Monday, April 30, 2012

Civil Society 2.0 Under Construction. Social/Political Activism on Share Conference 2.


Occupy Boston.

Share Conference 2 in Belgrade covered a great variety of themes, but maybe the central one were new forms of social/political action. There was an impressive number of single persons, groups, parties, collectives, associations, initiatives, operating online and/or offline, that presented their particular strategies and tactics, their objectives, whom they contend or battle etc. All the talks were physically impossible to attend to all, but, fortunately, all talks are in the process of publication on the official web site of the conference. I will attempt a brief wrap-up, a sketch of an infinitely vaster landscape which took its contours in the last three days in Belgrade. I will cite them in order of their appearance at the conference. If I omit someone, and I most probably will, it is because I either did not manage to attend to the speech and/or I did not find sufficient information on the web to be able to recount their talks.

Share 2 was opened by Peter Sunde, the author and implementor of an alternative vision of intellectual property in the 2000s. His most representative and most famous work is the Pirate Bay. With Rasmus Fleischer, he formed Piratbyrån (Pirate Bureau), which majorly contributed to bring to the fore the question of copyright in Sweden. Their actual work is centered on the diffusion of Kopimi, a yet newer version of the right to copy. On the second day of Share 2, Rasmus Fleischer presented the work of Piratbyrån in a historical perspective, starting on their failures to build a new vision for file sharing of tomorrow. Although Sunde and Fleischer did not engage in politics in the traditional way, their work was the spark which led to the diffusion of Pirate Parties all over Europe now. Intellectual properties may have not been a political question, but only before the Pirate Bay.
To be noted was the presence of the co-founder and former president of PiratenpartijNederland Samir Allioui, a.k.a. „Coretx“. He was followed closely by the very young Serbian Piratskapartija which has recently begun the process of official party registration.

In the information rights line, Tamara Atanaoska and Igor Stamatovski presented their work in Free Software Macedonia. Significantly, they are celebrating their tenth birthday this year.

Jérémie Zimmerman, one of the cofounders of La Quadrature du Net, is one of the very active fighters for the liberty of Internet. His association has multiple enemies of esoteric names, to name just a couple of these monsters, ACTA, IPRED (Anti-sharing directive), and net filtering. Personally, I cannot help but noting the firm belief with which Zimmerman speaks about these struggles, combined with his charm and eloquence, should worry various European commissions which will have to deal with him in years to come. 
 
Leo Lahti is professionally, in his own words, data miner, that is to say, writer of codes for visualisation of data. He works in scientific visualisation, and in parallel, Lahti dedicates himself to the project Louhos of rendering the governmental data available to public in Finland, his country of origin. Although he is not politically active strictly speaking, his intent is to translate the data which is published by Finnish government agencies into information, to visualise it, and “give it back” to the community. 

The title of Quinn Norton's talk is telling in itself: Anonymous and other stochastic revolutionary network collectives. Besides speaking about the Anonymous collective and their actions, she emphasised the role of the Occupy movement in the U.S.A. She recounted her personal experience at the Occupy Boston, from which the image above is drawn. With great emotion she told us the story about a drug addict actively participating in the practical chores in the Occupy camp, a moving example of inclusivity of the movement. I would stress here that maybe the most groundbreaking aspect of the Occupy movement, common to all of its manifestations, is the difficulty to classify it into more traditional political categories. It is not organised by any party or established association of any kind, it is a “self-organising network”. In it, everyone is free to act as he believes to, there is no ground common to all, it is in constant making and remaking. Lastly, all Occupy actions are more or less just that, a group of persons using a portion of public space, either by just standing there and discussing, or making a more permanent stand such as a camp.
After Norton's speech I went out of the building to eat something. What I saw was a great crowd of persons who were standing on the nearby Republic Square, the central square of Belgrade. They were all gazing at the stage on which the representatives of a political party were speaking to their supporters. This was one of political meetings the parties are giving in this period as a part of electoral campaign. A crowning moment, a gala event (or sometimes disastrous proof of the lack of support) of any political party's campaign in Serbia is their the public appearance in the capital's main square. Broadly speaking, even in many other European countries organise pre-elections public square meetings. So, this is the way politics is still being done.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

How-tos for Future-Making Now. Khannea Suntzu, Rob van Kranenburg, Aubrey de Grey and Bruce Sterling at Share Conference.


