“There’s a discussion of the aesthetics in this book Stripping from the point of view of the miner and from the point of view of the ecologist. The ecologist says flatly that strip mines are just ugly and the miner says that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So you have this stalemate and I would say that’s part of the clashing aspect of the entropic tendency, in other words, two irreconcilable situations hopelessly going over the same waterfall.” Robert Smithson, Entropy Made Visible

“I came home with an absolutely churned sense of conflict over how beautiful this landscape felt, while so undeniably terrible; how forgiving sunlight is to all the things that have happened there…I told myself that this is probably one of the most poisoned places in the world. It was if the light didn’t care and the sun didn’t think…I think our fascination for what is terrible is great. Our need for beauty is great.” Emmet Gowin, Keys Are Stronger than the Doors They Open, Interview with Philip Brookman.

 In the late 20th century the imperative to reclaim brownfields and toxic sites to “productivity” energized the slumbering discipline of landscape architecture and gave rise to new conventions of landscape representation. This seminar/work- shop examines the relationship between the representation of devastation and disturbance in landscape and the corollary depiction of the post-remediated condition.

We begin with an introduction to contemporary artists and writers whose subject matter depicts landscapes of extraction, devastation, production, processing, or testing. Next, we will analyze the symbolic language of remediation of contaminated and disturbed sites in contemporary landscape architectural practice.

Throughout the course students will develop series of independent studio art projects that engages a vacant site in the Columbus area


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Nagatani, Patrick and Eugenia Parry. Nuclear Enchantment. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1991. Pezzullo, Phaedra. Toxic Tourism. University: University of Alabama Press, 2007.

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Rogers, Heather. Gone Tomorrow. New York: New Press, 2006.

Rohrbach, John Accommodating Nature: the Photographs of Frank Gohlke. Santa Fe: Center for American Places, 2007.

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Shibata, Toshio. Landscape 2. Portland: Nazraeli Press, 2008

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Spirn, Anne and Dorothea Lange. Daring to Look. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008. Stilgoe, John. Outside Lies Magic. New York: Walker & Company, 1999.

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Thompson, Joseph and Denise Markonish. Badlands: New Horizons in Landscape. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2008.

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Wilshire, Gordon, Howard The American West at Risk. Oxford Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 2008.



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