journal of the theoretical humanities volume 9 number 2 august 2004

Gardener and garden. – Out of damp and gloomy days, out of solitude, out of loveless words directed at us, conclusions grow up in us like fungus: one morning they are there, we know not how, and they gaze upon us, morose and gray. Woe to the thinker who is not the gardener but only the soil of the plants that grow in him! Nietzsche, Daybreak

e can recognize the difficulties involved in two rather extreme attitudes toward environmental aesthetics, namely sentimentalism and technocracy. I describe these two positions briefly, introduce concepts of territory and landscape by drawing on Deleuze and Guattari and American landscape theory, and conclude by sketching some exemplary moments in the human project of making aesthetic sense of nature through designed environments or landscape architecture: gardens, for short. Aesthetic sense is always entwined with political sense, as in Nietzsche’s phrase “der Sinn der Erde.”1 Sinn should be taken as direction, as well as meaning. It is Nietzsche’s raising of that question, I would like to think, that leads Deleuze and Guattari to call him the inventor of geophilosophy. Geophilosophy and geoaesthetics aim at “new people, new earth.”


gary shapiro
TERRITORY, LANDSCAPE, GARDEN toward geoaesthetics
national parks, nature preserves, and their associated practices of tourism, photography and the like. A book like Paul Shepard’s 1967 Man in the Landscape: A Historic View of the Esthetics of Nature provides a moving and intelligent picture of human artistic and aesthetic response to the land, based on an evolutionary account of human nature; Shepard begins, for example, by analyzing how the development of the human eye is attuned to a certain kind of wooded, shadowy environment.2 Valuable as such a study is for suggesting concrete links between our embodied selves and certain kinds of surroundings – and their artistic modifications or representations – it comes dangerously close to the sentimental or nostalgic idealization of the picturesque. An opposing response, suspicious of

i territory: nostalgia, technocracy, and beyond
There is a continuing nostalgia for a pure or unspoiled nature, the sort of sentiment that fueled the popularity of Claude Lorrain’s paintings and the enthusiasm for the picturesque English landscape garden. This now seems an overly sentimental approach to many, despite the persistence of the cult of the natural in

ISSN 0969-725X print/ISSN 1469-2899 online/04/020103–13 © 2004 Taylor & Francis Ltd and the Editors of Angelaki DOI: 10.1080/0969725042000272771


as Hobbes was perhaps the first to recog- 104 . indicates their indebtedness to geological and geographical thought and their desire to think in a way that is both thoroughly immanent and pluralistic. and points to the specific historical factors that lead to transformations in taste such as the revolutionary change in the status of mountains in the eighteenth century. At the extreme. Bergson. human deterritorialization consists in a movement by which actual. We (and all living things) territorialize by staking out a space. is a specific product of the modern.” they say. including its art and philosophy. But should we be seeking an alternative. which ¨ harks back to a vanished German landscape. “Thinking. and the human interaction with the earth is a central theme of that book’s predecessor. So we might begin by seeking suggestions from thinkers who have been centrally concerned with concepts of earth and territory. at first they were taken to be signs of the painful and dangerous postlapsarian world and then they became sublime markers of an exalted natural sensibility. Martin Heidegger offered a chilling vision of what such a world would be in his conception of a totally technological world-view. and at worst they are complicit with the mythologizing geopolitics of people and soil that fueled Nazi ideology. a place: we settle down. more specifically. even by developing organs like hands and feet that allow greater flexibility with regard to its surroundings. we may find ourselves applauding the wholesale reshaping of the planet as a great conscious exercise of our freedom. human beings have tendencies both to find and invent meanings within concrete earthly territories (whether in settled or nomadic modes) and also to free themselves from these territories by political organization. Marx. Cartesian world. Anti-Oedipus. where everything is seen simply as a resource for the framing and shaping efforts of technology itself. rather than the result of a gradual evolution. deterritorialization. Gilles Deleuze and Felix ´ Guattari have made the experiment of understanding human history. and philosophy. While Deleuze and Guattari creatively extend their concepts to include more than geographical territories in a narrow sense. or the homeless person’s little stretch of sidewalk or space under the bridge. holds that nature is essentially a social construction. But the living being frees itself from the immediate confines of its environment. or to make a mark.territory. The use of tools. Deleuze and Guattari see it as a primordial upsurge of such a deterritorializing structure. garden sentimentalism. whether it is the lines that the Australian aborigines trace with their song lines. the idea of a comprehensive perspective on things. A Thousand Plateaus. less intrusive world-view? Heidegger argued that the very notion of a world-view or image of the world (Weltbild). They have articulated the theme of “geophilosophy” as a red thread running through the history of thought.3 If the first approach veers toward the naive and sentimental. leads to more options. The state. these concepts do have an especially compelling relation to what it means to live on and think with the earth. This is not to say that we should avoid the quest to find philosophical bearings in our attempt to make sense of our changing relations to land. we cultivate a field. in terms of a complex process of territorialization. On their view. if we take the earth to be nothing but our social construction. now declares that a certain assemblage of people. In their account of the origin of the state. and Freud. “takes place in the relationship of territory and the earth” and the artist is “the first person to set out a boundary stone. we mark the borders of our situation. land. not an absolute given. Nietzsche. A political state. landscape. the formation of assemblages involving implements and organisms. at best they are inspired by Holderlin’s poetry. The title of their magnum opus. the second risks complicity with the industrial framing and transformation of the earth: after all. and the explicit and implicit conceptions that we bring to these relations.”4 I offer a minimal and schematic summary and translation. or. His suggestions about how we might see beyond the limits of our technological world seem mired in nostalgia. religion. and reterritorialization. physical space becomes subsumed within some structure requiring a more conceptual definition. an empire. Theirs is a naturalism and materialism that is not reductive. but is informed by Spinoza. and resources has a unified structure and meaning.

