Landscape as Moving Image

The course traces the genealogy of landscape as moving image in the context of the visual-aural culture of representing time, space, and phenomena. It examines how landscapes have been integrated or utilized by sensory media (such as film, video, sound, television and photography) and its effects in producing/informing space and processes. Landscape is rarely considered as a primary character within the discussion about cinematic space as the gaze is devoted to either the character presence or the foreground construction. Therefore, the course proposes the expansion of the role of landscape in the cinematic construct beyond its allegoric or narrative-supporting backdrops for the character’s inner subjective worlds. We will frame the landscape as a major component in the definition of the cinematic space as a place and acoustic environment rather than being the setting or a locational background. The course will unfold other ways of “looking” at cinematic space and its components in relation to composition, historical contexts and other disciplines’ relevant essays. From panoramas to travel film; from westerns, to cinecittà; from narrative to avant-garde film; from scientific studies to educational productions; from documentaries to design competitions videos, landscapes are always present as the “environment” that frame us. This course pursues fundamental questions on how and when do landscapes – built and un-built environment – become the structural component in the cinematic space? What are the techniques and intellectual premises that steer alternative ways of seeing landscape other than backdrops? Ultimately, what can be borrowed from the cinematic “eye” to the landscape discipline itself – modes of perception, procedures for design, tools for representation and the unfolding of new territories for design practices?
The course will be structured through the screening of visual-aural constructs (movies and videos), the discussion of selected landscap designs and selected writings as means to position those productions/designs within its cultural, social, technological and artistic contexts. Also, there will be occasional guests (filmmakers or academics) to present their work and to engage in the discussions.