SEEING THE FOREST FOR
This project argues that traditional modes of landscape conservation fail to highlight the complex social, political, ecological and economic dynamics that work to create cultural landscapes. On Vancouver Island, the ongoing tension between logging and conservation continues to reinforce the polarizing resource-wilderness dichotomy that has been so intrinsic to western perceptions of landscape.
By proposing ‘gardening’ as the programmatic basis for site intervention, this project suggests an alternative cultural landscape narrative for Vancouver Island’s forests.
Vancouver Island is a landscape caught between two ideas – resource extraction and wilderness. While ads for tourism evoke a vast, open and wild landscape, aerial satellite images reveal an almost island-wide patchwork of industrial logging cutblocks. How do these two landscapes exist simultaneously? What do they reveal about our relationship to our forests and our understanding of our place within them?
In an effort to address these questions, this project proposes gardening as a framework for cultural landscape conservation. It argues that as an ongoing process in program, form making, and narrative, gardening offers a relationship to landscape that is neither human nor wild, but rather a dynamic means of interaction between cultural values and landscape processes.