labeled simply Landscapes One. A landscape once meant a picture or painting of a view. Lincoln. for example. or ideologically constructed in terms of the domination of the state. Intervening in this process is the entire set of practices. and I follow it here. Landscape One is exemplified by the eclectic territory of the early medieval European world.) These peasants and villagers drift to a particular place. the American presidency is not identical with Washington. begins by recalling the complex history of the language we employ to discuss our surroundings.8 Jackson’s Landscape Two is the ground of the most familiar use of the word. ancient Athens conceived of itself in deterritorialized fashion by thinking of the polis as a mobile political structure not tied to a fixed place. The people who dwell in this way are.9 ii landscapes. in the event marked by the battle of Salamis. that is why we have that seventeenth-century definition of landscape as “a vista or view of scenery of the land” – landscape as a work of art. then it came to mean the view itself. becomes a corporation. Jackson’s late collection of essays. With this alteration of the conventional usage in mind. we must not understand such territorialization as being a first. already deterritorializing animals: they speak and use tools. Think of reterritorialization as a “back to the land” movement. as when Americans identify their political institution with its geographical expanse (“America the beautiful”). it is characterized by relatively pragmatic and immediate efforts to turn land and resources to use and enable community work and survival.”6 Note that “composition” corresponds roughly to Deleuze’s “assemblage” and that Jackson studiously refrains from reducing landscape to either a natural given or a conscious human experience. They are designed to be self-contained and shapely and beautiful. or the current occupant of the office). Distinctions made by the geographer John Brinckerhoff Jackson can be articulated in terms of Deleuzian categories. in which human beings occupy a territory. Two. an aesthetic construction of the earth in the age of the world-view (keeping in mind the reservation that the aesthetic itself is a product of this age).5 As a view. as devoid of “visible signs of political history [it] is a landscape without memory or forethought. although not identical with it: Its spaces. Jackson distinguishes three different forms of landscape. It was. vernacular and otherwise Perhaps these categories can be made more accessible by mapping them onto some concepts of recent human geography. When under attack. or innocent attachment to the land. rural and urban. Although Deleuze and Guattari do not limit the use of these concepts to their literal applications to what we ordinarily call earth and land. and do the best they can. Discovering the Vernacular Landscape. an abstract entity no longer identical with a geographical area or any of its specific inhabitants (sovereignty is not identical with the person of the sovereign. as a kind of supergarden. Landscape Two sets great store on visibility. put down roots. are clearly and permanently defined and made visible by walls and hedges or zones of open greenery or lawn. “a portion of land which the eye can comprehend at a glance. definition of landscape: a composition of manmade or man-modified spaces to serve as infrastructure or background for our collective existence. This landscape is not laid out. and Three. and make it their own in a relatively simple sort of inhabitation. This landscape is characterized by “an unending patient adjustment to circumstances”. primary. (In using these Deleuzian categories. Jackson proposes “a new 105 . this is surely one of their primary applications. of course. bounded. to put it briefly.shapiro nize.”7 This approximates what Deleuze and Guattari call territorialization. the reclaiming of a territory that had previously been absorbed by a deterritorialized entity.” landscape is susceptible of being idealized in such a way that we occlude the real connections of land with human activity. aesthetic sensibility. and theory which went into the formation of the genre of the English landscape garden (which I trace below). which plays a very weak role in the European hinterlands at this time.

