image: Lois Weinberger, Field Work, 2010
I have an obsession with maps, and whilst tracing my journey with the shepherds in the Drome, I saw a landscape where the lines and dashes, elevations and points of interest came off the page as they intermingled with my memories of conversations, sheep messing about, dogs running to keep them in line, the fresh smell of green, tired feet with another corner to turn, and sublime vistas once at the top pasture.
With this overlapping between typology and emotion, and the act of personalization and informing of and by landscape, I found the work of Austrian artist, Lois Weinberger, and in particular Field Work, 2010.
Weinberger explores ‘urban ecology and nature’s continuous adaptation to human presence and disturbance of the land’. The artist’s concern is the relationship between nature and civilisation, and as an initiator of the debate around the relationship between culture and nature, he has created a poetic, political network. For example, Lois Weinberger’s 2002 solo exhibition in Gallery 1 of fungi on the walls, explored ‘urban ecology and nature’s continuous adaptation to human presence and disturbance of the land’.
‘For his contribution to the changing presentation of the Street Art Passage Vienna, Weinberger drew a topographical map of a mental landscape on which he labeled the contour lines with plant names rather than elevation measurements. Some of the zones within the terrain are clearly favorable biotopes where the listed plants proliferate, their names amassing like flocks of birds. Other zones are entirely empty: not even a thistle has conquered these elevations to date. But how beautiful are all the names in the valleys! Every random reading of assorted designations sounds like a magic spell, with names like marsh tea, whitebeam, saw wort, burnet, and fragrant orchid. For Lois Weinberger, the map shows our environment from a different perspective: “I want to rid cartography of the phantasm of totality. It is a map that has been emptied and refilled with flocks of words.”’ – http://www.betonblumen.org/artist_weinberger.html