The course deals with the phenomenon of landscape and in particular with the forces behind the visual appearance of individual landscapes. What exactly is “landscape”? How do landscapes evolve? Why do certain cultural landscapes have certain characteristics - or in other words, why do they look like they look? What natural conditions are they based on and what economic, social and political circumstances and developments have shaped them? These and other questions are intended to draw attention to processes that cause and drive the change of cultural landscapes.
The aspect of intentionality is particularly interesting: Landscapes are created on the one hand as "by-products" of cultivating or exploiting territories for the needs of human existence, on the other hand they are deliberately designed as works of art and communication media.
The course focuses on a cultural history of European landscapes (with digressions to the history and theory of non-European landscapes). It offers both a general overview and a basis for further in-depth studies in this field of research. Using significant examples, selected periods of the distant and recent past and present are described and analysed. In this way, different attitudes and approaches to the environment (as space and “raw material” for the creation of habitats) are identified. Interactions between socio-economic, political and technical developments and the transformation of landscapes are pointed out selectively and connections between scientific achievements, landscape and garden art and the other arts of the respective epochs are discussed. Special attention is paid to the transformation of spaces through building and the relationship between architecture and landscape.
Theories of space and landscape are embedded in these considerations: Together with the history of the selected landscapes, the approaches, i. e. the theoretical frameworks and perspectives, are also reflected upon.
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