property is owned and land comes under the dominion of identifiable powers. then. But each put land on display as part of a political theater.10 Of course the state is also called territorial insofar as it asserts its authority over a given area. garden Landscape Two is heavily structured by concepts of ownership and political power. As in Landscape One the emphasis is on a pragmatic use and inhabitation. It is put on display. wildlife shelters. the State has been deterritorializing to the extent that it makes the earth an object of its higher unity. but ‘materialized labor. is to deterritorialize it. when he emphasizes the high importance for this mode of defining the territory.and eighteenth-century thought. after all. Here. to put it in a Foucauldian way.territory. Another name for Landscape One in Jackson’s terminology is the vernacular landscape. of the British parks and gardens which were meant to exemplify liberty in opposition to absolutism.”11 All of this leads to the paradox that the hegemonic modern notion of the natural. highrise condominiums. but they tend to ignore. Or. while the latter was said to embody the liberty of the individual (typically aristocratic) landowner. The state. in other words. shopping centers. where the vernacular suggests the native and the naive (he traces the word to the Latin verna. but is seen as an ingredient of a world in which places are distributed in a meaningful fashion. land is not merely inhabited and used. He is thinking of such things as “the proliferation of spaces and the uses of spaces that had no counterpart in the traditional landscape: parking lots. but now it takes charge of a place on the background of prior deterritorializations. A Thousand Plateaus observes that since Paleolithic and Neolithic times. Deterritorialization.’ the commodity. presumed to be prior to the state (as in the Hobbesian and Lockean “state of nature”). whose images emerge in seventeenth-century landscape painting and eighteenth-century landscape architecture. If this is obviously the case in Versailles it is also true. in a more complex way.12 It will be important to articulate the ways in which such paradigmatic gardens as the French and English styles of these centuries are complicit with the state’s function of deterritorialization. This combination of display and political order is an indication of Deleuzian deterritorialization. and capitalism carries this even further when it takes as its object “not the earth. trailer courts. and confound them. is an idealizing process.”14 He describes the principle of Landscape Three as “people follow plumbing”. and in this context the dispute between the two forms of the garden may seem rather parochial. part of a power/knowledge system. devises its own “other. These landscapes may occupy space marked by the boundaries of the deterritorialized political landscapes. “man and nature. Jackson’s analysis of what he elsewhere calls “political landscape” chimes with Landscape Two and with Deleuzian deterritorialization. is itself a creation of the state.” the building blocks of seventeenth. instead of the free play of territories among themselves and with the lineages. marking boundaries. Europeans developed the two great competing forms of the French and English gardens. Disneyland. and forming a community of citizens or subjects. The focus of Jackson’s examples is on a fairly recent stretch of American history.13 Landscape Three can be thought of as a reassertion of the vernacular landscape in a context that has already been shaped by the deterritorializing impulses of Landscape Two. a forced aggregate of coexistence. For this was. landscape. Here there is reterritorialization. are already state-oriented concepts. the liberty of landowners who presided over territories newly enclosed by acts of the state. communities tend to spring up wherever elementary public services are available. the former exhibited the land as the seigniorial domain of the king or his representatives.” effectively excluding any exteriority that would challenge its domination. to make it subject to ownership and political authority. a freed slave). In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The mobility and flexibility of some of Jack- 106 . and the generic name for the organization or apparatus that does this is the state. To objectify the earth (or other materials). landing fields. overflow. but the point of describing it as engaged in deterritorialization is to show that it subordinates this space to a “higher” meaning.

shapiro son’s illustrations of Landscape Three are related to what Deleuze and Guattari analyze as nomadism. Spinoza may be the prince of philosophers. it is carried on by actual thinkers within particular ethnic and national traditions. tourist bubbles. and fluctuating territorial occupation by squatters. A simple decline of the state may be averted when it reasserts itself as an enemy of a generalized “terrorism. terrorists. Philosophy itself is a deterritorializing activity. Sunnis. unmarked and open to movement.16 Nuclear weapons have rendered major ˆ international conflict unthinkable. still living in the residue of Ottoman territory). States have backed away from providing the panoply of social services and the safety net that they had been promising and often delivering since the time of Bismarck. and the defeats of the USA in Vietnam and of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan (a defeat contributing to its subsequent dissolution) demonstrate the limits of state military power against local resistance. as it has lost some of its military raison d’etre. written in Latin. and his great work. and Kurds.” This leads to heightened reterritorialization of the “homeland” and its borders. but the more recent exurban spaces of sprawl that Jackson describes can also be construed as nomad spaces. guerillas. iii archaeology of the garden In Deleuze and Guattari’s chapter on “Geophilosophy” they suggest that there are distinctively different national and historical traditions of managing a group’s relation to the land and to thought. as suggested in Foucault’s analysis of the Panopticon form. The contrast between this geographical imaginary and the caves and warlord territories of Afghanistan may have been too great for the “homeland” media to sustain. The consequences of this tendency have scarcely been comprehended. in specific languages. then the decline of the state would plausibly be marked by the emergence of “different spaces”: idiosyncratic encampments. transitional spaces. Yet philosophy “takes place” in specific contexts and circumstances. Martin van Creveld argues that the state has gone into decline since its apogee in the great international wars of 1914–45. always seeking the creation of universal concepts. and Deleuze and Guattari’s account of the state form demonstrates. Nomadic space is distinguished from the space of the state. which leads to a displacement onto the more familiar space of war within what appear to be nationally defined boundaries in Iraq (an appearance threatened by the tensions of Shia. Historically these are the desert and the steppe in the first instance. ones that have shown that the “war machine” is not only separable from the state apparatus but implicitly opposed to it. Deleuze and Guattari might respond that the state is not disappearing (or “withering away” as Marxism once had it) but that the illusion of its hegemony once enjoyed by people of a certain class in relatively wealthy parts of the world has been shattered by a series of dramatic events. The state (as in Jackson’s Landscape Two) fixes boundaries and organizes its territory for the sake of administration. thinking about the earth has been dominated by urban ideologies. This original aspect of their thought constitutes an attempt to understand a form of being-in-the-world that is not primitive or prior to the state but lived in antagonism to it. it produces a heavily marked and striated space. because so much of modern thought relies on an unexamined concept of the “natural. As Jackson’s analysis of Landscape Two suggests. Yet it is also possible to place Spinoza in the context of early 107 . and narcotraffickers.” a concept that is surreptitiously indebted to its contrast terms. appears not only to speak of an infinite God but somehow to mime divine thought. The nomads have a proclivity for smooth spaces. the Ethics. mercenaries. regions which are implicitly or explicitly in conflict with centralizing authority. nomadism and the state are coeval. and in determinate geopolitical settings. such as “culture” and “state.15 These and similar phenomena could be seen as the disruption of the striated space of the state by archipelagoes of smooth space.” Could it be that the recent proliferation of the many forms of Jackson’s Landscape Three is related to a corresponding decline of the state? If hegemonic visibility is the typical aesthetic mode of the state.

