Julian Raxworthy

Landscape Architecture, Decolonization, Practices, Landscape Architecture Theory, Vernacular

The Landscape of Practices: decolonizing landscape architecture




Decolonisation Practices Landscape Architecture Landscape Theory Vernacular


The Routledge Companion to Criticality in Art, Architecture, and Design

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Raxworthy, Julian. “The Landscape of Practices: Decolonizing Landscape Architecture.” In The Routledge Companion to Criticality in Art, Architecture, and Design, edited by Christopher A. Brisbin and Myra Thiessen. London: Routledge, 2018.

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This chapter examines conventional western landscape architecture history textbooks from the perspective of "epistemic decolonization" and find that they relegate non-western and indigenous precedent to the before what Mignolo calls "the zero point" of the Renaissance, thereby privilege western precedent, which is included in the cannon. Included western precedents are characterized by having architectural form, while I argue that landscapes are about processes, and therefore indigenous land management practices have great relevance to a contemporary practice of landscape architecture. To demonstrate this, in this chapter I focus on 2 case studies - the first in the Amazon and the second in Australia - that show significant resonance with contemporary debates in landscape architecture around planting design, productive landscape and landscape management. Ultimately, this chapter attempts to help develop a discourse of decolonization in landscape architecture theory.

"Aborigines using fire to hunt kangaroos" by Joseph Lycett (1775-1828) (National Library of Australia, 1775-1828)

Introduction In 2015, a statue of Cecil John Rhodes at the University of Cape Town, the erstwhile patron of the university and Prime Minister of South Africa in the late nineteenth century, became a site for calls by the #RhodesMustFall movement to decolonize the university and its curriculum.1 An earnest response to the call of #RhodesMustFall to decolonize requires a response at a number of levels—institutional, curricular, disciplinary—but perhaps most importantly personal, since “decolonization [is] primarily … an internal process that has to take place within the mind.”2 The theme of this volume is ‘criticality’ in art, architecture, and design; I argue that decolonization is inherently a critical mode of thought and can highlight inherent prejudices in the idea of ‘the critical.’ Raymond Williams notes in Keywords (2015) that criticism arose from the “assumption of judgement as [a] predominant and even natural response … developed towards taste, cultivation, culture and discrimination.”3 For Williams, this is demonstrated in the ‘split definition’ of discrimination, which, positively, can mean “good or informed judgement” or, negatively, “unreasonable exclusion or unfair treatment of some outside group.”4 Considering this last observation of Williams’ on the basis of decolonization—that the critical concerns discrimination—the term privileges the kind of expert judgment that was historically unavailable to the colonized and, although now available, is still based on a privileging of a historically Western epistemological framework that is still colonial. This sense of ‘the critical’ is quite different to that of the Marxist approach of the Frankfurt School, where critical, when added to form Critical Theory, was instead “supposed to be [about] emancipation and enlightenment,”5 which corresponds to Williams’, and my, preferred definition of “criticism as fault-finding.”6 The Algerian psychologist Frantz Fanon is recognized as the seminal writer on decolonization, who, despite writing in the 1950s and 1960s, is still widely cited in South Africa today. While Fanon spoke about decolonization as a revolutionary process, both Fanon and Steve Biko recognized that, even once a territory was decolonized, its effects persisted in the minds of the colonized since “the most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”7 While Fanon and Biko are referring to the indigenous population, rather than the colonizer and their descendants, there are important calls for ‘white people’8 to become “\#woke,” where “whites first need to wake up [and] ‘take a pivotal turn [in] perspective … gaining an integrated view of both self and other.’”9 To decolonize the mind requires epistemological decolonization; that is, decolonizing the ways that disciplines operate and the ways in which these disciplines condition how practitioners think. Walter D. Mignolo proposes that one way of achieving this is through “epistemic disobedience.” In his essay “Epistemic Disobedience and the Decolonial Option: A Manifesto” (2011), Mignolo refers directly to the ‘critical’ in relation to decolonization, asking what critical theory is “when global and pluriversal ‘revolutions’ are taking place … in the last five-hundred years which couldn’t avoid the contact, conflict and complicity with the West?”10 Mignolo here is implying hybrid discourses made up of knowledge that comprises an overlay, metamorphosis, or even contradiction between indigenous knowledge and Western discourse. This relationship is characterized by exteriority as the base condition of ‘colonial difference,’ where a “precise sense of the outside (barbaric, colonial) is constructed by the inside civilized, imperial.”11 Instead, epistemic disobedience involves “delink[ing] and open[ing] up to the possibilities hidden (colonized and discredited, such as the traditional and mystic) by modern rationality … mounted and enclosed by categories of … European languages.”12 A key aspect of epistemic disobedience in support of decolonization is a recognition of the inherently geopolitical nature of knowledge that reveals the Eurocentrism of disciplines, prompting a “definitive rejection of ‘from the epistemic privileges of the zero point.’”13 As I shall discuss further, the ‘zero point’ is the location, or rather origin, of the discipline in both space and time (generally in Europe or America) that renders everything else outside it. The position of the researcher or teacher in racial and power terms is key to decolonization. This might seem to be a challenge to criticality since it seems antithetical to notions of academic rigor and peer review, which call for generalizable results built on variations of the objective scientific model. Instead, in decolonization discourse, the character and position of the author must become a feature: both as a recognition of power and as a context for how the question of decolonization can be reconsidered. In this process, decolonization is revealed as a tool of criticality, since criticism and critical thinking is at its core. In the first section of this chapter, “The zero point of landscape architecture history,” from Mignolo I introduce the concept of the ‘zero point’ of a discipline, which describes a spatial and temporal start and center for the discipline that determines what is inside and outside it. A reading of key established landscape architecture history textbooks, both from the 1970s and today, and originating in Europe and the colonies where I live, reveals the zero point in action supporting Mignolo’s thesis in landscape architecture (my discipline). Examining coloniality in the relationship between architecture and landscape architecture reveals the former as the colonial discourse and the latter as the ‘other.’ Looking at what is, and is not, included in the landscape architecture history books I find that projects are only included if they have a constructed or static architectural element that persists over time, which renders many indigenous, landscape-based practices invisible. In my research, I have been arguing that a discipline-defining trait of landscape architecture is its use of gardening techniques to create spatial forms out of plant materials similar, but fundamentally different, to the kind of forms characteristic of architecture, because plants change over time in a way that bricks, for example, do not. Because plants grow and change, they are ephemeral; their influence on a landscape over time is rarely considered. Part of the zero point is what Fabian calls “denial of coeval,” which I discuss in this first section of the chapter, where indigenous people are considered older or prior to contemporary practice.14 Instead, I propose that their indigenous land-management practices are relevant to practices of landscape architecture today. Indigenous peoples’ manipulation of landscape involves iterative learning from ephemeral practices that have, over time, created significant landscape change. By examining indigenous practices as an alternative to contemporary approaches to landscape architecture, I will demonstrate that a decolonized view of landscape architecture is one that productively redresses the Eurocentric history of landscape architecture. The first case study is from the Ecuadorian Amazon, which I visited in 2010. Examining how the Kichwa (or Quichua) people view and operate in their environment demonstrates approaches to nature that can allow for a different way of utilizing natural systems in landscape architecture by breaking down false dichotomies that characterize Western epistemologies of the discipline, including the separation of function and ornament. The second case study is drawn from Australia, and concerns Aboriginal land- and fire-management practices as described in Bill Gammage’s Biggest Estate on Earth (2012).15 Gammage has shown that the qualities of the Australian landscape that appealed to English settlers in the late eighteenth century were the result of Aboriginal fire-management practices. In building on Gammage, I also examine the English landscape garden of the same period that these indigenous, manipulated landscapes resembled, and demonstrate that there were in fact parallels between the land practices that produced both versions, suggesting that these practices still provide a pertinent model for land practices today. Through both these cases I demonstrate that, despite being on the outside of the discipline of landscape architecture, because of the zero point and the denial of coeval, they nonetheless demonstrate many aspects of the discipline that these examples are excluded from. Finally, by means of a conclusion, I find that the strongest impediment to utilizing these custodian-based land practices in contemporary landscape architecture today results from capitalist models of land ownership. The zero point of landscape architectural history At the root of the epistemology of colonial discourses is the idea that certain knowledge is excluded from it—landscape architecture is no different. After introducing Mignolo’s notion of the ‘zero point’ in relation to modernity, in this section I will show how landscape architecture has excluded indigenous landscape-shaping practices from the canon by casting them as ‘pre-historic’; placed inevitably at the start of all landscape architectural textbooks, before the ‘real’ Western history begins. This is despite the fact that almost none of the exemplars included in histories of the discipline of landscape architecture were produced by landscape architects, refuting any idea of authenticity that might be used to determine the criteria for inclusion. In The Darker Side of Western Modernity (2011), Walter D. Mignolo introduces the Colombian philosopher Santiago Castro-Gómez’s notion of “the hubris of the zero point.” Mignolo argues that the Middle Ages were invented to create a separation between a ‘before’ the Renaissance to provide a ‘zero point’ for modernity, after which “the planet was all of a sudden living in different temporalities, with Europe in the present and the rest in the past.”16 Coloniality, Mignolo argues, is therefore synonymous with modernity. “At the inception of the colonial matrix of power,” Mignolo further argues, “‘barbarians’ were located in space”17 with period maps illustrating strange creatures and barbarians in the map’s margins. However, by the eighteenthcentury, the term “‘barbarians’ [was] translated into ‘primitives’ and [thereby] located in time rather than space.”18 During this same period, ‘natural history’ was changed “from a description of entities … into the chronological narrative that starts at the beginning of time.”19 This change is implied by the conjunction of the two words: “nature,” some empirically describable phenomenon in the present, and “history,” the description of events that occurred in the past—a change that demonstrates the influence of evolutionary theories of Darwin on the study of nature. In this way, Mignolo believed that “time was conceived and naturalized as both the measure of human history (modernity) and the time-scale of human beings (primitives) in their distance from modernity.”20 In this way, “the concept of time joined … the concept of system (of nature) and was used to imagine the logic of society”21 plotting “an imaginary line … from culture to nature, from barbarism to civilization following a progressive destination toward some point of arrival”22 where “the more you go toward the past, the closer you get to nature.”23 This type of imaginary line-of-progress is apparent in the widely used landscape history text The Landscape of Man (1975), by Geoffrey and Susan Jellicoe. The Landscape of Man was a “concise global view of the designed landscape past and present,” where “landscape design … [was] the most comprehensive of the arts.”24 The value and importance of landscape design is argued through the following rationale: (a) the existing delicately balanced order or nature within the biosphere … is being disturbed by the activities of man [but that] only his own exertions can restore a balance and ensure survival; (b) these exertions call first for ecosystems that are no more than a return to an efficient animal state [sic] of sustained existence; and (c) man’s destiny being to rise above the animal state [sic], he creates around him an environment that is a projection into nature of his abstract ideas.25 This statement is shocking for the way that its use of the word “animal” immediately reminds one of Mignolo’s critique, but is worthy of unpacking since it reveals other disciplinary prejudices. In section (a), the Jellicoes suggest that human ‘activities’ are the cause of ecological crisis, and that remedial activities will also be required to fix these crises. Whereas, all the projects shown in the book are architectural or archaeological landscape relics made of hard materials like stone, this claim positions ‘activity,’ or ephemeral practices occurring in real time, at the center of both cause and solution. Section (b) is contradictory in how it is expressed. On the one hand, the “animal state” seems to imply the primitive, yet at the same time, the “animal state” is also positioned as the solution, since it seems to argue for sustainable ways for humans to occupy ecosystems that are closer to pre-industrial than modern. It is impossible, however, to ignore the use of the term “animal” in this statement and its implications, since it appears again in the last section. In section (c), the usage of “animal state” is revealed to be a stage in a presumably upward technological process, the aim or destiny of which is abstraction in designing landscapes. This is exactly the type of progression from the zero point that Mignolo notes characterizes modernity. The use of the term “animal state” is an example of what Fanon regarded as the cognitive dissonance in the colonial mind. Speaking of Fanon, the psychologist Blake Hilton notes, for Fanon the colonist made “the colonized subject … dehumanized … reduced to a level not equal to that of the colonizer, but rather that of an animal, and referred to using purely zoological terms,”26 which is also clearly implied in the Jellicoes’ description of the “animal state” in The Landscape of Man. The Landscape of Man starts with “Part One: From Prehistory to the end of the Seventeenth Century,” featuring Lascaux, Carnac, Stonehenge, Uffington, and Easter Island. Other than Lascaux, all these sites