Drawing based on Johnson and Ward's diagram of time zones (1862).
Yesterday at Share Conference 2 on the same stage gathered four persons who were introduced as futurists, foretellers and makers of the future. From left to right sat Khannea Suntzu, Rob van Kranenburg, Aubrey de Grey and Bruce Sterling. The panel was led by Vuk Ćosić.

The first round was a warm-up, each of the futurists briefly presented his area of interest for tomorrow. Khannea Suntzu expanded on his idea of transhumanism, Rob van Kranenburg spoke about the Internet of things, Aubrey de Grey about the possibility to beat ageing and Bruce Sterling about the predictability of forecasting.

The temperature of the panel rose glaringly when Vuk Ćosić ingeniously asked whom they consider their enemies, the counter-revolutionaries, the people who they will be fighting for the future. Santzu the other day talked about the development of singularity, the perfectly functioning A.I., which will be naturally financed and in service of the very rich people. That is to say that millions and millions of people will be substituted forever by intelligent machines which, among other powers, will be reproducing themselves. This is not a question of industrial revolution where men were already being replaced by more effecient machines. Santzu talked about permanent exclusion from the market of labour of a great part of humanity. Some details seemed a bit abstract because he was speaking about things that will take place around 2025-2030, which, to short-sighted animals such as we, it seems always too far away. At the panel, to answer Ćosić question Santzu's did not hesitate too much. He was very straightforward and named Goldman Sachs.

Rob van Kranenburg reply is worth citing. „When in 2000 I went to a conference in intelligent information interface. In the morning I ran by the lake, it was morning, it was misty, I sort of saw King Arthur's sword sort of rising out of the lake. [..] Afterwards, at the conference, someone from the crowd stood up. He said, in ten years from now, you will have a Bluetooth tree, you will point your screen towards the tree. A squirrel would pop out and tell you more about the tree. I was about to point my gun [..] To think that I'm not going to hug a tree.. I don't need this mediated tree.. We have this open space in the woods. [..]”
The only enemy we have at this moment are we.”

Aubrey de Grey spoke about the “enormous preponderance” of people who are convinced that death will arrive at some moment, and who believe that there is nothing that you can do about it. At this point, Rob van Kranenburg intervened by saying how amazed he is about the people who in the villages just sit there on the benches, and “fade”. To this observation, de Grey cooly replied that he has at least a “million things to do”. It was nice to see multiple futures unfurling before our eyes, ones where people are content with the fact that they fade, and the other where there enjoy living in a sort of limbo.
De Aubrey conclusion was that his principal enemy is first, past, and second, pyschology.

Bruce Sterling instead opted to “name names”, or, as a matter of fact, a name. With great nonchalance and fervour at the same time, Sterling tackled climate change. The name which still so many people believe it does not exist or it does not happen. Instead, Sterling just “reminded” us that it is all around us, but that we “are free to lie to ourselves”. In case we were so oblivious, he gave us a few examples of “new” activities made possible by floods in Belgrade, such as surfing or canooing amids the city. Of course, nothing compared to New Orleans, but still illustrative. Sterling proceeded that many billionaires are very high on his black list, but these persons, and their corporations, will come and go, whereas the climate change will remain with us, it is our “heritage”.
Sterling's final point was extremely engaging because we are often bound to think that these big problems, such as global warming, can be only resolved on international political congresses etc. But, his point was that it all is in our hands, not of anyone else.

The sharpness of the ideas of every one of the “futurists” were so compelling that I bet no one in the Amfiteater of Dom Omladine could have remained indifferent. I believe that is because every one of them spoke about universal things. They superseded battles for the Internet, for copyright rights, etc., the battles which are certainly essential in the information era, and which make part of the things cited above. But, these thinkers went even further. But, they did not spoke about the future. Every one of them individuated things that are here now. Future-making starts from the present.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Open-source in visual arts. An outline for a historical perspective 1910-2000.