” they suggest a typology of three main forms of national thought. The Germans sometimes borrowed the forms of their gardens and parks from the Italian Renaissance. and canals that is seventeenth-century Amsterdam. From this perspective modern aesthetics. meaning that they pragmatically and sometimes recklessly adopt whatever shows promise of working. or English landscape architecture. his repetitions of Holderlin’s po¨ etic interrogations of the German earth. one that will not collapse or be stolen by others. it is expressed in other terms in Bergson. The French cogito receives a classic formulation in Descartes. garden modern republicanism and capitalism.” he never rested content with any of his efforts at articulating the Grundprinzipien of phenomenology. and in ´ Sartre. others can do the actual building. dwelling. whether to accommodate the new physics. and reterritorialization. Consider some cases. who begins his Creative Evolution by appealing to our internal sense of constant change and temps duree. as a citizen of a cosmopolitan trading nation and the son of an active man of business. digging himself deeper into the ditch of his predecessors. like Versailles or Hausmann’s Paris. philosophy typically takes on a local or national form. And he wrote in several languages. is structured by central axes referring back to a sovereign principle. and who goes on to chart its reemergence with variations in the neo-Marxist narrative of the Critique of Dialectical Reason. The French build. Once they are in place. so that no aspect of the project will be neglected. land. always looking for an unplumbed. they are like landowners living off the cogito. The Germans are obsessively committed to the project of laying foundations (think of Kant’s rather involuted figure of philosophy as architectonic). one that is evident in its approach to gardens and other forms of art that work with the earth. In building on the cogito they produce systems. Because of this relationship to territorialization. existential solitude. evolutionary biology. and judgment. however. Declaring himself a “perpetual beginner. The Germans lay foundations for thought. and thinking. sea. despite its universalist claims. they have also seemed obsessively concerned with securing and justifying their territory. but on the necessity of shoring up the foundations themselves. landscape. often through the quest for mythic origins in the soil. or the demands of a humanistic Marxism.17 It is not a coincidence that Spinoza articulates his vision of human power at a time when the Dutch are creating a new landscape. The English inhabit. can be seen to be driven by a deterritorializing impulse.territory. This deterritorialization or idealization leads first to a narrowly 108 . a political center which is analogous to the sovereignty of consciousness. these forms help to constitute the specific aesthetics of nature within various traditions. deterritorialization. who explicitly develops the architectonic metaphor in his Discourse on Method. who denies the cogito as substance in order to emphasize its freedom and its power of infinite negativity. or of seeing the fundamental connection of building. he is the heir of a Marrano tradition in which secret Jews were forced to reinvent private (and generally rationalistic) versions of their religion. his analysis of the primordial opening of world and closure of earth in the Greek temple or van Gogh’s notorious painting of two shoes (speculatively attributed to the world of the peasant woman) suggest that he has literalized and fetishized the metaphor he had unearthed. He allowed his students to fill in some of the possible sites that he explored with regional phenomenologies of space or the emotions. wanting to assure themselves of a definite ground. Heidegger brings this more or less unconscious thought of excavation and exhumation to light with his talk of getting back to the ground of metaphysics. In their chapter on “Geophilosophy. morality. Versailles. including the vernacular Dutch. Husserl radicalized this activity. Kant’s variation on the architectonic trope involves the coordination of various dimensions of surveying. the only aesthetics there is. but his own efforts were always at digging deeper. The emphasis is not on the specific character of the grand estates that will be laid out on the basis of this critical examination of the faculties that must lie at the foundation of science. unexamined assumption that could be brought to light. The French are always laying out a great park which. as in the complex of architecture.

