these
images are not enough on their own. We
need to be able to model the experience
of different scales as well as auditory,
olfactory, kinaesthetic, tactile, thermal
and other spaces. Our tools and methods
should also allow us to incorporate the

emotional prompts and responses that
factor into people's judgment of beauty.
It is not utopian to think that these tools
and methods could be developed, if only
at an experimental scale. At the very least,
we should start thinking about the beauty
of landscapes in terms of experience, and
not from the restrictive perspective of
visual appeal.

The view isn't everything
According to around 20 of my friends, colleagues
and former students, the most beautiful place in
Montreal is Mount Royal Park.
It is a very large park. Numerous paths crisscross
the forest and meadows, leading to the top, Beaver
Lake, the Chalet and the lookout.
To say that it's beautiful is to have said nothing
yet. Relying on the concept of harmony or other
aesthetic qualifiers doesn't get us any farther.
First, because by referring to each other, aesthetic
qualifiers wind up folding in on themselves.
Second, because Mount Royal cannot be summed
up as a set of "scenes" experienced statically and
appreciated only for their visual qualities
Declaring that Mount Royal is beautiful is, in fact,
a reductive representation of the experience of
the park.
A walk on Chemin Olmsted and along the paths
is a starting point for absorbing a dense, vast
sensory domain.

4

REFERENCES

corresponds to subjectively experienced harmony

	 1	 Although the title of this article seems to allude to

(in a cognitive sense) in the contemplation of

John Dewey's major work, Art as Experience, I do

the object. Respectively: Burke, Edmund, A

not claim similar intentions nor seek to merge beauty

Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas

and art, the aesthetic and the artistic. See Dewey,

of the Sublime and the Beautiful, ed. with an

John, Art as Experience, New York: G.P. Putnam's

introduction and notes by J.T. Boulto, London:

Sons, 1980 [1934].

Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1958 [1757]; Hume, David,

	 2	 Macpherson, Hannah, "Landscape's ocularcentrism - and beyond?", Proceedings of the Frontis
Workshop From Landscape Research to Landscape
Planning: Aspects of Integration, Education
and Application, Wageningen, The Netherlands,
1-6 June, 2004.
	 3	 At least to the extent that it applies to tangible things
since, in many languages, the concept of beauty can
also apply to ideas, encounters, values and many
other intangible phenomena.
	 4	I can only briefly discuss the work of Edmund
Burke, David Hume and Immanuel Kant. Burke
argued for the idea that beauty is an objective
quality in that it is grounded in tangible attributes
that affect the senses and the mind. A refined
mind can perceive the finest, most nuanced
combinations of these attributes. For Hume,
there is no such thing as objective beauty. The
attributes of beauty are perceptible only from
each individual's own perspective, depending on
each person's sensibilities. On the other hand,
only the best dispositions and most finely honed
sensibilities enable the perception of models of
beauty universally recognized by people of taste.
For Kant, the perception of beauty is conditional on
disinterested attention to the shape of the object or
its representation. Under these conditions, beauty

6 LANDSCAPES PAYSAGES

Essays, moral, political, and literary, edited and
with a foreword, notes, and glossary by Eugene
F. Miller; with an apparatus of variant readings
from the 1889 edition by T.H. Green and T.H.
Grose, Indianapolis: LibertyClassics, 1987; Kant,
Immanuel, Critique of Pure Reason, 1790.
	 5	 Thompson, Ian H., Ecology, Community and
Delight, Sources of Values in Landscape
Architecture, London, New York: E&F Spon, 2000;
Tate, Alan, "Making Places different", The Cultured
Landscape, Designing the Environment in the 21st
Century, London, New York: Routledge, 2005 (pp.
59 et seq., "Values in Landscape Architecture").
	 6	 See, for example, Herrington, Susan, "Beauty:
Past and Future", Landscape Research, 41: 4,
441-449.
	 7	Ibid.
	 8	 Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, Phénoménologie de la
perception, Paris: Gallimard, 1990 [1945].
	 9	 Ibid., p. 158.
	1 0	 See Meyer, Elizabeth K., "Sustaining Beauty, The
performance of Appearance, A Manifesto in Three
Parts", Journal of Landscape Architecture, no.
5, 2008, pp. 6-23; Girot, Christophe, "Immanent
Landscape", Harvard Design Magazine, no. 36,
2013, pp. 6-16.

