The meaning of landscape from the perspective of scientists - commercial landscaping services


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The meaning of landscape from the perspective of scientists


How landscapes are distinguished

     Landscape is at least as complex a concept as Culture and Nature. Here it alludes to one of several possible stations on a continuum of comparable categories between Culture and Nature.
    To Lefebvre the power of landscape does not derive from the fact that it offers itself as a spectacle. Rather, it originates from the fact that it, ‘as mirror and mirage, … presents any susceptible viewer with an image at once true and false of a creative capacity which the subject (or Ego) is able, during a moment of marvellous self-deception, to claim as his own.’ Icon, Index and Symbol are the concepts known to most people who have a slight acquaintance with Peirce. they are used to describe the three modalities of the Object-relation of the sign. In line with this, we distinguish Landscape as Habitat, Area and Symbol.

1- Habitat

    The relationship between Sense and Nature we designate as Habitat. this word is not crossed out like the others because it refers to a phenomenon considered manifest and as such perceivable to others, but only describable from the outside, i.e., at the level of Secondness. Nevertheless it can be cognised as an example of the practices of Culture and Nature being two sides of the same coin.

     To Peirce an Icon is a sign which refers to the Object that it denotes merely by virtue of characteristics of its own, and which it possesses just the same, whether any such object actually exists or not . Further, it has no dynamic connection with the object it represents; it simply happens that its qualities resemble those of that object, and excite analogous sensations in the mind, for which it is a likeness. A diagram is one of the examples Peirce gives of an Icon.

     Lefebvre introduces Spatial practice as a concept referring to production and reproduction of particular locations and spatial settings characteristic of specifc social formations such as burial mounds and holy groves. Spatial practices presuppose the use of the body (i.e. the use of hands, gestures and the sensory organs) and ensure continuity and some degree of cohesion, which implies a guaranteed level of competence and a specifc level of performance. Inspired by the above and by biology, we will employ the concept Habitat to refer, from the outside, to the interdependence between a living species and its places of living, meaning that leaving such a place might cause the death of the subject in question. Further, it refers to the innumerable qualitatively different combinations of the potentialities of Sense and Nature, i.e. of all forms of human spatial relations that have ever existed and will ever come into being.

     A genuine peasant is probably so attached to his felds that his body is marked by the hard work of cultivating the soil. Moreover, he would rather lose an arm than give up part of a feld for a new road, because ‘you just don’t sell your ancestors’. A suitable Icon of his rooted-ness could be the old oak tree in his courtyard.

     On the other hand, the spatial practice of a genuine farmer could be represented by a huge manure storage shed, signifying his dreams of combining the fertility of theland and his own qualifcations in developing the best cattle farm within sight.

2- Area

    At the level of Secondness, Peirce assigns the notion Index to the sign. It is determined by its Dynamic Object, by virtue of being in a real relation to it, as a matter of fact  . It serves to identify its object and assure us of its existence and presence   to the extent that it would lose its character as a sign if its object were removed, but not lose that character if there were no Interpretant  . While Icons stress likeness, Indicies stress differences. In 1860–1890 Peirce worked for the Coast and Geodetic Survey and developed what he labelled a Quincuncial Projection of the earth . Despite that, he used a photo instead of a map .

    Lefebvre employs the notion Representations of space to refer to the spaces of scientists, planners, urbanists, sub-dividers and social engineers, all of whom identify what is ‘lived’ and what is ‘perceived’ with what is ‘conceived’.

   These people have a practical impact on spaces, in the sense that they modify spatial ‘textures’, informing them by knowledge and ideology; interventions occur by way of construction, not in a physical sense as roads or buildings, but as reproductions of social practices. Lefebvre also identifes the ongoing exchange between the members of society as taking place in space, where people relate and situate themselves, causing them to assume different roles and positions in society.

    Here we employ the term Area, thereby indicating that what we have in mind are the quantitative differences in size and content of sections of land such as properties, regions or countries, the shapes and contents of which are defned by different types of knowledge, i.e. Experiences such as landscape ecology, anthropology, sociology, cultural history, geography, etc. As mentioned, a map might serve as an example of an Area, meaning that it stands in a real relationship to the Environment, in the sense that if, for example, a lake is drained or a hill used as gravel, the Object-relation is changed and the representation has to be re-represented in order for the causal relation to be true by necessity.

    Likewise, changes caused by natural forces such as the increase of the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere might cause a scientist to look for and develop explanations for what results, such as pollution from cars, a hole in the ozone layer or sunspot activity. In sum, Landscape as Area here refers to the ongoing mutual exchange beJette  tween Experience and Environment. To the peasant, the specifc property marked by boundary stakes is an Area, whereas to the farmer it is rather represented by the land register map, not only of the felds he owns, but including the ones he leases .

3- Symbol

     To Peirce  all conventional signs are Symbols. Further, a Symbol is a sign, which refers to the Object that it denotes by virtue of a law, usually an association of general ideas, which operates to cause the Symbol to be interpreted as referring to that Object . In other words, the value of a Symbol is that it serves to make thought and conduct rational, and enables us to predict the future.

   Symbols grow and come into being out of other signs, particularly Icons, here Habitats, and they can deceive or lie, since the association between a Symbol and its object is arbitrary. It does not denote a particular thing, but a kind of thing. Consequently its interpretation can be changed at will, or overruled by new agreements .

    Lefebvre introduces the notion Representational spaces, which to some extent can be compared to a Peircean Symbol. Representational spaces are ‘lived’ through their associated images and symbols . Sometimes they are coded, sometimes not. they are the spaces of ‘inhabitants’ and ‘users’, as well as of artists or philosophers, who aspire to ‘describe’ them and no more. Space at this level is not subject to practical changes. Rather it is passively experienced through imagination, which seeks to change and appropriate it .

    Representational space is concrete and subjective and it is here that the ‘private’ realm asserts itself often against the public one (Lefebvre 2000: 362). It is also highly complex, because culture intervenes here. Products of Representational spaces are symbolic works, often unique and sometimes able to set in motion ‘aesthetic’ trends that, after having provoked for a time, run out of steam.

  A painting of the above-mentioned oak tree in the middle of the yard can serve as an example of a Symbol of the place where a peasant lives, whereas a bankbook would serve the same function for the farmer. Above we made a distinction between the three modalities of Landscape: Habitat, Area and Symbol as Potentialities, Actualities and Habits respectively. Next we will illustrate how the rubric is used as an analytical tool .



    << Today his ideas have gained common recognition and replaced the Creationist idea for most people in western cultures except for the ones forwarding ideas about Intelligent Design. What has happened is a movement from Firstness to thirdness and back again, one paradigm being exchanged for another, as illustrated by the arrow in . the story can also be explained as a confrontation between persons carrying completely different Meanings of Landscape, Darwin’s meaning challenging the meaning of the clerics and the supporters of the Intelligent Design idea now provoking the scientifc establishment.
     The continuation of semiosis in this way can also be demonstrated by rolling the diagram into a cylinder, the consequence being that Firstness follows thirdness. this is simultaneously the strength and the weakness of the rubric: a strength because it demonstrates an openness to development of new ideas, and a weakness as it complicates the distinguishing of Habitat from Symbol and vice versa.
     Finally, development can also be an effect of changes from the outside, as when natural or man-made changes in the Environment force the interpreter, for example the scientifc establishment, to develop new explanations of what is at stake in order to make their maps trustworthy. >>


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