however. by eliminating depth and emphasizing strong horizontal and vertical lines that reinforced the rectangularity of the frame. inscriptions. Examples of such gardens are the Villa d’Este in Tivoli and the Villa Lante in Bagnaia. Each is 109 . the typical forms of landscape architecture should be seen not simply as reflections of already formed philosophical or ideological positions but as ways of thinking with the earth. and an allegory of the achievement of cosmic understanding through its exploration. the classic text is the polyglot and esoteric Hypnerotomachia Polyphilii. The diagram of his painting taught us to look at the window. Unlike the medieval cloister. I will follow the pattern of four cognitive regimes that Foucault describes in Les Mots et les choses. earthworks. which offers a symbolic vision of an imaginary.18 Can we generalize this conception of the diagram in order to make some sense of the various forms of land art? Let me offer a sketch of how to think of the landscape garden and some of its predecessors and successors. its articulation requires exquisite cartographical skills and its execution draws on the developing science of engineering. letting the earth think through us. or. the gardens of Versailles. and environmental art can be discerned by means of the notion of the diagram as introduced by Foucault and developed by Deleuze. of the ability to shape. through analogy and similitude. hoping that this will be a relatively familiar framework.shapiro optical and pictorial construction of landscape and earth art. of the microcosm and the macrocosm. arguing that a place of retreat will make possible an intellectual intuition of order. The plan is geometrical. He reversed the classical convention according to which a painting is a window on the world and instead devised ways for the canvas to insist on its flatness and opacity. so that the will of designer and sovereign is everywhere evident. Foucault describes the practice of modern painting in his lectures on Manet. complex garden. since it still offers a deceptively “natural” model of both natural beauty and human landscape. Other strata in this geological accumulation of gardens. we might say. Where Bentham had sought to open up a series of windows revealing each inhabitant of a total institution (prison. as Merleau-Ponty quoted Ce´ zanne as saying that by painting he allowed the landscape to think through him. reinforced by astrological and mythological symbolism that employed such features as fountains. Its territorialization is carried out by means of an emphatically rigorous and symmetrical design. I will give extended attention to the informal English garden which flourished in the eighteenth century. It offers itself as a place of contemplation. is not intended as a mirror of nature or a place of contemplation. factory. or school). and master human and natural forces. clearly subordinating them to a central plan. The great Italian gardens of the Renaissance are governed by a diagram that proposes a correspondence. sculptures. the counterpart in the visible of Nietzsche’s description of language as a “mobile army of metaphors and metonymies. its humanistic theorists drawing on the classical discourse of otium. markings. Foucault thinks of Bentham’s Panopticon as embodying a diagram of visibility: the diagram is not simply a graphic design or blueprint. not through it.” In contrast with the ultravisibility and individuation of the Panoptical diagram. The garden is constructed as a microcosmic image of the cosmos. but a mobile arrangement of forces. It is not thought of as opening onto a free and unregulated nature but as exhibiting in miniature the structure and contents of a universal order. toward the plane of immanence rather than worship of a transcendent god. and symbolic scenes from Ovid. as we know it from the work of Andre LeNotre at Versailles and Vaux le ´ Vicomte. There is a harmony of style in the French monarchy. structure. and Cartesian philosophy. the main direction of attention is horizontal rather than vertical. As diagrammatic experiments. what Manet did was in effect to close the shutters of the window. Modern aesthetics is only a relatively brief episode or minor fold in the larger history of thought’s dealing with the earth. closing the shutters of the Panopticon. The prevailing ideals are plenitude and perfection. and then to the effective exclusion of these forms from art altogether.19 The classical garden. It is a demonstration of sovereign power. It stakes out a territory that offers an image or mirror of universal order.

Derrida has explored the problematic status of the frame or parergon in the Critique of Judgment. parenthetically. including selfsurveillance.”24 It requires boundaries and limits and yet also must create the impression that it is continuous with the world. the cogito). The effect of the haha is that from any point within the garden it appears to be continuous with the surrounding landscape. because it is the site in which nature and art work out the terms of their agon and their harmony. as Joseph Addison said. whether in Kant. Uvedale Price.”21 It abandons pretensions to mirror cosmic order or to instantiate total sovereignty. the English garden is the form taken by land art in the age of “man and his doubles. where the Eye has Room to range abroad. it seems to be part of the work. The English garden oscillates between a deterritorializing pictorial framing. and yet. Nature is the counterpart of finite man. observed spectator. but which functions so as to exclude unwanted intruders. the human will). The theorists of the picturesque. and an active reterritorialization that aspires to break down the boundaries between the world and the park.” as the one who comes to knowledge through grasping his own limits. the passing. if it adds to the work’s form and intensifies our tasteful response. such as charms or ornaments. but which also ineluctably reminds him of an alterity that he cannot subsume within a totalizing structure of meaning.” described by Foucault as an “enslaved sovereign. So. parerga.25 Let us take the modern garden. then we might expect to see the doubles played out in the garden (nature/art) and its discourses as well as in epistemological thought from Kant to Merleau-Ponty. with the spotlight now turned on the prisoners. As the analytic of finitude devotes itself. The English garden surrounds itself with a hidden frame. and it is when he mentions ornaments that he adds. theorize the effective diagram of the English garden as a structure of intricacy. landscape.22 If the Panopticon is the hypertrophic form of the sovereign gaze. to expatiate at large on the Immensity of its Views. The frame is said to be external to the work. that which completes and renews him. gives up the aspirations of classical metaphysics to provide a rational discursive account of being. the English garden. In section 14 of the Critique. as its theorists urge. “man. garden governed by a clearly identifiable center (the monarch. The visitor can never achieve an all-encompassing perspective on the garden. archetype of the English landscape garden. animal or human.territory. so the new form of the garden accepts the finitude of the viewer and stroller. and Richard Payne Knight. Kant is at pains to distinguish what is absolutely essential to a work of visual art. but is constantly being invited to discover horizons previously hidden. like William Gilpin. the palace. each has a bounded sphere of action within which its power is unlimited (the French state. the contemplation of natural 110 . and diversity at the same time that their contemporary Bentham is elaborating the diagram of the Panopticon as an instrument of total surveillance. to tracing out those conditions of action and knowledge that are both the limits and foundations of the human subject. “an Image of Liberty. as a philosophical organon. Marx. perspectival. invisible from within the garden. is the theater of the glance.”23 This frame frames by concealing itself. just as the philosophy of finitude. The English garden then exhibits an uncanniness that parallels the strange figure of “man. the concretizing of Platonic vision and the inversion of the spectacle of the cave. the grounds of the garden. from everything adventitious. It frames the territory by producing the illusion that there is no frame. in its many forms. as in Kant’s optical reductionism or in the image of the Claude glass. on the one hand. designed for those who regarded themselves as very much at liberty. In his essay on “Man and his Doubles” Foucault offers an archaeological account of how the analytic of finitude wavers between a series of alternatives in its attempt to construe that peculiar creature. complexity. or the early Heidegger. a ditch or earthwork known as a haha (the term derived from military fortifications). is constituted in an essential way by a ditch designed to keep out varmints and straying cows. thus helping to produce. and partial look. a way of coming to terms with the human entanglement in a nature that it does and does not transcend. its design.20 In contrast. The aesthetic idea.