The drive for this post comes from another experience I had at Resonate 2012 Festival. Namely, I have attended the workshop in JavaScript led by Jürg Lehni. He basically explained us how he built the drawing tools himself. The day after he held a presentation of his art work. One of the main axis of his oeuvre is the revealing of the process of the work. He built drawing machines, Hektor, Rita, Viktor, which, besides being very cool pieces of electronic devices, expose the whole thinking process behind the drawing. We can stand by and watch the machinic realisation of the drawing on the wall, line per line. In another work, he made a hack for the Adobe Illustrator that makes visible the paths which a brush needs to run through in order to paint an image in a single continuous movement. It is a kind of a voyage into the mind of the person who draws.
How many times have we wondered in front of a finished work about where from the artist started, how he proceeded and why. All those decisions that make up the work process get lost generally in the final product. But is it really that way?

The idea of open-source has been around for quite some time in the Internet circles, so everyone are familiar with it in one or another way. What is curious is that the idea of opening the productive process has been one of the fils rouge in visual arts over the previous century. But, first of all, what could the code be in visual arts? I would preliminary term it as both the process of production or of fabrication of the work, as well as the conceptual process of idea-making.
I will attempt a very rough history of open-code in visual arts in the last century, which hopefully could be useful for discussions in other disciplines, too.

So, what have artIsts been doing with their codes over the course of the previous century?

Drawing based on Jürg Lehni's Hektor Draws a Landscape, Hektor Sings a Song.
Broadly speaking, visual arts have struggled for centuries to create an aura of mysticism and secrecy around them, because on exactly this imagery depended the social position of the artists, their social recognition and financial status. This mystification involved the guarding of knowledge both technical and conceptual. However, in the 20-the century quite a few authors worked in the opposite direction, revealing rather than concealing. As a matter of fact, visual arts can be considered in many ways as precursors of open-source. But, the fact that they have not come up with the concept explicitly is paradigmatic and tells us many things about the underpinning organisation of labour in visual arts.

The idea to open up the productive process and thinking process at the same time may be born around 1910. Duchamp's “ready-made” is a captivating case. At first, it seems to elevate an artist to a godlike creature with a power to pick any quotidian object and imbue it with esoteric meaning. On the other hand, to be recognised is the possibility that “ready-made” was an invitation of sorts to everyone. Fundamentally, a person has to find an object and give it an inscription. Of course, the second part demands some conceptual and/or poetic skills predisposition, but the fact is that an object could be just about anything that a person “encounters”. Dadaists and Surrealists pushed the idea a bit further with their poems written by cutting out words from newspapers, mixing them and then casually picking them and writing them in sequence. They even provided instructions for the public how to make their own poems.

In the 1920s was quite popular the idea, to my knowing originated in the URSS, that all members of the society should express themselves. But what remains is a question of means of production, which were considered a prerogative of bourgeoisie. Benjamin in his ground-breaking Author as Producer approaches the question head-on. He argues that visual artists, such as photographers, and he speaks of musicians, too, should engage in literarisation of their work. For example, Benjamin invites photographers to write meaningful captions as he considers writing the only true means of political emancipation of arts.
An author who teaches a writer nothing,teaches nobody anything. The determinant factor is the exemplary character of a production that enables it, first, to lead other producers to this production, and secondly to present them with an improved apparatus for their use. And this apparatus is better to the degree that it leads consumers to production, in short that it is capable of making co-workers out of readers or
spectators.”

A more practical approach to the matter was done by Wassily Kandinsky. In his treatises Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1911) and Point and Line to Plane (1926) he gives us a vast number of formal indications for on composition, colour and, generally, on all the aspects of visual language. The second title is a true do-it-yourself textbook for modernist abstract art. Kandinsky's unique clarity of exposition makes it a reading easily approachable to anyone, from high-school adolescents to professional architects. These manuals continue since a long time broken tradition of art manuals, which were quite in vogue in Italy in the 15th century.

In the postwar years, in the United States, an important stream of open-source begins to shape up. At first glance, the ideology of “genius”, that ever fashionable term in the realm of arts, was being practised in the “epic” painting of the New York School. Imaging, but not really knowing, how Rothko or Ad Reinhardt meticulously layered their canvases was an essential part of the subsequent observation of their art pieces. At the same time, and right in the same milieu, something extraordinary happened.

