Assignment 2: Your Landscape Symbols

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Time frame

Weeks 1 – 4: 31.03. - 21.04.2016

Task Description

  • With this exercise we invite you to take a new and at the same time differentiated view at your everyday landscape. The task is to identify symbols in your personal surroundings (past or present) and consider what these symbols might mean with regard to landscape and democracy.
  • The symbols you identify can be a variety of things. They can be sculptures referring to historical or political events, public art, wayfinding, advertisement and marketing signage, religious symbols or the architectural/urban form itself.
  • We are often unaware of the symbols embedded in our landscapes, or we simply take them for granted. However, their existence is based on cultural and political conventions of a community and its underlying power structure. Such conventions (and their symbols) have come into being at specific moments in time, usually of the past, and hence they are also expressions of 'landscape and memory' (see Simon Schama's article in the suggested readings).
  • While Power structures may change, landscape symbols may be permanent, edited, reinterpreted or altogether removed. On the other hand, symbols can also appear outside of conventional power structures, generated spontaneously or tactically to call for alternative interpretations of mainstream ideas.
  • This session highlights the following questions, which will be answered in the process: How and why did the symbols you identify appear in your landscape? Did their meaning change along with socio-political, economic, environmental or cultural changes in your region, or country? What do these symbols mean to you today? Are they meaningful to more than just one cultural group? Are they shared across cultures?

Sequence of activities

  • Weeks 1: Identify landscape symbols in your everyday environment and upload a visual on the wiki until 7th of April, simply go to the image upload area for this. Your login details for the wiki will be send per e-mail.
  • Week 2/3: Complete your template on the wiki (images, analytical drawings, reflection) until 17th of April
  • Week 2/3: Reflect your findings in your group and prepare a presentation until 20th of April
  • Week 4: Present your findings in the group plenary on 21st of April 2016
    • Each group has 20-25 minutes to present + 10 minutes discussion
    • Please use this PPT template
    • Send the PPT to your tutor before Thursday, 21st of April

Evaluation Criteria

  • Good visual representation of landscape symbol(s) on the wiki
  • Use of original materials and images (taken by yourself in your own landscape context), no copy-paste from online resources!!!
  • Rich and nuanced reflection (engaging more than one perspective i.e. social, historical, political, religious, ecological, aesthetic…)
  • Quality of oral presentation (i.e. time management, clarity, expression, quality of presentation slides)