Such men wish to be poets: while it is another aim which those men have who “make the laws of art productive [dienstbar]. we can focus either on its many aspects. The garden. which shines into the Italian garden from outside” J. in considering the garden and its cousins.” NB I must wean myself away from elegiac sentimentality for nature. an origin deeper than all superficial histories.28 The passage in Burckhardt that Nietzsche cites and comments on is a celebration of the Italian garden as developed in the seventeenth century. the origin as conceived and approached by such questers as Holderlin and Nietzsche. And here we find a parallel to what Foucault describes as the duality of the empirical and the transcendental. the sense that it promises of answering our questions about our ultimate relation to nature. In his notebooks of 1880 and 1881. and buildings attempt to evoke the idyllic world of pastoral poetry (some eighteenth-century gardens were explicitly modeled on the Aeneid and Georgics of Virgil.”26 It is something like this “aesthetics of finitude” that provoked Nietzsche to react against the English taste in gardens as an exemplary modern taste. or to provide a trace of the origin. of a site where the human was in its proper place. Price and Knight. the awareness. and the agitated character of the search. Modern thought seeks an absolute beginning. it works through a phase in which classical allusions.B. despite his love for the very painter. Finally. texts. In this quest the English garden develops a rapid succession of styles. or on its deep meaning. their elusive purposiveness without purpose. poems that were thought of as providing accounts of the origin of society and the golden age in the human relationship with the land). and the simplicities of this last style provoke a reaction in the extreme gardens of the picturesque and the sublime. the items that go to make it up. to evoke. that we are the judging agents. “The contrast of free nature. that it is our powers called into play by the beauties of the meadow or the raging seas. Fundamental condition of the impression. how it is put together as a work of landscape architecture. as in the two competing gardens of the major late theorists of the movement. Nietzsche continues to make notes on the meaning of landscape and gardens. the more we realize how elusive and perhaps imaginary that origin must be. the origin fails to appear. which seems now to be “unnatural”. but there is also something unthought in the hidden ground of the harmony of our faculties that aesthetic judgment exhibits. Jakob Burckhardt’s Cicerone. At the same time. Nietzsche is once again dipping into one of his most beloved books.B. most acute perhaps in the case of the Kantian sublime. But in this frenzied succession of styles. There is a suspicious contrast between the harmony and equilibrium sought in the authentic. Yet not only is there something mysterious in the phenomena. this is followed by a more streamlined form (the style of “Improvement. as in myth.” for example. But the ¨ further we go in casting aside dead traditions. whom the English took as their model. and in the controversy about the picturesque. a measure to be employed to assess our present condition. of Capability Brown) in which a smoother topography is introduced without the explicit cultural baggage of Stowe or Stourhead.”27 In the fall of 1880. leading up to the first inscription of the thought of eternal recurrence. “the certainty of the absolute garden will never be regained. purports to be. the analytic of finitude is caught in a movement that Foucault calls the return and retreat of the origin. and he makes this notation: the taste of the English art of gardening – “to imitate free nature with its accidents” J. proper form of the garden. which evince a contempt for Brown’s simplicities and also dispense with the classical allusions.shapiro beauty is the exercise of reflective judgment. This is the cogito of the admirer of nature and of its mediation through art. – is the entire modern taste. in which he claims that with its great mastery of space and its control of the intricacies of plant- 111 . Such men of style work best within a half wild environment. As Robert Smithson says. Claude Lorraine. Recall that the first appearance of that thought itself has a topographic location in Sils-Maria: “Six thousand feet above sea level and much higher beyond all human things.

