"Something Scary Something Pretty" is an ongoing investigation of the landscape of anxiety in the United States of America. This project asserts the Vietnam War as the start of the decline of the American Dream, which followed the progress and prowess afforded by World War II and the Korean War. I argue that the trauma of the Vietnam War has persists through today, albeit in different forms of horror. This project attempts to connect similarities TRAUMA, using it as a medium to connect fragmented memories, and visualize the connections by appropriating "scary" and "pretty" icons of the past half-century. The project draws from representation techniques employed by DADA artists such as Max Ernst. This ambitious project attempts to address expectations, masculinity, beauty, pain, youth, death, and other artifacts of war that persist into peacetime. Ultimately, the author hopes, that this atypical approach to 'landscape' yields to a critical examination of the normative practices of landscape architecture.
This project began with a simple inquiry, why is there pink paint on the streets of Knoxville? My project first looked into the Dogwood Trail that started in 1955 and its use of plant material to beautify "the ugliest city in America" and the heritage of garden clubs in America. However, a very timely first-time viewing of Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket (1987) interrupted the peace and reveled the absence of war in the history of the dogwood trail. Further investigation lead to the strong theme of trauma and its persistence. Trauma is a multigenerational phenomena that affects not only the first generation of victims, but consequent generations through socialization and exposure.
SPATIALIZATION: CREATING SPACES OF/FOR TRAUMA
(description in progress)
VIGNETTES: BURIAL // PREVENTION // MEMORIAL
Trauma is an powerful negative event. Because of its acute nature, it remains a fragment in experience. If that fragment is left uncategorized, trauma can manifest into a recurring condition. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) labels a condition where an individual has recurring events of stress responses. Symptoms typically include a regressed reaction to stress - e.g. tantrums, rather than thought out responses - that remove the individual from the reality they are situated in.
These collage vignettes borrow the visual languages of Max Ernst and Francis Bacon. Both artists experienced World War I and World War II and express their experiences of pain through art. This visualization technique departs significantly from the normative practices of landscape architecture. I juxtapose images of children - representing innocence and regression - with textureless icons to create three scenarios, all a response to the landscape of trauma.
THE ANATOMICAL THEATER: UNDERSTANDING THE PSYCHO-SOMATIC
War has historically been a masculine activity. Male members of DADA all grappled with the idea of the male psyche and masculinity. This short tangent into the psychosomatic effects of war, and therefore masculinity, resulted in a short flirtation with the anatomical theater.
HISTORY + MEMORY PORTRAITS
description in progress