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Paisajes post-industriales y restauración ambiental: un visión alternativa

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Tenemos aquí unos extractos de dos entrevistas aparecidas en Archinect que proporcionan una visión alternativa del paisaje, las perturbaciones humanas y la arquitectura del paisaje y la restauración ecológica. Lejos de la visión idílica, y escasamente real, de la fotografía de la naturaleza, se sitúa el trabajo de David Maisel. El trabajo de Julie Bargmann no pretende convertir antiguos paisajes industriales en nuevos jardines, sólo recuperarlos ambientalmente al tiempo que conservan su valor cultural.

terminal mirage

Geoff Manaugh (el autor de BLDGBLOG) entrevista a David Maisel, fotógrafo que utiliza la imagen aérea para captar la estética y evolución de paisajes alterados por el hombre (minas, zonas urbanas, lagos desecados y contaminados, nubes de contaminantes, …). Un  “fotógrafo de la naturaleza” (un término en el que no se siente representado) muy particular, que se interesa no por la belleza de la naturaleza inalterada sino por los paisajes modificados por el hombre. En su web pueden visitarse todos sus proyectos. Entre otros son especialmente recomendables:


Lake Project:

The history of this region [Owens Lake region] is the stuff of California legend: a story of engineers, politicians, and big land owners working together to divert water to the rapidly growing desert city of Los Angeles, generating a thriving agricultural industry and an environmental disaster in the process. Beginning in 1913, the now infamous Los Angeles reclamation project effectively diverted water from Owens Valley to the Los Angeles Aqueduct, providing a substantial amount of the city’s water supply. By 1926, the lower Owens River and Owens Lake were essentially depleted of water, leaving a vast exposed salt flat with unusually concentrated mineral levels and extremely vulnerable topsoil. The situation has been exacerbated by fierce winds that sweep through the valley and dislodge carcinogenic particles from the lakebed, creating a pervasive dust cloud known as the Keeler fog (named for the town on the east side of the lake); the dust contains carcinogens such as nickel, cadmium, arsenic, as well as sodium, chlorine, iron, calcium, potassium, sulfur, aluminum, and magnesium.

Terminal Mirage:

For over 20 years David Maisel has focused his cameras on specific US terrains as seen from low-flying planes, creating startling images of disturbing yet beautiful environments. After concentrating on copper and coal mines in the 1980s, he documented the nearly-drained Owens Lake, which is located on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Southern California. He also shifted from black-and-white to color images and considerably increased the size of his prints while conceptually pushing the tension between abstraction and recognizable realities. His most recent works feature another shift in subject ---- to the Great Salt Lake, and in the levels of abstraction as well as the disturbingly engaging duality between beauty and repulsion.


Certain spatial fears seem endemic to the modern metropolis, and Los Angeles defines this term in ways that no other American city can approximate. This amorphous skein of strip malls and gated developments, highway entrance and exit ramps, lays unfurled over the landscape like a sheet over a recalcitrant cadaver.

Por otra parte Heather Ring entrevista a Julie Bargmann de D.I.R.T. (Dump It Right There) Studio. Entre otros temas interesantes tratados en la entrevista, merece la pena reseñarse su explicación del papel del diseño como herramienta para hacer visible el trabajo de científicos e ingenieros que restauran ecosistemas y su aproximación a la restauración que se aleja de los paisajes idealizados (aparentemente naturales, pero totalmente artificiales):

For the design guidelines you set up for the EPA - and more generally -- when you collaborate with these environmental scientists and engineers - what do you see as the role of the designer?

The key thing is for the designer to bring in a holistic approach: cultural, economic, ecological, and even spiritual. Make the process visible, physical. Engineers are thrilled because now their work extends beyond just a functional requirement. Storm-water management becomes poetic. A designer helps make legible the culturally significant act of engineering these systems.

Scientists - often tucked away in basement laboratories - are thrilled to have designers test the applications of their work. The artist Mel Chin did this with phytoremediation. He literally pulled the scientist Rufus Cheney out of the basement laboratory of the US Department of Agriculture and put phytoremediation on the map, because he basically made a garden and put it out there on the world. The scientist Clayton Rugh has this laboratory on a major thoroughfare in the Ford Rouge Plant. So passersby can say "Look, there's Dr. Rughe and his lab assistants, working in the garden," with the backdrop of the coke oven. So that's the role of the designer.


Could you talk more about your conception of the sublime? What is the “toxic beauty” in land scarred by with mine refuse and waters laced with acid? And for that matter, how has your work been received? Do you find resistance from communities that have more traditional notions of beauty and nature?

That's the biggest challenge I face: regulations are a pain, but perceptions are the bigger obstacle. For most part with landscape, expectations are locked into a pastoral ideal. But when I've re-presented these industrial landscapes to the community and posed the question, "Do you think these are beautiful?" they will say, "You know what? It's a stretch for me - but they are." And I think they're responding to their experience actually working on these sites. They realize, "This is important to my memory." Clearly they're not proud of a toxic legacy, but with that comes a memory of their hard work and supporting a family - so to them, there's a beauty to it.

But this is only if they're even given an opportunity to see that. There are so many people working out there who only show the community a menu of idealized landscapes - they don't even give them a chance to respond to the industrial landscape itself. When I was in Chicago, I asked, "Have you taken Mayor Daley to see these quarries, basins and landfills?” Revealing these landscapes makes some people incredibly nervous. At the Mayor's Institute, what you hear is: they're ugly, they're blight, degraded, useless. But if you asked the current generation, they might use the word "cool.”

Tanto David Maisel como Julie Bargmann nos muestran como los paisajes, naturales o artificiales, son una construcción humana (dependen de nuestra visión subjetiva). La destrucción del pasado humano de un paisaje mediante su “ajardinamiento” se podría considerar el extremo de lo artificial que logra una estética genérica y vacía. En el fondo responde a un acto fallido del pensamiento políticamente correcto que intenta borrar, avergonzado, cualquier traza de nuestro pasado. Restaurar reconociendo la historia humana de un paisaje y conservando la identidad de su relación con sus usuarios es un ejercicio de responsabilidad y respeto hacia nuestra historia humana y ambiental.



Link: Autor: Juan Freire. Licencia Creative Commons

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3.26 Copyright (C) 2008 / Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."


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