The archetype of an artist-hero, Jackson Pollock, accepts to be filmed as he paints. This event takes place in 1951 at his property on Staten Island, and the video is directed by Hans Namuth. The video is a staple in the history of art. Not only we see Pollock at work, but we see detailed instructions as to how he works, said in his own words. It can be objected that he does not discuss what is “underneath” the surface, the real coding of the work, but probably that was not one of his main concerns. What makes the video so significant is the second part where the process is seen through a glass upon which Pollock works. Nowadays, more than 60 years later, the effect is still enthralling, not so much due to the ingenuity of the camera positioning and the intensity of Pollock's “action”, but for the fact that we are “inside” the work, we are within it. The mere complexity of Pollock's works, when observed in the museum, simply does not allow this kind of insight. For that very reason, this video is so precious. This type of operation, a documentary about an artist at work, becomes mainstream with Henri-George Clouzot's Mystery of Picasso. The title suggests the aura which circled around the most primitive of modernist artists. Clouzot brings Namuth's approach to an entirely new level in terms of spectacle, thanks to the dramatic use of lightning and directing. Moreover, a sensational touch is the filming of paintings in a sort of animation. We see them unfurling step-by-step. We can almost see Picasso's mind at work, but not his hand.
In the same years in Paris were operative the Situationists. Their contribution to the open-source is difficult to underestimate. Despite their magniloquent anarchic language style they liked to adopt, the fact is that they provided very simple and significant guidelines on how to effectively practice dérive and detournement. After reading Theory of Dérive the reader can feel fully prepared to go out and actually perform one. The Situationists, in fact, were not intending to create a piece of art, they invented practices, which meant that they asked for others to deploy them. In this example,“open-source” is closely linked with political action, as these urban walks were considered as instruments for emancipation.

Giving the “code” of the work, its content, became a standard within the first generation of American conceptual artists. The titles of Sol LeWitt's wall drawings are exactly what we see, and they almost invite us to try them out on walls of our homes. Some titles may seem alchemic, but the greatest part is the key to the whole process and we can decode the work from A to Z by applying this sentence on what we see. Similarly, and somewhat more intuitively, Douglas Houbler exhibited his photographic works along with their “code”, for example: “in one famous piece set in Central Park (Duration Piece #5, New York), the artist shot a single photograph in the direction of a birdcall, then walked toward the source of the sound until he heard another, at which point he turned and made a picture facing the new birdcall, until twelve photographs had been created.”

In 1968, Robert Smithson explains in detail what he understands with the concept of “Non-Sites”. His writings are part of a vaster stream of theoretical considerations which become a distinctive trait of conceptual art. Not all of them were at all useful to understand art, the best example being the absurdly incomprehensible Joseph Kosuth's “Art after Philosophy” (1969). Other American artists were somewhat more pragmatic. Donald Judd, even if his sculptures may transmit opaqueness, left a considerable amount of writings from which the tenets of his work can be derived.

Some performance artists have also given great attention to the exposition of the program or the code of the piece. In many cases, the code is the only trace of the work that remains. Excellent examples is given by the way in which Richard Long presented his long walks through natural environmentsSometimes he provided a map of the walk with annotations. Sometimes the only remnants were the written text stating the place which he visited etc. Often he employed photography as the document of his passage. But, mainly, the information Long gives out on his experience seems ready for use to re-enact the experience. For example, Long's straight line walks are most feasible. Simply pick up a straight path, a mile long, preferably somewhere on a grassy terrain, and walk up and down for days or months. The result is the trace left on the ground. Similarly, many Marina Abramović's performances are open-coded experiences. There is no grand mystification about them. What is unknown is how exactly she felt during the performances. There is no way to find out if not by trying to actually re-enact some of them.

One of the more stunning bodies of “open-source” in arts has been produced in the area of the so-called “analytical painting”. This tendency spread out throughout Europe in the 1970's, from France's Support+Surface group to Italy, Germany, Belgium, and so on and might be imagined of as a European variant of minimalism, not as much for the look but for the attention given to the process and materials. The peculiarity of these artists is their disposition and proneness to expose in greatest detail their work processes.
I will give only an illustrative example, found in Enzo Cacciola's “Analysis and experimentation in work” written in December 1975.
Operative process
a) impasto of cement, manual process;
b) layout of impasto, manual process;
c) drying process: 48 hours. Operation during the drying process after four and not more than five hours, depending on the ambient temperature;
d) pouring of water on surface and on sides.
This operation determines two actions:
1. natural hardening of concrete,
2. natural settling-down of concrete during the drying time. Final operation after 48 hours of drying.
e) spreading gelatin on concrete, it tends to rebuild the dimensional concept of surface of the work.
3. analysis of the materials and of the proceedings through an emotional filter, which involves proportionally and indissolubly in a single unifying process creativity and operation, where the result exclusively finalises the concept.
(p. 224, Pittura analitica, eds. Volker W. Feierabend and Marco Meneguzzo. Milano: Fondazione VAF, 2008)

