Focus Artistic Research

Eden's Edge

Gerhard Treml

Institute of Design

Eden's Edge is a transcultural project investigating screen writing as tool to appropriate, investigate and design spatial relations for new perspectives in landscape design. The approach is based on the impact popular culture has on the way we see and use our environment. This may differ from purposes that locations, sites or landscapes were designed for or are dedicated to. As we trace the tools the creative industries use to get a hold of our interpretational dispositions, we detect screen writing as one of their most powerful ones. Our interest in exploring its functioning will be realized in two approaches. Our first approach is to use the script and develop a plot for a film set employing art based researchers to act as landscape designers by which the script turns into their story and experience as they follow its course. This is the method we will apply as we move into the iconic landscape of popular culture: the Californian desert. The script we will follow stages us as desert landscape design entrepreneurs challenged to develop a new approach for landscape design. This move into the desert untangles our familiar ties and highlights spatial relations as matter of investigation. The site we are at is inseparable from the script we are in relying on a pioneer myth and the frontier land. The outlook emerging from this is part of our spatial relations. As we follow our script-specific exploration into theory we discover our second approach: The method Mikhail Bakhtin used to explore plot/place relations. His insight into author's use of space opens our new terrain and we invite a screenwriter to explore the art of screen writing with us. New tools for landscape design move closer as we experiment with scenes we are in, using the industries preconfigured templates of plot and place. The exploration reveals the script as appropriational tool as well and as tool to trace and extract geographies from stories we hear as we talk to desert residents. Life stories turn into source material we extract personal geographies from and map them out for new services and products of landscape design. Eden's Edge is a cross-cultural project engaging a transdisciplinary team of 8 art-based researchers to collaboratively investigate new terrain for landscape design. The project will be hosted by Mario Terzic, head of Vienna's Department of Landscape Design (DLD). It extends the DLD's research program. The goal is to exemplarily recontextualize landscape design's practice by reconfiguring its core disciplines for new perspectives. This will happen in a timeline of 2 years including a phase of research and workshops in Vienna, followed by method development and method testing in the desert, hosted by CLUI artist Steve Rowell. After return in Vienna the results will be post produced for effective dissemination. Ongoingly we will communicate and contextualize our project's development in target audiences documenting our work.