Reflective Journal Week 49, 30 Aug – 5 Sep 2020

Rethinking the Quoit related theories inspired me a lot. Two extracts that originally prepared for the essay has become particularly interesting. 

[As Scott et al. (2009) reason, the experiences which were undertaken in the landscape can inform activities which are transferred to other locations. If individuals continue these activities they will choose places which can allow them to be who they see themselves as being (Dixon & Durrheim, 2000). Consequently places develop where new landscapes can provide anchors through the activities undertaken. ]

Scott, A., Carter, C., Brown, K., & White, V. (2009). ‘seeing is not everything’: Exploring the landscape experiences of different publics. Landscape research, 34, 397 – 424. 

[Real landscapes however, unlike paper ones, cannot be read like texts or viewed like pictures. To get to know them, they have to be inhabited. Only by spending time in them, and becoming accustomed to the sights, sounds, odours and feelings they afford, under varying conditions of illumination and weather, can they properly “sink in:. And to appearciate their features you have to explore them on foot (or if need be, on all fours), getting a sense of how they look and feel from different angles and in different conditions. ]

Comments on Christopher Tilley: The Materiality of Stone: Explorations in Landscape Phenomenology. Oxford: Berg 2004.

I think it is safe to argue that prehistory habitants chose megaliths due to its materiality was the most likely quality that can monumentalise their existence as long as possible; also it is probably the strongest materials they mastered of. These Quoits represents the earliest evidence of human impact on Cornish landscape hence its observability has decided that the history of this landscape begins with them. As it was suggested “landscapes as material products, however, ignored their symbolic aspects. Landscapes are, indeed, created by productive forces, but they also have meanings for people and are interpreted within shifting cultural norms and fashions. They are thus symbolic as well as material. Landscapes can be seen as visual expressions of identity, certain landscapes acting as the symbols of particular places.”(Baker, 1992)

(Baker, Alan (1992), ‘Introduction: on ideology and landscape’, in Alan Baker and

Gideon Biger (eds.), Ideology and landscape in historical perspective,

Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1-14

Traditional academic approaches to landscapes saw them as ‘expressions of material culture’; landscapes were the result of human endeavour as different economic needs resulted in particular landscapes)

Quoits symbolised the very beginning of Cornish people (or, previous habitant on the land which is later named ‘Cornwall’), whose behaviour of way of living in the landscape survived the test of time and formed the earliest traceable impression. They actually represents the identity defined by the landscape. This perspective involves in a framework of identifying key points in landscape identity and a series of questions in this field: Who formed the landscape identity? How landscape identity is formed? What are key factors to assign an identity to a particular landscape? 

Unobservable landscapes obviously cannot provide the feasibility for audiences to experience them, while the observability of a particular product of the landscape (in this case, cultural triumph, a word borrowed from [The Power of Rocks by Tilley, Christopher. Bradley, Richard]) provides a perspective to interpret their meanings. Unobservability cannot deny the existence of history before evidence, however they cannot prove their existence either. If there was an archeological discovery of artefacts or pre-prehistory landscape, assumptions, deductions and imaginations based on different perspectives of interpreting such discovery would certainly create a new landscape identity, and a new identity defined by the landscape.

It aches me to develop new ideas after the essay submission. Despite I knew it is a project with ambitious size and uncountable assumptions, its development might take years even decades to perfect, it was still not a very good timing. I felt I have cleared the direction of my research, hence I must alter the PhD proposal; perceiving this MA degree as the preparation of a doctoral title is still a little bit cruel for the past 49 weeks, plus additional two that did not count in the formal list. I experienced how I understand my work evolved from “an appreciation and the eagerness of physical relocation” to “the acceptance of identity defined by landscape”. I cared about the grade too much and it tied my hands. Indeed they are important, leads me to a further development and other stuff; however, I am still afriad to see my whole life as a bigger picture, with a larger goal to achieve. As a matter of fact it is decisive for me to concern about unemployment, social and family pressure. But since I have found the direction, why don’t I just “do my best”? And if I failed, I am going to do it again. Wjat if I failed again? Then I am going to continue until I success.

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About cechenpaints

An artist, painter, illustrator based in London.