“Listen, a wind died. Do you not realize that we are gardeners and not flowers?”, by Moirika Reker

There is today an overall excessive amount of stuff. The world is crowded with images, objects and constructions. This visual excessiveness adds to the ecological time-bomb we’ve arrived at and the devastation of the natural world. How is an artist, a planner, an architect to go on producing visual work? An ethical practice has to have as basis a deep respect for all sentient and non sentient beings (so as to include not only humans, but nonhuman animals, trees, plants, ecosystems and also water, air, stones…). We are but one (other) element. To recognize that we only share, briefly, this place, that we do not own the planet, forces us to reframe the way we build landscape. To be able to do that it is important to understand the kind of relations we establish with our living environment (social, mental, political, aesthetical) and to what extent we are shaped by it.

The way a landscape is built constructs a society’s fabric of ideas and thinking modes, that in turn is revealed in that society’s way of constructing and of inhabiting and relating both to space (natural and built environments) and to the other. Not only does this stems from values imposed on us or inherited by our culture(s), but also by something we apprehend unconsciously from the everyday in our living environments. I will call this fabric a Moral Landscape. In the main part of this paper I shall examine the inextricable bonds between physical space and the social and moral insertion of the human: how physical spaces determine the actions, behaviors and thoughts from those who inhabit them. Reflecting on the cause and consequence relations between Physical and Moral Landscapes.

I will then propose that in order to produce a sustainable, ethical work, and build an informed moral landscape it is first and foremost necessary to clean, to remove the excessive. To be able to implement in human-constructed environments an awareness of our vital dependency of an entire ecosystem, an understanding that every project has ecological implications (both locally and on the natural world at large), it will be then necessary to focus on the relationship of a site with its surroundings, to critically weigh the need to construct, and to be aware of how that construction (if it is to proceed) will affect both the experience of being in that space and the space itself. Having man as starting point and measure (even when planning a park one is designing it for people to use it, so one should have man’s wellbeing in mind) – but man as part of an intricately intertwined web of diverse factors, not relegating to an inferior degree of importance the well-being of the other elements of that web – awakening ethical and aesthetical awareness by bringing nature back to the urban (built) environment.

Moirika Reker, Artist, PT


Harvard Citation Guide: Reker, M. (2012) “Listen, a wind died. Do you not realize that we are gardeners and not flowers?”, International Society for the Philosophy of Architecture, [blog] 20 May 2012, Available at: https://isparchitecture.wordpress.com. [Accessed: 01 June 2012].

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