comprise static objects in landscapes, an indication of the inherent emphasis on design as formation in landscape history. While we can forgive the Jellicoes for their Eurocentric assignation of paintings like those at Lascaux as “the first landscapes consciously conceived by man,” it is hard to ignore the fact that African and other indigenous people only appear in discussions about Paleolithic Man in the threshold between 500,000–8,000 bce in relation to human migration. I argue that in positioning indigenous people at the start of a timeline of landscape architecture history, their land-management practices are rendered archaeological,27 rather than part of contemporary agricultural, ecological, or landscape architecture practice, which I shall discuss in terms of Fabian’s concept of the “denial of coeval.” Without stone relics like Stonehenge, the Jellicoes argue that landscape is an “internal art … inspired only by observable happenings and direct experience; … [where] there was no geometry … [instead] it is pure biological art that can never be truthfully repeated.”28 After this point, earthwork fortifications in England and agriculture point to technological advancement—‘primitive’ people no longer feature in the book. This description corresponds with what indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) researcher Marie Battiste characterizes as “Eurocentric thought,” that “caused Indigenous peoples to be viewed as backward and as passive recipients of European knowledge … [making] Indigenous knowledge invisible … to global science.”29 While we might choose to forgive the Jellicoes for their positivist timeline, situated within the landscape modernism of the early 1970s, the pervasiveness of this inherent colonial timeline in landscape architecture is visible in a number of more recent landscape architecture history texts, including, to varying degrees, Elizabeth Barlow Rogers’ Landscape Design: A Cultural and Architectural History (2001)30 and Christophe Girot’s The Course of Landscape Architecture (2016).31 The Jellicoes’ model is visible in the first chapter of Rogers’ book, entitled “Magic, Myth and Nature: Landscapes of Prehistoric, Early Ancient, and Contemporary Peoples,” and in the byline of Girot’s The Course of Landscape Architecture: A History of Our Designs on the Natural World, from Prehistory to the Present. However, while Rogers starts with the same lineage as the Jellicoes, Lascaux, Egypt, Greece, etc., Rogers localizes these ‘prehistoric’ precedents through a discussion of the archaeology of the Americas—including Nazca, Aztec, and Inca sites. Significantly, Rogers continues Native American occupation of the landscape into the present in the final section of the chapter entitled “Contemporary Pueblos of the American Southwest.” While referring to the “persistence of cultural memory and tradition … among Native Americans,” such an engagement is framed in romantic and spiritual terms describing places where “the once-pervasive ethos of place is discernible.”32 Rogers quotes Native American architectural historian Rina Naranjo Swentzell extensively, who identified that “landscaping, or the beautification of outdoor spaces, was a foreign concept … [since] the natural environment was primary … [so] planting pretty flowers … was ridiculous.”33 This citation by Rogers demonstrates Rogers’ model of design as abstraction in relation to the environment. Similar to the Jellicoes, Rogers downplays the acts of “migrat[ion] from one site to another in response to climatic changes, resource depletion, war or other territorial [sic] imperatives” from her focus on their “axial relationships with both celestial and terrestrial natural phenomena” that provided “lines of cosmological connectivity.”34 Like the Jellicoes and Girot, permanence and particular types of geometry are the only indicators of some approximation of ‘design,’ rather than the ephemeral territory-shaping practices that arose from different factors interacting with living, geomorphological, or meteorological forces. Two other books published in ‘the colonies’ also use the same trope of placing the indigenous as a ‘prehistoric’ beginning of the landscape architecture timeline. John and Ray Oldham, in their introduction to Gardens in Time (1980), identified what they understood to be the start of landscape architecture: “since [man] first ceased to be nomads and settled along the shores of the great rivers of the world,” they, as Rogers also observed, “appropriated … splendid natural landscapes as meeting places for conference, festival and dance.”35 Here the Oldhams look to the static, to the feature of the river, for example, rather than to movement, such as the ‘nomadic,’ which I argue is tied to the dynamic of the landscape-as-process as much as landscape-as-form. The Oldhams “commence … with the earliest dramatic sites used by the nomadic Aborigines of Australia for their corroborees” and, with some admirable degree of patriotic and local fervor, supplant Lascaux for Aboriginal rock carvings from their local area of Western Australia. Like Rogers, the Oldhams acknowledge the persistence of indigenous people; however, they describe them as “representative of these survivors of an ancient way of life,” making us “fortunate in being able to examine in Australia some of these meeting places of pre-historic man much as they were when he was using them” since “Western Australia was isolated from the civilized world until early in the nineteenth-century.”36 Allocating relatively contemporary land occupation, indeed as contemporary as white settlement, to the ‘prehistoric’ relegates their land-management practices to the past, despite the fact that those practices are increasingly being renewed as a part of contemporary environmental management. At the same time, the Oldhams acknowledge that Aboriginal Australians effectively used a “theory and practice of environmental planning … to facilitate their own movement through heavily timbered terrain, and to encourage the growth of food plants.” Thirty years before Bill Gammage’s book, the Oldhams suggested that from “the comments of pioneer white settlers in Western Australia, the park-like appearance of much of the country when they first saw it, was probably the result of planned burning by Aborigines.”37 Against the backdrop of the apartheid era, South Africa’s “first landscape architect,” Joane Pim, described in Beauty is Necessary (1971) a potted history of landscape architecture that predated both the Jellicoes and Oldhams.38 Pim also draws on an ‘ancient’ rationale for landscape architecture, stating “throughout the ages man has had the urge to beautify his possessions, and later, his surroundings.” Pim includes a color illustration of a “cave containing rock paintings in Matebeleland” and goes on to note “similar paintings [existed] throughout Europe, to beautify their homes—one presumes they lived in their caves—and … later in history … to create beautiful landscapes, parks and gardens.”39 Despite bushmen being a continuing indigenous people in South Africa, also with their own unique land-management practices, they are again placed discursively as the start of an indigenous civilization timeline. Perhaps paternalistically, but nonetheless, Pim uses the giving of amenity to ‘Africans’ as a rationale for her call to beautify, and indeed quotes the opinions of ‘Africans’ given to a supervisor working in her designed landscapes, whose preferences would seem to correspond to their ‘primitive’ nature. For example, when they “prefer a sublime way of outdoor life, of sitting with his friends drinking his traditional beer … outside under a tree,”40 or when “the African also recognizes many shrubs and bushes for medicinal value and he recognizes much of the flora as indigenous to his homeland; this brings nostalgic thoughts of home … making him feel more at home.”41 Confronted by a black majority with indigenous roots in South Africa, compared to the Europe of the Jellicoes or the largely white Australia of the Oldhams, Pim at least considers African people as occupying the contemporary world, even, as she suggests, such a world temporally resembles the prehistoric when she claims “the very siting of the hundreds of small kraals (hamlets in the Eastern Cape) … is ample evidence of an innate consciousness of beauty. It is unknown for primitive settlements to be congested or overcrowded.”42 That these four history texts of landscape architecture all locate indigenous practices in the past and outside the scope of contemporary landscape architectural practice demonstrates that Mignolo’s argument of the zero point is present in landscape architecture; the discipline is therefore ripe for ‘epistemic disobedience.’ To do so requires a reorientation of this zero point in such a way that other knowledges and practices can be incorporated into it—both as new practices and as critique of existing practices. Indigenous practices of landscape architecture The relegation of indigenous people to a pre-historic period outside modernity also renders their land-management practices similarly old and outdated. In the chapter “(De)Coloniality at Large: Time and the Colonial Difference” (2011), Mignolo puts forward anthropologist Johannes Fabian’s expression “denial of coeval” in order “to underline time as a conceptual and colonizing strategy.”43 Fabian’s expression arose from a contradiction he noticed in the ethnographic practice of anthropology, where, on the one hand, “[T]he sharing of time [by researchers with indigenous subjects] demands that [they] recognize the people who they study as coevals [a person roughly the same age as oneself, a contemporary],” but on the other, “when [the researchers] represent their knowledge in teaching and research they do this in terms of a discourse that consistently places those who are talked about [indigenous people] in a time other than that of the one who talks [the researchers].”44 Using a geological term, Fabian referred to this latter kind of discourse as ‘allochronic,’ where different occurrences of geologic time are present in the same physical location.45 Instead, I argue, affirming coeval makes indigenous land practices immediately available for disciplinary utility and potentially epistemologically redefines the discipline. In the following two examples, I demonstrate how, in my first-hand experiences of the Kichwa Amazon tribe, they continue to manage their traditional lands in Ecuador today; and, in combination with my analysis of a recent book on Aboriginal fire-practices in Australia, Bill Gammage’s The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia (2012), how it is possible to use readings of indigenous practices in relation to contemporary debates about landscape architecture as a critique of the discipline and as a way of resolving such critiques. These issues concern, for the first example, ideas about productive landscape and territory, and in the second, how management systems can shape landscape aesthetics. Plants and people in the Ecuadorean Amazon My research has concerned elements of landscape design that change, notably plants, which has caused me to refute a definition of design that I have termed “the process discourse.”46 The process discourse comprises designers and theorists that separate process (for example, the process of growth) from design (for example, the figuration of static elements). This research has focused on the relationship between plants and people as mediated through real-time practices such as gardening. In 2010, looking for different relationships between plants and people, I visited Don Casimiro Mamallacta and his son Elias in a Kichwa community at Mariposa, near Tena, on the Napo River in Ecuador (a tributary of the Amazon River). As a result, I became interested in vegetalismos, or shamen who believe that they can communicate directly with plants. For the shaman, physical injuries like breakages or infections that often present visible signs on the body, can be healed with plant medicines, whereas anything invisible, including afflictions like cancer or other ailments diagnosed through Western medical practices, are understood as spiritual. These conditions require the shaman to work with psychoactive substances that they believe allow them to engage with the ‘spirit realm.’ The key substance that shamen use for this purpose is ayahuasca, a brew that contains the stem of the ayahuasca vine it is named after (Banisteripsis caapi), in addition to chacruna, the leaves of a shrub called Psychotria viridis. Ayahuasca—not always benevolent—is the plant spirit regarded as the portal to the healing spirit realm. While Westerners focus on the psychedelic or ‘drug’ effects of the brew, for the people who use ayahuasca regularly, these effects are regarded as a nature of the spiritual realm where the healing is seen to take place. Correspondingly, both because it is the most immersive, but also because it is the most connected to plants, I chose to take part in the dieta ritual, where the shaman manages the dieters’ diet over a specific time period and is restricted to consuming only plant products. An ayahuasca ceremony is conducted every three days; between ceremonies, dieters rest. As the portal to access the healing realm, the temperament of ‘mother’ ayahuasca is important. If ayahuasca is jealous, ‘she’ can choose to give a good or bad experience to the dieter during the ceremony. Consequently, Don Casimiro was adamant that no alcohol, meat, sugar, or salt be consumed, nor was sex permitted. Ayahuasca expects absolute control of the dieter’s consciousness; other ‘stimuli’ may inhibit the initiate’s consciousness and disrupt the ceremony. While this is the shamanic interpretation, many of the products that the shaman discourages have other serotonin-affecting chemicals that can cause conflicts with the MAOI-inhibitor—a potent neurochemical compound used as an anti-depressant in the West—that is part of the ayahuasca cocktail. This demonstrates that, even though the rationale that drives the use of these plant compounds may be different between the shamen and their Western visitor, contemporary medical research demonstrates nonetheless the efficacy of traditional ayahuasca.47 In terms of my interest in plants, through the dieta, one’s body is purged of a range of nutrients and chemicals through fasting, replaced by other plant chemicals that are deliberately introduced to the body to inflect both healing properties and a psychedelic experience of the ceremonies that where held over the ten days of the dieta ritual. Leading up to, and during, my visit to Mariposa, I had been cautiously skeptical around the idea of communicating with plant spirits, and indeed, despite the attempts of Don Casimiro and mother ayahuasca,48 no such communication arose.49 During the turbulent vicissitudes of this experience, I realized that, for better or worse, I came from a colonial Anglo-Saxon background and that knowledge and technology that came from that epistemological frame was my native terrain. However, one thing that was shared between the indigenous Kichwa people and myself was an expertise in gardening. Though it did not have the directness that I had hoped for, the ayahuasca experience did make me realize that gardeners and plants do communicate in a garden. Regardless of whether it is a designed garden in Australia or an indigenous garden in the Amazon rainforest, humans who cultivate plants attempt to provide the ideal situation for their plants to thrive and aim to read the signs of plant growth and health to determine the success of their gardening actions. When a plant presents less than ideal growth, human gardeners modify their practices to encourage it back to a perceived ideal condition. I would argue this comprises communication, a key part of what Michael Marder calls ‘plant-thinking’ in his book of the same name.50 Humans use communication to interact with each other and it is through communication that we gauge intelligence. If we therefore understand the feedback relationship between gardeners and plants in a garden as a form of nonverbal communication, if we ignored our prejudice to assume only humans