Curating Wild Landscapes

So here’s the pitch.

If wild land and wild landscapes in Scotland are essentially a cultural artifact, albeit one underpinned with irreplaceable ecological resources, we need expert curators to define, protect, preserve, document and promote it.

Why not? we have expert curators in museums and art galleries that help us critique, present and preserve all that is the best in our arts and culture so why not add our landscape to this role.

It’s certainly not the most out of the box idea I’ve ever heard of but one that is hard to find out there on the web. I did find this small text from Nottingham university relating to research around pervasive media ( I’m assuming this includes augmented reality) which I think is really pointing in the right direction in that it will allow a more detailed and multivalent reading of what wild land is, as curated by experts in the field. These curators need a real breadth of understanding of history, ecology, land use, aesthetics, psychology, arts, anthropology, archaeology, economics, and Gaelic language. 


Curating the Landscape – Museum, City, Country, Community. 

Theme leaders: Dr Gary Priestnall (School of Geography), Dr Jonathan Hale, (School of the Built Environment) and Professor Mike Jackson. The use of location-based technologies to create ‘mediascapes’ in which digital media are attached to physical landscapes has the potential to transform our experience of the everyday world in domains as diverse as tourism, education and games. However, the widespread adoption of mediascapes beyond is limited by a lack of understanding of how digital media can best be mapped onto their physical counterparts and how the ‘curatorial voice’ can guide the viewer to successfully contextualise digital media as part of an overall experience. Moreover, we need to gain these understandings across a range of sites and spaces, from indoor settings such as museums, to the outdoor environments of city, countryside, and wilderness. We also need to connect our insights into the nature of mediascapes to the particular subjectivities of viewers and users and to comprehend the range of cultural factors that shape perceptions and experiences among different communities, drawing on research into migration, identity and social cohesion. This theme will foster new collaborations with researchers from Geography, Architecture, History and Classics (including Nick Baron and Katharina Lorenz) who bring new perspectives on these issues and settings. Feasibility projects might explore questions such as: to what extent can heritage information be delivered to people to engage them in a meaningful way? How do people contextualise this information in terms of both their physical and cultural location and their relationship with the ‘curatorial voice’? and how do people construct knowledge from various types of media in a particular context? The results will inform the development of location-aware applications, distributed platforms, and interfaces and lead to new understandings within the arts and humanities of how individuals and social groups experience the landscape.


Interesting. Time to investigate more. 
What we do need from this is an accepted range and area of wild land, and landscape that is protected for its particular qualities as supported by a diverse and deep range of understanding of the sciences, histories and uses that make it what it is. Maybe, as was noted in the conference, we need a zoning system like that which is operated in other European countries, but ultimately designation can only support so much. It is clear to me that drawing pylons on a work by McCulloch or McTaggart or Landseer would be considered an act of extreme vandalism on unique, nearly priceless objects and yet we are facing even worse from development of landscape of priceless beauty and ecology across the Highlands. 
Ultimately wild land is finite.

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