Apart from these detailed texts, Cacciola made sequence of photos which illustrated every single step. In a very similar way, in 1989 Rudolf Stingel's Instructions exposes the complete know how on the creation of a painting. Significantly, he even invited the public to interact with the painting.

From the above cited examples, and there could be dozens of others, it is obvious that in the period 1950 – 1980 it was quite natural to share not only the results, but also the artistic process. Writing about the process became quite a standard in that period. This is what Benjamin's “literalisation” could have meant.

Somehow this important trend declined during the last two decades of the previous century. There may be a series economic, political and social reasons, as well as those of purely artistic nature, but I would not tempt this kind of analysis. At a general overview, the art of the period seems to be more closed on itself. On one side, it became more complex as to its hyper-textuality. Only the most expert viewers could manage to discern where from single elements were “cited”, and it became a subtle play between the artist and the public, who would outwit whom. In this way artists put themselves in the power position, demanding a considerable effort on behalf of a spectator.

But, sometimes, in its best, this type of coding is slightly open, enough for public to get hold of some lines of code, maybe not all, but just enough. Let's consider Cindy Sherman's Untitled Film Stills. The untitled inspires fear of an airtight sealing, yes, but, on the other hand, this series uses some film stereotypes so ingeniously that it allows for recognition of disparate influences present in the same image

Let's instead think of the enigma of enigmas, produced by the video art shaman of the late 20-th century. Matthew Barney's Cremaster is without doubt one of the most compelling contemporary art works, both visually and narratively. The sheer complexity of visual impulses and the meshing of its narrative easily induces illegibility. Eventually, the artist provided a most detailed account on all the five movies of the series on the Cremaster's web site.

On the other hand, from the 1980's on, the productive process very often becomes crucial for the work. The use of hi-tech, new technologies of fabrication, new formulas, made the secrets of laboratory work a prerogative for many artists. An interesting figure, at the passage from the transparency of 1970's analytical painters onto more tech-oriented closed practices of the 1990's is Peter Halley. He has steadily written about his conceptual grounding, that is, what abstraction should be at the moment. At the same time, he has never spoken of the productive process in itself, which in his case could be of great interest because of his unique use of Day Glo paints and textured materials. The technique becomes a truly industrial secret anew, as in remote times when oil paint was discovered.

But, probably the chief reason for the return on enclosure of artistic codes is the restructuring the art market has experienced since the 1980's. Contemporary art simply became a huge business industry as never before, so the questions of copyright became crucial. Everyone should guard their own secrets.

There are some glaring exception, though. Damien Hirst in his series of Dot paintings reveals perfectly how they are made. The canvas is covered by dots of the same size disposed in an invisible grid. The only other rule is the fact that a tint should not be repeated twice on the same canvas. This most simple programming produced more than a thousand variations, as we could see in his recent global show. Moreover, in his autobiography, or rather a series of interviews, On the Way to Work, Hirst ironically, but simply, explains the codings behind some of his most famous works.

Santiago Sierra puts in danger the inner workings of the art system by exposing the financial side of his performances or installations. He says how much and how he has paid his performers to do very often some outrageous and humiliating activities. Even if operating firmly within the art system, his method could be efficiently adopted, transformed and applied to other situations.
Drawing based on Jürg Lehni's You Are Here project for Hektor.

But, why, after dozens of artists have exposed their productive and even conceptual processes, the art of the period is still considered to be so opaque? 
Maybe because artists, curators and other art operators have never really dedicated too much attention to the communication of their codes, or they did not do it in the most efficient manner. Artists' writings were often published in very limited series, and were not shown at all during the exhibitions etc. Nowadays, there is almost not any artist's web site without a so-called “artist statement”. Naturally the quality of writing varies greatly, and many of them are not helpful at all. But, the fact is that they are quintessential for the open-sourcing the visual arts.