are intelligent, perhaps, as Marder argues, we might recognize that plants are intelligent too, but in a different way. This is observable in common garden settings where the gardener cultivates plants that both occupy space and create space, as a synthesized ecological space and with particular aesthetic and spatial outcomes in mind. Plants are not passive in this space and do not simply receive human assistance to grow. Marder argues they use hormones and other growth byproducts to communicate with other plants; to drive away potentially incompatible plants, and to develop positive symbiotic relationships. In this way plants groom a microclimate and ecology to suit themselves, where Marder’s model of intelligence resembles ‘being’ as environment. Since plants have limited physical movement, they possess a sensual sensitivity and agency in the spaces they inhabit. I had always been interested in the Amazon forests, and when I chose to visit Don Casimiro, I wanted an ‘authentic’ experience different from those provided at Iquitos (Peru), where an ayahuasca industry for tourists had emerged. Taking difficulty-of-contact and remoteness-of-journey as an indicator of authenticity, I was initially disappointed and then interested by the hybridity of the ‘mestizo’ culture of which ayahuasca was a part, where descendants of colonizer and the indigenous have arisen outside the norms of each—contradicting some notion I had about authenticity. One example was that the Mamallactas’ ‘indigenous’ language was Quechua, the Inca language of the colonizers of the region prior to the Spanish colonization in the early sixteenth century, revealing that there was no ‘pure’ pre-colonial condition. Another example was the substitution of Marlboro cigarettes for traditional mapoko or tobacco used during ayahuasca ceremonies, demonstrating that, regardless of an industrial process of production, tobacco was tobacco and even brand was valued.51 Finally, the role of the steel machete as the all-round tool for construction, agriculture, and warfare undermined my expectations as to the rigor and uniformity of the cultural ritual and artifacts used by these indigenous communities. My disappointment demonstrated how effectively the zero point worked; I had expected indigenous people to be pure and separate from the West, and had denied them coeval. The mental image that one has of the Amazon is either a boundless virgin forest filled with barely clad indigenous people, or environmental destruction, stripped of trees by people of Spanish or Portuguese descent. Logically I should not have been surprised after my long journey to Mariposa that the reality on the ground was different, but I was when I discovered that the gradient between these two poles was, and always has been, fluid. As anthropologist Philippe Descola has demonstrated, indigenous people in the Amazon have been manipulating their environment for a long time in their process of cultivating gardens for food and spiritual/medicinal purposes.52 The ceremonies were conducted at the top of the hill above the river, which was surrounded by forest, where we stayed in a vernacular hut. During the three days between ceremonies I rested and explored the forest, both on my own and with Don Casimiro’s son, Elias, who told us about specific plants, their spirits, and what they were used for. During these walks, I began to recognize around me signs of cultivation and movement through forests that made me question the idea of the ‘virgin’ forest. Notably, nearby our hut I noticed a section of overgrown, but young, forest, which, during our time with the Kichwa people, was thinned to reveal an overgrown plantain (banana) plantation—a species only introduced to South America in the sixteenth century by the Spanish. This process of thinning, or rather ‘weeding,’ was called ‘limpiar’ or cleaning, and demonstrated a form of domestic relationship to a terrain that otherwise might have looked like wilderness. This concept blurred the line between the pristine or ‘virgin,’ and the human/altered; strange to Western eyes where demarcation is a prerequisite of land tenure. This is not so for the indigenous people, who, as Descola observes of the Achuar people in Ecuador, “have been able to domesticate [the forest] for their own purposes” so that while it is “nearly untouched by human hand … [it is] profoundly humanized by human thought.”53 Productive landscape or urban agriculture has become a significant interest in landscape architecture projects in recent years in the West as a functional rationale for the designed landscape. This model, I argue, has developed from the appropriation of the idea of ‘functional program’ from architecture. A productive landscape allows gardens to have a functional rather than aesthetic rationale that serves no specific utility. However, what I discovered in Mariposa is that the convenient discursive boundaries that landscape architectural discourse is using to differentiate the ornamental/formal from the productive is not a division that I observed in the Amazon, where people subsist on the plants they grow in their garden. Planting is a configurative act because it requires spacing. Spacing predicts growth by locating plants so they do not interfere with other plants as they grow. Correspondingly, as planting more than one plant at a time constitutes a configuration, because configuration is geometric, a formal/spatial and aesthetic outcome is created. I have proposed the term ‘viridic’ from viridis, which is Latin for ‘green,’ as a discipline-specific version of the ‘tectonic’ in architecture, differentiating it on the basis that plants and, thereby, the forms they create, change—with viridis also referring to growth. In Mariposa, plants were planted in rows, and medicinal plants with flowers, as well as productive climbers with flowers used to demarcate boundaries, but also beautify the boundaries between beds. Hedges were used to shape the edge of the garden to the forest. This demonstrates that the ornamental is not simply an opposition to the functional in the garden when analyzing the indigenous gardens I have studied through my research. In fact, in the cases of the Kichwa, the ornamental was implicit to the functional. Indeed, if we adopt this same way of understanding—the ornamental and the functional are implicitly related in the garden—gardens or landscapes after the zero point in the history of Western landscape architecture, then it is also revealed that this modern binary is absent. In the French potager, or vegetable garden, associated with the house in the French baroque garden, garden beds always included flowering ornamental plants on their edges, which were also often herbal (for example, rosemary), or plant protective (for example, marigolds, in which pyrethrum naturally occurred). Similarly, once the potager was located in the correct microclimatic location, the division into quarters or parterres was also ornamental. At a larger scale, in the French baroque garden, hedges that bounded the garden were isolated amongst the larger productive landscape, used to provide a functional land-management boundary between forest and garden. Similar to the ornamental/formal dichotomy, the nature/culture dichotomy is also absent in the Amazon examples I have discussed. Descola suggests the way that agriculture is configured is fundamentally ecological and resembles the forest. Corresponding to what I saw at Mariposa, Descola argues that the “three level trophic structure” of the Achuar gardens was “a miniature replica of surrounding climax forest.” At the top level is banana and papaya, whose large leaves shelter the lower levels from rain damage, provide dappled light, and reduce evapotranspiration; at the middle level, manioc is planted; while the ground level is populated with taros, yams, and sweet potatoes. Descola believes that this “cultural imitation of natural vegetation makes best use of the mediocre potential of interfluvial soils, [because] though much less dense than climax forest, the layered vegetation of the garden still helps slow the