Making maps that highlight place instead of homogenizing it.
As landscape architects have shown an increasing interest in territorial design, including the spaces of agricultural commodity production known as working landscapes, maps and aerial images have gained renewed importance as design and representation tools. While mapping and aerial imagery can convey scale and territorial relationships, they fail to capture the unique qualities and experiential eccentricities of the working landscape. Territorial maps effectively other the working landscape, defining it as a space to be experienced and understood from afar. Moreover, such representational techniques pose the risk of homogenizing local space and identity, often defining the rural landscape as either an ecological repository or urban-industrial staging ground. This reinforces a disciplinary blindness to the nuances of working landscapes, as evidenced in the persistent use of the term “hinterland.” From the German hinter ‘behind’ land, the 19th century term refers to uncharted territories or the areas “surrounding a town or port and served by it” or “an area lying beyond what is visible or known”. The term therefore defines such landscapes either in relation to city or something which is so far beyond sight that it has become unknowable.
In order to move beyond the vagaries of the “hinterland,” landscape architects must develop new tools in order to more effectively describe and design within the working landscape. This work explores the potential of pictorial cartography and digital printmaking to answer this call.