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Boy Soldier Gardener
While on a recent clicker-happy run through the interweb, I stumbled upon this beautiful photo taken by Flickr user “haupthase.”

Boy Soldier Gardener

Of course, I can't resist quoting J.B. Jackson. On his time as an intelligence officer in World War II and how that experience had given him a heightened sense of environmental awareness, he writes: “the military landscape provided us with a spatial order dedicated to sudden and violent movement, a set of relationships based on total subordination and anonymity, and a sensory experience based on death and the premonition of death; it was the ugly caricature of a landscape. Nevertheless, it functioned, and even its horrors instructed us in what a good landscape, and a good social order, should be.”

In other words, to train better landscape architects, reinstitute the draft and send them off to boot camp. Embed BLA, MLA I, MLA II, and PhD candidates in combat missions, for in order to understand landscapes, one must experience how they “satisfy elementary needs,” how they “establish bonds between people, the bond of language, of manners, of the same kind of work and leisure, and how [they] should contain the kind of spatial organization which fosters such experiences and relations; spaces for coming together, to celebrate, spaces for solitude, spaces that never change and are always as memory depicted them.”

You might object, arguing 1) that you're a pacifist; 2) that you can probably acquire similar range of skills from somewhere else; and 3) that it all sounds very much like touchy-feely psychoanalytical drivel.

However, 1) landscape architecture is not a pacifist profession; 2) you can, but probably not in the very short amount of time available to you in college; and 3) the visceral, concrete quality of experience afforded by combat -- for instance, your best friend dies right in front of you, a bullet through his head, simply because someone had misinterpreted the topography, exposing the entire platoon to an ambush -- should translate into actual results, conditioning students to read landscape more critically and with keener perception.

So how about it?
8 COMMENTS —
  • some lo-cale loser
  • March 28, 2006 at 12:59:00 PM CST
  • " landscape architecture is not a pacifist profession"

    This is a turn of phrase worthy of the first edtion of Pruned t-shirts and bumperstickers. Bravo. I have a job interview today, and I'm tempted to open with this line. But I'll probably just end up tattooing it on my arm for no one else to see.

    In the tiresome NEA debates of past decades, there were popular bumper-stickers that read "art can't hurt you," which was suppsed to articulate the pro-art point of view, somehow. I so badly wanted to print up little addenda stickers that read: "it damn well better!" But that's an idea that remains in my head.

    Anyhow, nicely stated, Mr. Trevi, whoever you are.


  • J.Zen
  • March 28, 2006 at 3:00:00 PM CST
  • " landscape architecture is not a pacifist profession"

    Spot on with the t-shirt ;-) Now I totally want one!

    Been following Pruned for a while now, and enjoy it very much - nice site... keep up the good work!

    You're in my links list now.

    J.Zen

    Fell free to check out my Landscape architecture + urban design blog lost horizon


  • e-tat
  • March 29, 2006 at 2:01:00 PM CST
  • Okay, enough about the co-production of regimented bodies, minds and landscapes. What really needs addressing is the chthonic landscape, and what's going on down there:

    "If you heat a mobile phone battery, it tends to explode, and the first reports were about explosions, and that's how they started noticing this trend."


  • Alexander Trevi
  • March 29, 2006 at 9:38:00 PM CST
  • cb: And there's also "WET© is good" as proposed by e-tat here. And there's no better time to sell these t-shirts now that American college students are currently on their spring break.

    Perhaps the line would be called Prêt-à-Paysager.


  • e-tat
  • March 30, 2006 at 2:19:00 AM CST
  • Uh Oh. WET© T-shirts, Spring Break, militarisation. This sounds horribly wrong for some reason. Or maybe, as you infer, an amazing marketing opportunity.

    You know, the Army has been unable to escape that viciously effective deteournment of their old recruiting slogan: Join the Army, travel to distant lands. See exotic people. And kill them.

    But this here's a chance to come back with something somewhat more redeeming. Join the Army. Travel to distant lands. Make new landscapes. And Cemeteries.

    The front of the t-shirt reads WET© is good! The back, well, that might read: Chthonic Technician. Army.


  • DJR
  • April 7, 2006 at 6:07:00 AM CDT
  • Could a corollary of this be that if you meet a self-professed "landscape architect" (maybe in the road, like Buddha) you should shoot them?


  • Alexander Trevi
  • April 7, 2006 at 7:28:00 PM CDT
  • Their decaying bodies, sprawled under that bodhi tree like so, would be their own greatest work.


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