inevitable soil erosion.”54 I got a sense of this domestication on a trip that I requested Don Casimiro’s family to organize so that I could visit what I idealized as ‘virgin’ forest. Despite having understood that a pristine indigenous landscape did not exist, I nonetheless still wanted to find it. After undertaking a trip by canoe deeper into the Kichwa tribal forest lands, we were dropped off near a well-worn path to cross the land and visit another family community. Along this path, through tall and ‘wild’ forest, fruits and foliage were collected for later use; I realized that this landscape was also a productive landscape, if in a different way—an urbanization of a vegetated landscape. In a 2008 research report published in Science, titled “Pre-Columbian Urbanism, Anthropogenic Landscapes, and the Future of the Amazon,” the authors discuss settlement patterns in the Brazilian Amazon “on the eve of European contact,” which they characterize as a “‘galactic form’ of prehistoric urbanism … organized in articulated clusters.”55 They go on to describe these as “mosaic landscapes alternated between areas or islands of acute human influence … and less affected areas between settlements … characterized by large tracts of high forest.”56 The map that they use to demonstrate this shows clusters occurring every two kilometers or so along rivers. This is a format that corresponds to the contemporary dwelling patterns that I observed on my visit. Since these patches of ‘virgin’ forest were also often only two kilometers apart, on ridges between rivers that were settled, this imbricated format breaks along a clear demarcation between forest, settlement, and garden. Adding to this, Descola estimates that, prior to the creation of fixed settlement associated with hard infrastructure introduced by Europeans, villages were abandoned every fifteen years and new village sites cleared. The argument can be made that the entire forest, both conceptually and literally, as Descola believes, is a garden, since the plants that are left are found again in the forest and provide the criteria for choosing a new subsequent village settlement site. Through my visit to the Amazon I could no longer maintain the ‘denial of coeval’ that I had inherited and, in so doing, I found important parallels with my research into the relationship between gardening and landscape architecture as well as alternative ways of thinking that presented a paradigm shift in conventional disciplinary dichotomies, such as function and ornament, or culture and nature, that sit at the locus, or zero point, of Western landscape architecture. The English landscape garden of Aboriginal fire practices In my research, I have discussed the notion of ‘working at a remove’ in landscape architecture, where an element or practice is introduced in the landscape that has indirect effects.57 This way of working can be described via Roel van Gerwen’s metaphor of ‘the stick in the sand’: one can build a sandcastle that one wants and it will immediately begin to degrade as the forces of wind and water erode it; or one can place a stick in the sand and the wind will deposit sand against it, where the type of stick and its location can be fine-tuned to create a sandcastle-like effect.58 While such an indirect approach to landscape architecture is relatively recent, the qualities of the Australian landscape at the time of colonization, as observed by early settlers, result from Aboriginal people applying similar techniques using fire. Discussing Aboriginal fire practices is important for a range of reasons. On the one hand, they contribute to my argument that the treatment of indigenous land-management practices as contemporary, rather than prehistoric, is likely to lead to more productive practices in contemporary landscape practice. In other words, treat Aboriginal people as coeval practitioners, rather than people stuck in the zero point, and their practices become available in the present. Furthermore, there is evidence for this proposition in the aesthetic of the Australian landscape at the time of Western settlement, since the qualities of the landscape that settlers found resembled those of the designed landscapes in England. Effectively the finest ‘taste’ in landscape gardening was cultivated by Aboriginal people at exactly the same time as they were being celebrated in England, despite the fact that the former were considered ‘savages.’ This provides an insightful link between landscape architecture history and the use of maintenance and management to develop certain forms of landscape aesthetics, which is only now being recognized as novel.59 The English landscape garden of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was probably one of the most sophisticated types of landscapes in these terms, despite being referred to by the Jellicoes in formal rather than maintenance terms, as mentioned earlier in the chapter. As such, I will not focus on the particularities of these fire practices other than acknowledging, as demonstrated by Gammage, that they occurred. Rather, I will explore the correspondence between techniques and theories of taste in English landscapes to demonstrate, despite differences in culture, that Aboriginal people and English settlers were proximate in their use of landscape-management techniques for the development of desired landscape qualities, albeit for different reasons. In The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia (2012), Bill Gammage “describes how the people of Australia managed their land in 1788 … [comprising] planned, precise, fine grained local caring [where their] chief ally was fire.” Gammage argues this practice is quite different from the “random patches … that almost everyone accepts [Aboriginal people] burnt to hunt or lure game,” and instead argues was “no haphazard mosaic.”60 The aim of this “caring” was to “first manage country for plants … and then for animals … establish[ing] a circuit … activating the next as the last was exhausted or its animals fled … [which allowed them to] predict where animals would be.”61 Gammage uses rigorous study of journals from the period of Australia’s early White settlement, noting the characterization of the landscape as park-like by journalists, since it featured scattered trees and little undergrowth. Gammage quotes Sydney Parkinson, botanist Joseph Banks’ draughtsman on the HMS Endeavour in 1770, stating that “the country looked very pleasant and fertile; and the trees, quite free from underwood, appeared like plantations in a gentleman’s park.”62 Gammage observes that “these remarks are curious [because] untended east coast bush today has much underwood … [yet] Europeans fresh-seeing the land made Parkinson’s comparison with a gentleman’s park more often than any other.”63 The idea that Australia was park-like excites Australians, because it seems totally unlike their perception of the Australian landscape today. Roderick Fensham, however, cautions that although “Gammage presents a deluge of quotations referring to landscapes resembling “an Englishman’s park … the historical lexicon needs to be carefully circumscribed.”64 Fensham’s caution provides an opportunity to examine the English landscape garden at the time that Parkinson was writing in 1770, revealing a very particular idea about taste and what defines the park. It is ironic that the condition of the Australian landscape existing at the time of White settlement after 1788 corresponded to the qualities that were in vogue in landscape gardening at the time in England and helped to provide a rationale for the appropriateness of the continent for settlement. The English landscape garden is often called the Picturesque park. This follows the body of theory that was used to design nineteenth-century public parks in England, but in fact the park associated with the landscape garden was not public, but generally private aristocratic land. A key early English landscape garden often cited is Stowe, in Buckinghamshire. Designed by Charles Bridgeman in 1720, Stowe started as a geometric garden in the French style, but was