Paul Halliday will be writing an introduction to the forthcoming publication.
Anthony Iles writing addresses the relation between common land and the politics of representation. Iles has written about the photography in the project as a means of developing to his ideas of the commons which he argues has the potential to radicalise a notion of landscape and raise questions of existing assumptions about land use and property relations, our relationship to nature and to the environment, which historically were not always so.
The paper explores the complexities of the ‘utopic’ register of the images with a particular focus on the questions they raise about the ways in which affective and aesthetic responses to landscape are always politically mediated and moulded. Though noting the lack of overt moral rhetoric in the photographs, and contrasting that with some other approaches in environmental art, it suggests that all the images can be read as questioning, in diverse ways, the continuing realism and practicality of our dominant culture and ways of life.
It is tempting to assume that, as low bio-diversity landscapes are less stable than richer ones, ecologically speaking, they would be less pleasing to the eye. In the quest for a new ethics of ecology, the presence of ‘bio-diversity’ may be most eloquently explored through aesthetics, rather than logical argumentation. The work of four photographic artists, curated by Virginia Nimarkoh, offers a diverse set of aesthetic experiences of landscape. While there is no explicit discussion of ethical concerns, each artist offers an aesthetic experience that enables the viewer to experience their own sense of the ‘good’ (and the less good).