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Creative Research Lab

Plots and Schemes - April 2005

drawing by Eric Zimmerman

Eric Zimmerman
title, 2004
ink, pencil, pen and collage on paper

The landscape is a hybrid space. We search for the picturesque, the sublime, a perfect vista, but rarely do we experience what is actually there. we don't have to - the perfect vista is now supplied by roadside turnoffs marked with instructive signs: "Panoramic View." Communications towers dot the horizon, interfering with our anticipated experience of a pastoral, untouched land. Images mediate the landscape, even as we are standing in it. the sublime is an impossible experience, and we are greeted instead with a merger of power-lines and sky. Open space is measured by railroad tracks. Within our urban centers, the horizon often vanishes completely.

The landscape is invented, simultaneous and mobile. Our places overlap one another. Each new place is made up of parts of others within our memory. Nothing is singular, everything is multifaceted - a stacked, folded, and intertwined fabrication of individual meanings and particular places. A product of our perceptions and the actual environment, our experience in the land is a hybridization of pre-existing imagery, memories, and utopian fantasy. The landscape morphs and shifts as we walk through it. Our sense of place is precarious, our coordinates few. Our search for place has a symbiotic relationship with displacement.

I am interested in recreating this sense of displacement and simultaneity in the landscape through disappointing our expectations of perspective, of place, and of form. Creating a representational space that is familiar yet remains indefinite, the drawings embody the flux that occurs within our experience of the land. I define drawing as a process of fabrication. The drawings are constructions made from fragments of pre-existing places, book margins, grids, and sections of maps, in combination with different methods of drawing: brush and ink, pencil and a flexible curve, collage, and pen. In building a drawing I relate individual experience in and of the landscape to larger issues of how we create and perceive place through mapping, architecture, and urban theory. For instance, how many, or how few, visual clues do we need to read something as a landscape? Will a simple suggestion of a horizon line do? Or perhaps we need more clues - receding space, objects that help us to determine our scale or the color of the sky.