symmetrical division of spaces with determinate character” of the Italian garden.territory. con- 112 .30 I take it that Foucault.29 Burckhardt also acknowledges. designer of the Spiral Jetty which extends fifteen hundred feet into Utah’s Salt Lake. and others. and the film which deterritorializes the Jetty – exemplify what land art might become when it is informed by concepts of geology. sank below the surface as the water level changed. even in their diversity.” Smithson says. where sentimentality is understood to be the determined project of blurring the boundaries of nature and art. straw huts. co-designer of New York’s Central Park and designer of many others). these sites will show time’s work. sin. The Spiral Jetty occupies a place which. for what the most rigorous thought that has been called postmodern (usually not by its practitioners) opposes in modernism is precisely the latter’s obsession with seeing the history of art in terms of a meaningful succession or progression of periods and styles. garden ing. if it is taken to designate a historical or stylistic epoch. and salvation that begins with the Garden of Eden. as a writer. “The gardens of history. and so on” with “the great. the writings that explore art in geological and cosmic context. but welcomes it. at first rising just a few feet out of the reddish water of the Great Salt Lake. or meteorological models of history and thought for just such reasons. indeed especially so. interior and exterior of the museum. and a film-maker. geological. That multi-sided activity testifies to his determination to avoid what he saw as the deceptions of the English garden tradition. writing. or in the picturesque garden that allows the gentleman landowner to demonstrate his taste in an artificial pastoral utopia. and no longer insists on a sharp distinction between fine and industrial arts. it was an appreciation of what he called the “dialectical landscape” that opened itself up to time. ruined castles.” to adopt an explicitly unwieldy and paradoxical expression. difference. a “postmodern” aesthetics of land and environmental art.”32 At the least. Here I take Smithson. it is impossible to imagine anything of this sort that would be more complete. this says that the forms of the garden as we know them. so this is the case in the Christian story of creation. when the gardens purport to stand outside of time. More than this. and grottoes. They range from the relatively ephemeral photographed paths of Richard Long and the fire and ice events of Andy Goldsworthy to the heavy alterations and earth moving involved in the earthworks of Robert Smithson. and taking its color from the same red algae. are tied too closely to history as intelligible narrative. as is reflected in Nietzsche’s citation. and this is so. More than manifesting the irreversibility of time. then. modern. Smithson announces the possibility of a form of working with the earth that does not set itself in opposition to time. he worked simultaneously in and outside the museum. an earth-mover. as exemplary. Deleuze. When he did come to appreciate some offshoots of that tradition (as in the work of Frederick Law Olmsted. only to emerge in whitened form because of changed conditions in the water. So we might better call this form of thinking “postperiodization.31 Smithson’s works – in the multiple forms of artifacts like the Spiral Jetty. Chinoiserie. So the Spiral Jetty. It will be an art that acknowledges entropy. or earth and language. Nietzsche adopts Burckhardt’s critique of the English garden as an egregious instance of modern sentimentality. fountains. English taste for “crooked paths. and continuing interaction with the human environment. providing access to an eternal nature. a geoaesthetics that might accompany a Deleuzian geophilosophy? I have suggested elsewhere that the very notion of postmodernism is contradictory. rather than seeking the eternity of the museum (mausoleum). landscape. and many recent environmental artists are drawn to archaeological. avenues. gothic chapels. hermitages. that the effect of the Italian garden is enhanced by the sight of free nature – mountains and sea coast. There are many varieties of land art or earthworks with rather different programs and affiliations. for example – beyond its bounds. line and perspective. Is there. in the humanist garden that situates the scholar in his contemplative space as the heir of past learning. revealing the strata and folds of the geological record. “are being replaced by the sites of time. Michael Heizer. natural process. He contrasts the weak. synoptic.

thought itself includes. passage.shapiro trary to what some might imagine. in the early seventeenth century. leap. comes out of that world. Many of the pages and some of the pieces of each page are missing … And as we hear this. a book admired by Newton. Smithson and some other recent land artists contribute to demystifying the problematic combination of environmental devastation and the fetishism of a constructed nature not recognized as such. one parallel to the American literature that Deleuze sees (as in Melville. reachable only by dirt road. sometimes above water level and sometimes submerged. Smithson’s work marks the necessity of entropy and death in a country that was being torn apart once more and which seemed to be on the verge of being strangled by its own technology. situates both with reference to exemplary artists like Jackson Pollock. What Smithson adds to this venerable thought is the idea that the ruin is also that of a text. The Golden Spike monument is just seventeen miles from the Jetty. It should be understood as a form of thinking that works between the territory and the earth by opening up zones of indeterminacy. At or near the point where the USA congratulated itself upon its achieving a complete network of communication in a young nation. They create a new Earth. however. James Joyce. Fitzgerald. Thomas Burnet. observing its restored unity after the Civil War. Ten months before Smithson began construction of the Spiral Jetty there was a highly publicized centennial observance of the laying of the Golden Spike. but perhaps the movement of the earth is deterritorialization itself. attempted to demonstrate that the planet was such a ruin. we see the leaves of a book fluttering to the ground. becoming. and aesthetics is geoaesthetics. He says of these writers: “in them everything is departure. the closest outpost of civilization. Such distinctions of work.”33 Smithson. film. among other things. and that. We might add that the history of thought and the history of what we call aesthetics are also fragmentary and ruined collections of texts. Faulkner. And it is the title of an essay by the artist that treats both the work and the film. because it marked the completion of the first transcontinental rail link in the USA. Since then the railroad track has been moved. Within the film itself he literalizes a quotation from a geology text that likens the history of the earth to a book that has been ripped up and fragmented the earth’s history seems at times like a story recorded in a book each page of which is torn into small pieces. because Smithson was concerned to contest the binaries of work and text or earth and word. Until the landscape revolution of the eighteenth century. as Derrida and Deleuze join in reminding us. in his Sacred History of the Earth. The Spiral Jetty names in the first instance a construction of fifteen hundred linear feet of rock in a desolate section of the Great Salt Lake. daemon. has a complex history. It also names a film that Smithson made that puts the making of the Jetty into a context of natural and geological history and attempts to evoke the explosive power of the sun and the landscape. littering the surface of a cracked and fissured mud flat. relationship with the outside. and that the new frontier of space makes the earth into a more finite site than it once was. who speaks of a general writing. If philosophy involves geophilosophy. This is a gesture similar to Derrida’s. and text are problematic. those markings and tracings of the earth. that figurative language that is available to us now only in the form of mute monuments and topographical interventions. and Nicolas Poussin. Smithson’s dialectic of site and non-site questions the frame of the museum. and Burroughs) as opening up lines of flight and movement. but he also knows that the West has been closed. a writer of the earth. mountains were regarded as marks of the ruin into which the earth had fallen as a result of the great flood. whether those of the 113 . a language that has been stratified and folded. an event of great importance in 1869. or to Deleuze and Guattari’s. The earth is the ruin of a lost book. who invite us to think of a geology of ethics and of a general process of marking and remarking the earth. then Smithson may have been working out an American aesthetics. Constantin Brancusi. The notion of the earth as a ruin is not new. the product of floods and convulsions that conformed both to the stories of Genesis and the laws of physics.

