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Title:Transparent animism: a framework for participating in ecological design as agonism
Author(s):Roberts, Jessica
Advisor(s):Fulton, Gale
Department / Program:Landscape Architecture
Discipline:Landscape Architecture
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
politics of ecology
Abstract:Transparent Animism is a framework for landscape architects to participate in ecological design as agonism. We are experiencing an anthropogenic ecological crisis and are in need of new ways to relate to the rest of the biosphere. Through animism, an ontological order where humans and nonhumans are both seen as subjects, and agonism, a political theory that looks at the role of political conflict in democracy positively, landscape architects can develop a practice that recognizes the importance of ecological struggle itself. Since the enlightenment, colonialism, and the scientific revolution, the modernist project has defined itself in opposition to animism. Animism counters positivism and anthropogenic free-market ideology and challenges the binary worldview that embraces the categorical distinction between human and nonhuman existence. Once these categories are no longer inherent, and are seen as mediated, they become free for political debate. By using animism as a way to pursue politics through form, landscape architects can use subjectivity as a tool to create alternative frameworks where the boundaries between human and nonhuman existence are open to discussion. Designs can interrupt passive experience to build broader constituencies that support a more egalitarian practice of ecological design. Landscape architects have the skill set to reconstruct our collective imaginary and to forge new relationships. This thesis offers a set of design criteria: associative, semi-empirical, iterative, and capricious illustrated by four speculative projects that begin to negotiate the boundaries between human and nonhuman existence through contact with site and empathy for the inputs and outputs of our designs.
Issue Date:2013-05-24
Rights Information:Creative Commons
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-05-24
Date Deposited:2013-05

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