In that sense, art schools have tried in the last 20 years to interpret art as knowledge. Many “art as production of knowledge” courses have been opened. Some of them require artists to be able to conceptualise their work along with doing it. Even though theoretical considerations on this matter are often pure academy and lead to a further mystification of the discipline, there are some instances that lead the other way. If art is knowledge, then it should be communicable and shareable.

The answer to this in the 1990's was the emergence of participatory practices, what Nicolas Bourriaud termed as “relational art”. Their main objective is to open the field for interaction between artists and observers by rendering them participants. The main challenge for these artists was how to supersede the top-down role of the artist. Bourriaud eventually adopts the language of the Internet. The concepts of user-friendliness, interactivity and do-it-yourself are both methods and aims of these artists. As such, they have opened, and they have connected closely with the next generation operating in the 2000s on intersection between new media and social action. This will be the topic of a future post.

Finally, to be reevaluated and reconsidered is a distinctive 20-th century exclamation, the famous “I could make that!” expression in front of some art pieces. That is why, for example, Lucio Fontana's spatial concepts are breath-taking even today. It is a simple gesture, an invitation even. This is what Raoul Vaneigem thought about when he spoke about the notion of diffused creativity. It was near also to what the most prestigious of the previous century artists-educators referred to. Joseph Beuys firmly believed that “every human being is an artist”.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Landscape Between Experience and Project.


"When it is raining in Oxford Street the architecture is no more important than the rain, in fact the weather has probably more to do with the pulsation of the Living City at that given moment." (Simon Sadler on Archigram Living City)

In this text I will open a discussion on the criticality of the landscaping as a cognitive practice.
To approach the question, I will read a landscape in its most classical appearance, landscape painting. I will try to draw up a tentative list of meanings along which landscaping works. As they are closely interwoven one into the other, the order of exposition is not to be understood chronologically. To better express that, I will use the word 'dimensions', and not levels or layers which may imply a hierarchy. The following exposition is both permitted and in some ways limited by the fact that I am looking transversally at the history of landscape, so some of the aspects can be more present in determinate painters or periods and some entirely absent.

Drawing based on Isaacz. van Ruisdael. Dunes of Harlem Seen from Northwest. ca. 1670
The first landscape dimension is consisted of the physical arrangement of elements, man-made elements on one side, and natural elements such as flora, hydrological elements, inorganic masses etc., on the other. The physical dimension unites two dimensions of geographic description. The first is cartographic, thus, the layout of the elements in terms of their spatial disposition over a surface. The second expresses their topological description in terms of altitude, a dimension only suggested on maps due to their ortogonal point of view.

The second dimension concerns the social activities that run over a landscape. Almost always there are people present in the image, men involved in diverse activities, peasants working the land, carts transporting people or goods, hunters, fishers, sailors, children playing, rich men simply loafing about their holdings etc. These figures convey or enact different social, economic and political relationships. The gap between people bent on working the land and the aristocracy riding their horses around can hardly find a more straightforward crystallization. Even when men are absent, their structures, such as well-organised farm crops convey socioeconomic processes.
In social dimension operates also a register of emotional experiences connected with social actors within the landscape. Their body language explicates a series of emotions. They may be depicted running away from a storm to seek refuge or they might be clearly enjoying a sunny day.

The third dimensions, ecological one, shows "workings" or life of the ecosystem. Various animals wander around, different kinds of flora grow. The depth of ecological knowledge is limited to the questions of detail of representation. It is very difficult to spot (or to paint) bees, these key actors of ecosystems, in paintings. On the other hand, even the very tiny animals, such as birds are often depicted. This applies also to the richness of flora, as distinct species of trees or plants can be inferred in landscapes.
The vital interrelationship between man and animals is often a central theme in landscapes. This relationship can be more man-dominated, such as in hunt scenes, or more idylliac and equitable, for example, when men are presented in harmonic unity with their domestic animals, or when men play with animals.