Photo 1 At the foot of the escarpment, while
still not yet evening, the road winds away into
darkness, under the shadows of the slopes and the
dense foliage. Becoming one with the mountain's
nooks and crannies.
When the wind blows the leaves rustle in concert,
the textured sound muting the distant hum of the
city. Being elsewhere, enveloped by the denseness
of the forest.
Photo 2 The smells of wood, earth and plants
intensify and spread after it rains on a hot day,
when the heavy, humid air sticks to your skin.
Becoming one with the breathing Earth and
its vegetation.
Photo 3 At the edge of the escarpment, a rocky
outcrop between the trees dominates the eastern
part of the city. Confronting the drop and taking in
the sheer size of the city.
Photo 4 That evening, while strolling through a
clearing, I was struck by the beauty of the light.
After trying in vain to capture with my camera the
pale, milky hues, I realized that the light formed a
whole with the still air, which allowed the smells
of the forest to emerge, the reigning silence
punctuated by the muted sound of my footsteps
on the packed dirt and the solitary musings of the
few other people who were there, talking in hushed
tones; the slowness with which they, like me, were
spending the day's waning moments; the state
of mind that enabled my open-ended attention,
governed by the idea that the view isn't everything.
PHOTOS BY BERNARD ST-DENIS



Landscapes - Winter 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Landscapes - Winter 2019

TO BEGIN WITH | POUR COMMENCER
WRITERS | NOS RÉDACTEURS
PROLOGUE > FR_ EN_LP
ESSAY | ESSAI LA BEAUTÉ COMME EXPºÉRIENCE
THREE PILLAR CONCEPTS OF CHINESE LANDSCAPE AESTHETICS
LA BEAUTÉ D’UNE INFRASTRUCTURE VIVANTE
SOUS LES ÉTOILES
BEAUTIFUL BOKEH – ACTIVATING THE WINTER LANDSCAPE THROUGH COLOUR
METAMORPHOUS
UNE ÉTRANGE BEAUTÉ
CRITIQUE
I KEEP TAKING THE SAME PHOTO
THE PARTING SHOT | UNE DERNIÈRE SALVE
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - Intro
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - cover1
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - cover2
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 3
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 4
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 5
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 6
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 7
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - TO BEGIN WITH | POUR COMMENCER
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 9
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - WRITERS | NOS RÉDACTEURS
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 11
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 12
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 13
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - PROLOGUE > FR_ EN_LP
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 15
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 16
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 17
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 18
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 19
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - ESSAY | ESSAI LA BEAUTÉ COMME EXPºÉRIENCE
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 21
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 22
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 23
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 24
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - THREE PILLAR CONCEPTS OF CHINESE LANDSCAPE AESTHETICS
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 26
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 27
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - LA BEAUTÉ D’UNE INFRASTRUCTURE VIVANTE
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 29
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 30
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 31
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - SOUS LES ÉTOILES
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 33
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - BEAUTIFUL BOKEH – ACTIVATING THE WINTER LANDSCAPE THROUGH COLOUR
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 35
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 36
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 37
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - METAMORPHOUS
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 39
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 40
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 41
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - UNE ÉTRANGE BEAUTÉ
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 43
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 44
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 45
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 46
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 47
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - CRITIQUE
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 49
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - I KEEP TAKING THE SAME PHOTO
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 51
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 52
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 53
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 54
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 55
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 56
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 57
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 58
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 59
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 60
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - 61
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - THE PARTING SHOT | UNE DERNIÈRE SALVE
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - cover3
Landscapes - Winter 2019 - cover4
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