naturalized by William Kent in the 1730s. Kent’s design included parts that resembled what might now be called a park, where the term ‘park’ at that time referred to a type of land management for game. However, perhaps best known in this period was the landscape gardener Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown,65 who developed the characteristic park-like English landscape garden, which was simplified to the point where it became “a park formula … with a limited number of elements—the belt of trees on an estates limits, a semi-natural clumping of trees on wide, smooth lawns and a serpentine lake.”66 While critical of this recipe, Mowl asks: “could a drive towards landscape minimalism, a reduction of parks to their bare functional forms, a stripped down elegance, be innovation of a kind?”67 Parkinson’s earlier description reminded me of one of Brown’s lesser-known projects, Petworth Park, located in West Sussex (completed in 1752). Petworth Park is a good example of the ‘minimal’ language Mowl discusses. At 283 hectares in size, with 12 hectares of forest, the park has virtually no ornamental structures apart from the house that occupies it. The park is simply made up of trees, grass, and topography. When I visited this park, its sheer openness and scale, with clumps of trees on subtle hills, led me to question if it had been designed at all, and exemplified to me the economy of means necessary to design at this grand scale. In the context of England, Petworth Park is undoubtedly what James Corner would call an ‘eidetic’ landscape, a physical landscape that reminds us of a Platonic mental landscape.68 That Australia could have looked like this intuitively seems difficult to conceive today, which is why these early descriptions catch the imagination of many Australian readers of Gammage’s book. A key writer on gardens at this time, Horace Walpole, “predicted that when the landscape came to ‘venerable maturity,’ Petworth Park would show all that modern gardening had set out to achieve.”69 At the same time as English landscape gardening was ‘modern,’ when Walpole revisited in the 1760s he commented on the number of old trees from the original park still growing … [making the important discovery] that not only had “venerable oaks,” romantic beeches and ancient deer parks done much to inspire natural gardens, but they had actually … evolved from them.70 This is again an interesting irony—that these modern gardens were actually ancient parks. In fact, they were valued for being indigenous parks even though they were highly constructed. Writing about J. M. W. Turner’s paintings of Petworth Park—completed seventy years after the park was designed—Warren acknowledges the constructed “narrative generated through the series of three paintings [that] elevates the Park into nature and its owner into the natural guardian of all inhabitants.”71 Petworth Park has the largest herds of fallow deer in England, a species of deer that features in many landscape paintings by Turner. Mowl suggests that, as much as Brown was interested in minimalism, “the sporting element [of hunting in] … eighteenth century parks had at least as much to do with Brown’s future minimalist tendencies as any conscious drive toward aesthetic elegance.”72 Williamson notes: “not only did the style of the landscape park owe much to the decorative wood-pasture landscape of the post-medieval deer park … many of the most famous landscape parks were, in fact, mere modifications of existing deer parks.”73 Consequently, the English landscape garden was the “slow evolution of the deer park as an aesthetic landscape [accompanying] the increasing separation of the idea of the ‘park’ from of any necessary association with deer.”74 This is another parallel with the landscapes managed by Aboriginal people in Australia, albeit an ironic one. Both landscapes had forms of hunting: for the English gentlemen, hunting was a form of sport, while for Aboriginal people hunting was for food. Interestingly, the aesthetic similarity between the park-like landscape of Australia and the English landscape garden was in some sense due to a similar maintenance regime, both relying on grazing animals to keep regrowth under control. Williamson notes that “[p]arks were … relatively cheap to maintain … the landscape park had only the sweeping expanse of turf … [since] it was livestock rather than laborers who did most of the maintenance work.”75 McIntyre, in her review of Gammage’s book, makes an important criticism about the “implications of his historical account for current day land management in southern Australia where ongoing Aboriginal connections are fragmented or absent … there is the massive job of translating all this evidence into the context of a landscape transformed by an industrial society.”76 Despite this criticism however, McIntyre sees relevance in Gammage’s research because the landscape templates he proposes, on the basis of historical evidence, conform to landscape design guidelines for farms where “intensively used open areas … are concentrate[ed] on better soils and lower parts of the landscape [with] stratified areas of decreasingly intensively used vegetation [which is] functionally equivalent to being less burnt.”77 There are also political parallels between the English landscape garden and the 1788 landscape of Australia that concern the appropriation of land and introduce a key notion that I want to conclude with: taking a management approach to landscape qualities requires physical space for natural processes to operate. Both the park associated with the English landscape garden and the 1788 indigenous landscape of eastern Australia had enough openness to allow game to roam relatively freely through a range of settings, including open grassland and the forest edge. Interestingly, though, while aristocratic landowners were converting intensely farmed agriculture into open pasture land, the opposite was in fact the reality of Australia’s early settlement, since Australia was already park-like, operating as pasture rather than agriculture. It is this very condition that allowed it to be conceived and described as terra nullius (empty land), where a lack of obvious productive use and small population numbers were used to justify its seizure by the Crown. The story of dispossession is tied to the history of the landscape garden. Lord Egremont, owner of Petworth Park and patron of Turner, was interested in land reform that involved “clearing up 800 acres of forest outside the park [which] would also necessarily have displaced people from the commons.”78 This process of displacement formed part of the larger changes that were happening in the English countryside at that time and were tied to a practice called ‘enclosure.’ This was due to the “amalgamat[ion] of smaller family farms into larger, more productive units … [allowing for the management of landowners’] estates with a greater eye to efficiency and profits.”79 Land is “‘enclosed’ … in its legal rather than physical sense … [when it] fall[s] completely under the power of one owner, whether or not he chose to enclose his land in the literal sense … free of all common rights.”80 Since “the creations of Brown [such as Petworth Park] … offered … privacy and seclusion,”81 vast quantities of open land were required that were generally not in the possession of English landscape-garden owners, which instead had to be created through acts of enclosure. While much land was enclosed through ‘parliamentary enclosure,’ there were “four methods of non-parliamentary enclosure: extinction of common in the ordinary process of law; withdrawal from common sufferance; approvement; and enclosure by agreement, either voluntary or under compulsion.” However, “whichever method was employed … enclosure appears to have been encouraged by periods of high prices and agricultural prosperity, by the need to convert lands to a different use and the concentration of land into fewer hands.”82 In the process of creating such continuous parks through acts of enclosure, “public rights of way—roads, tracks or footpaths—were frequently