There is yet another dimension which operates somewhat transversally and embraces all the cited ones. It is another dynamic dimension, that of climatic conditions. It works through at least two planes, within the painting and without it.
Internally it brings to life, into movement, all the elements in the painting. This can be explicated by the patterns of movements of leafs as wind blows. Otherwise, sea storms can change the topology of every single atom of water in a seascape. The climatic dimension has risen steadily in importance from the 16th to the 19th century, when it in many ways become the predominant theme in landscape painting. The research of some artists on clouds, storms, fog, and other climatic phenomena, came to form an entire aesthetics and ideology of "sublime". This adjective becomes a concept used even to put in question the absolute domination of beauty in the the aesthetic treatises of the second half of the 18th century.
This brings us to the other plane on which climatic conditions unfurl. Externally, they are used to convey moods or feelings to spectators. Sublime as a methodology was understood and adopted to provoke terror or awe in spectators, whereas sunny conditions were probably meant to induce peacefulness. So, climatic conditions are closely linked with psychological or affective dimension of the landscape. 

Drawing based on Paul Cézanne. La montagne Sainte-Victoire, vue de Lauves. 1902-1904
The palimpsest for all above cited landscape dimensions is the subjectivity of the landscaper.
By the way of disposing the previously cited dimensions, the landscaper creates a web of meanings, highlighting certain aspects and obscuring the others. He forms a perspective through which all the the dimensions are inclined and filtrated. Perspective is, thus, understood here in its figurative sense, as bias, intent.
Subjectivity is the most fundamental aspect of landscaping as it operates almost invisibly, but it determines all the other elements. The choice of the standpoint, the hierarchy of elements, the idealisation of certain natural forms, the choice of climate conditions, are the key instruments of landscaping.

To be briefly noted is that subjectivity is connected with the political nature of landscape. Considering that most of the landscapes well into the 19th century were produced in studio, and not on field, it means that they are up to a great degree artificial. What this invention of geographies could possibly imply socially is a matter to be explored in-depth. Anyway, I may advance the hypothesis that landscape painters could in many ways be understood as the first landscape architects.

Thus, landscaping as representational process comprises of a series of decision-making procedures. The most important decisions regard the mere selection of elements to be included and to be excluded, as the elements to be represented are infinite. This is a particularly emphasised characteristic of landscaping, in confront with other classical genres of image production, such as portraiture or even cityscape. Also, significant alterations can be performed without notice, as it is infinitely more difficult to note a missing rock or a tree too many, than to omit a building in a cityscape or a mole in a portrait.
From the very start, landscaping implies confrontation with complexity, with chaos, but it also requires the capacity of synthesis, it relies on project attitude.

The last dimension which passes through landscape is time. We should think of the mere fact that landscapes express determinate landscape in a given moment, thus, landscape in spring or in autumn etc. In this regard it is useful to think of the serial character determinate painters have attributed to certain views, continuing to work on them as seasons passed by. Therefore, temporal or historical dimension is constitutive to landscape, it steeps into its social, ecological and affective dimensions.
This is where landscape differs significantly from the other mean of geographic descrption, maps, indifferent to the passing of time.
Landscape instead is explicitly only a moment in time, and all its elements are subject and even bound to change. Landscape is, thus, experiment, but in its wider sense, as it was intended by Francis Bacon in the 16th century, as a synonym of experience. [Alpers S. The Art of Describing. Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1983]
Thus, representing and perceiving landscape is an infinite cognitive process, a phenomenological flux of information. To grasp it, painting is only a single interface among many others, such as photography, video, or a walk through landscape. What painting managed in some of its manifestations, and what other landscaping practices should try to convey is the essential multidimensionality of landscape. The rain is important, and the built environment, too, as well as the nuance of the clouds, and the wind sneaking through the rye, too.

Landscaping can be understood as multilayered geographical knowledge of a given territory. Landscaping can also mean man's positioning in a wider geographical context, zooming out from house, street, neighbourhood or town, to include a more ample horizon. Landscaping can also be a transcendental quest for harmonic relationship between man and nature, and so many other things.

What is fundamental is that landscape is made of the dialectic between experience and project. Some landscapes can be case studies of a project, while others can be experiments of an idea or an emotion.

The essential multidimensionality of landscape can be useful for the redefinition of landscape in context of other disciplines as well, and I will attempt this in blog posts to follow.