15 Michel Foucault. What is Philosophy?. 20 See Alan Weiss. 6 John Brinckerhoff Jackson. Discovering the Vernacular Landscape 154. see Marjorie Hope Nicolson. MA: MIT P. The authorship of the book is in doubt. 1999). Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell (New York: Columbia UP. Paul Oskar Kristeller. relatively democratic forms. trans.” which Smithson sees as displacing the “gardens of history. 8 See Martin van Creveld. 1970) 303– 43. NY: Cornell UP. 2 Paul Shepard. Larry Shiner. 8. 1995). I have added the alternative of “subjects”. The Invention of Art: A Cultural History (Chicago: U of Chicago P. landscape. 17 See Steven Nadler. 1999). for example. 14 Jackson. 4 Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. trans. earthly reading of this esoteric and influential text. The Order of Things. 1998) 2: 175–85. 11 Ibid. 1997). 1994) 85. 1991). Liane Lefaivre. Lefaivre’s study has important suggestions for an embodied. 16 Van Creveld. 22 For selections from major texts dealing with notes 1 Friedrich Nietzsche. The Rise and Decline of the State (Cambridge: Cambridge UP. the Celtic monoliths. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari (Berlin: de Gruyter. The “sites of time. 10 A Thousand Plateaus 453–54. who points out that the “Western European feudal system that followed the collapse of the Carolingian empire – itself a short-lived attempt to 114 . Discovering the Vernacular Landscape 151–52. impose order on the disorder resulting from the barbarian invasion that had destroyed Rome – was decentralized even by the standards of similar regimes elsewhere” (59). The Rise and Decline of the State 336–421. they do this not in the form of a model for urban and rural land use but by insistently restating Nietzsche’s question: what shall be the direction (Sinn) of the earth? These earthworks are embodied questions. ed. Discovering the Vernacular Landscape 13. 1980) 4: 14. “Different Spaces” in Essential Works of Foucault. garden Nambikwara’s paths through the Amazon jungle. Leon Battista Alberti’s Hypnerotomachia Polyphilii (Cambridge. Spinoza: A Life (New York: Cambridge UP. Hypnerotomachia Polyphilii. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P. Mountain Gloom and Mountain Glory: The Development of the Aesthetics of the Infinite (Ithaca. but the conceptual apparatus of A Thousand Plateaus comprehends a much more diverse range of deterritorialized states. 1984) 3. 5 See. Mirrors of Infinity: The French Formal Garden and Seventeenth Century Metaphysics (New York: Princeton Architectural P. Discovering the Vernacular Landscape 152. Man in the Landscape: A Historic View of the Aesthetics of Nature [1967] (College Station: Texas A&M P. questions inscribed in and on the earth. and. A Thousand Plateaus. or the hexagrams and mandalas of the Chinese and the Hindus. Archaeologies of Vision: Foucault and Nietzsche on Seeing and Saying (Chicago: U of Chicago P. 1999). 3 For a classic account of this shift in taste. more recently. 1950). 7 Jackson. 21 Michel Foucault. trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Random. 12 Jackson. 1959). Discovering the Vernacular Landscape 149. eds. Paul Rabinow (New York: New Press. focusing on the example of the USA (and perhaps other Western countries) is thinking of nondespotic.territory. Discovering the Vernacular Landscape (New Haven: Yale UP. 19 Francesco Colonna. 1987) 316. 13 Jackson. 2001). Jocelyn Godwin (New York: Thames. “The Modern System of the Arts” in Renaissance Thought and the Arts (Princeton: Princeton UP.” evoke the possibility of a new people and a new earth. 9 Jackson. Kritische Studienausgabe. Jackson. trans. 18 See Gary Shapiro. 2003) 293–317.

” The Spectator no. John Loftis (Northbrook. ¨ 30 Gary Shapiro. 24 Foucault. The Order of Things 303–43. ed. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam (New York: Columbia UP. Kritische Studienausgabe 9: 255–56. Essays in Criticism and Literary Theory. VA 23173 USA E-mail: gshapiro@richmond. The Collected Writings. 28 Nietzsche. 1964) 379–80. The Collected Writings . MA: MIT P. Dialogues. 32 Smithson. “Fredrick Law Olmsted and the Dialectical Landscape” 157–71. 33 Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet. Gary Shapiro Department of Philosophy University of Richmond Richmond. IL: AHM. see John Dixon Hunt and Peter Willis (eds. Jack Flam (Berkeley: U of California P. trans. 27 Nietzsche. 23 Joseph Addison. 1975) 412. “The Pleasures of the Imagination. 26 Robert Smithson. 2002) 36–37. The Collected Writings. 1988). 412 (Monday 23 June 1712) in Joseph Addison. ed. Der Cicerone (Stuttgart: Alfred Kroner. The Genius of the Place (Cambridge.). The Order of Things 312. 29 Jacob Burckhardt. Kritische Studienausgabe 9: 494. 25 Foucault. 1996) 113. 1995) 21–58.shapiro the English garden. 31 Smithson. Earthwards: Robert Smithson and Art after Babel (Berkeley: U of California P.