terminated or deviated when parks were laid out,”83 and, specifically at Petworth Park, “Egremont played a prominent role in the transformation of land from unregulated wilderness to ‘proper fields.’”84 Understood in the context of enclosure, where property acts were aimed at acquiring territories for their landscape qualities, the attraction to the park-like landscape in Australia is not surprising. In Australia, the notion of terra nullius was the basis for dispossessing Aboriginal people from their land. However, Stuart Banner argues that Australia was the exception to the English policy at the time, which was to respect the property rights of indigenous people through treaties, like the Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand or via the purchase of land from Native American peoples. While the low density of people that Captain James Cook and his accompanying settlers of the First Fleet encountered in 1788 was a contributing factor to them, describing it as ‘virtually uninhabited,’ the fact that, “the Natives [knew] nothing of Cultivation … [and] … wander about place to place in search of Food”85 was significant. For Gammage, the manipulation of landscape with fire-for-food purposes constitutes a kind of ‘agricultural analogue.’ Conversely, Bruce Pascoe critiques Gammage’s observations, suggesting that, even though “[p]eople farmed in 1788 … they were not farmers,”86 since their productive relationship with the landscape was not based on the exploitation of nature, but working with it symbiotically. As Stuart Banner notes, “the absence of aboriginal farms was crucial [to claims of terra nullius], because the British were heirs to a long tradition of thought associating the development of property rights with a society's passage through specific stages of civilization,”87 making both Gammage and Pascoe’s arguments clear. Because Aboriginal methods of land management were not based on an English property model of division and demarcation, their manipulation was rendered invisible without a boundary edge to see it against. Despite this, however, if at Petworth “agricultural improvement … cannot be separated from seigniorial privilege that involved hunting rights,”88 this same definition—of hunting demonstrating land ownership—was not observed in Australia. Conclusion The land practices I observed in the Amazon, and researched in Australia, share a number of common features. Both create significant landscape-shaping effects, predominantly using vegetation. In addition, both ‘work at a remove,’ indirectly fostering conditions rather than creating forms, using gardening in the Amazon and fire in Australia. Since these processes and their results are ephemeral, landscape architecture history tends to ignore them in favor of more geometrically defined compositional effects made from hard landscape materials of the sort that feature in landscape architectural textbooks. Interestingly, the less tangible qualities that the Amazon and Australian Aboriginal examples I discussed were also shared by the English landscape garden, which reveals an important factor for such approaches; the availability of flexible territory allows dynamic processes to occur. Because processes are edgeless—they operate in blurry ecological terrains that fluctuate according to a myriad of factors—they require space to grow and retract accordingly. The shape of the capitalist landscape of property ownership is not generally suited to flexible landscape processes. This is because the geometry of land ownership is generally defined by the lines and areas imposed by surveying that allow for ease of title identification. On the other hand, landscape processes operate according to the effects of topographic form defined by underlying geomorphology. While the English appropriated or enclosed land to create sufficient space for these processes, they could only function in the Amazon or in Australia without firm property boundaries. Although I began this chapter considering decolonization, the imposition of quantifiable divisions of ‘blurry’ landscapes is a key feature of capitalism, which Mignolo argues is indivisible from modernity itself.89 This is a useful reminder; it demonstrates how a final implication of ‘epistemic disobedience’ is political, namely that the commodification of land is incompatible with a full mobilization of natural systems, of which human practices naturally form a part. Notes

1 The movement to remove the sculpture expanded to become known by its hash-tag \#RhodesMustFall as a campaign of “twitter activism” at the University of Cape Town in 2016 that centered on the removal of the statue of Cecil John Rhodes. See Tanja Bosch, "Twitter Activism and Youth in South Africa: The Case of\# Rhodesmustfall," Information, Communication & Society 20, 2 (2017).
2 Ruth Ginio and Lynn Schler, "Decolonization Reconsidered: Rebirths, Continuities and Erasures," HAGAR: Studies in Culture, Polity and Identities 9, 2 (2010): 10.
3 Raymond Williams, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015): 47.
4 Ibid.
5 Raymond Geuss, The Idea of Critical Theory: Habermas and the Frankfurt School (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1981): 58.
6 Williams, Keywords: 47.
7 Steve Biko, I Write What I Like: Steve Biko. A Selection of His Writings (Oxford: Heinemann, 1987): 69.
8 ‘White people’ here refers to descendants of the seventeenth-century century Dutch settlers who speak Afrikaans, as well as those of the subsequent nineteenth-century English colonists. White people were favored by apartheid and retain an economic advantage from it, despite twenty years having passed since it ended.
9 Melike Fourie, "Whites Must Get with the \#Woke Programme," City Press, retrieved from http://m.news24.com/news24/Opinions/Voices/whites-must-get-with-the-woke-programme-20161209
10 Walter D. Mignolo, "Epistemic Disobedience and the Decolonial Option: A Manifesto," TransModernity 2, 1 (2011): 44.
11 Ibid.: 48.
12 Williams, Keywords: 47.
13 Walter D. Mignolo, The Darker Side of Western Modernity: Global Futures, Decolonial Options, Latin America Otherwise (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011): 82.
14 J. Fabian (1990). "Presence and Representation: The Other and Anthropological Writing." Critical Inquiry 16, 4: 753–772.
15 Bill Gammage, The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2012).
16 Mignolo, The Darker Side of Western Modernity: 151.
17 Ibid.: 153.
18 Ibid.
19 Ibid.
20 Ibid.
21 Ibid.: 151.
22 Ibid.
23 Ibid.: 152.
24 Geoffrey Jellicoe and Susan Jellicoe, The Landscape of Man: Shaping the Environment from Pre-History to the Present Day (London: Thames and Hudson, 1975): 7.
25 Ibid.: 7.
26 Blake T. Hilton, "Frantz Fanon and Colonialism: A Psychology of Oppression," Journal of Scientific Psychology 12, 1 (2011): 51.
27 But not in a positive or classical way—for example, where the Greeks are ‘ancients’ idealized as ‘the source’ of Western knowledge when one refers to the Greco-Roman tradition.
28 Jellicoe and Jellicoe, Landscape of Man: 11.
29 Marie Battiste, “Indigenous Knowledge: Foundations for First Nations,” World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC) Journal (2005): 2.
30 Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, Landscape Design: A Cultural and Architectural History (New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, 2001).
31 Christophe Girot, The Course of Landscape Architecture: A History of Our Designs on the Natural World, from Prehistory to the Present (London: Thames & Hudson, 2016).
32 Barlow Rogers, Landscape Design: 54.
33 Ibid.: 55.
34 Ibid.: 56.
35 John Oldham and Ray Oldham, Gardens in Time (Sydney: Landsdowne Press, 1980): 9.
36 Ibid.: 12.
37 Ibid.: 13.
38 I would refer to this as the IFLA generation; that is, the generation that gloablized and linked landscape architecture during modernism with the advent of the International Federation of Landscape Architects.
39 Joane Pim, Beauty Is Necessary: Preservation or Creation of the Landscape (Cape Town: Purnell, 1971): 3.
40 Ibid.: 18.
41 Ibid.
42 Ibid.: 36.
43 Walter D. Mignolo, The Darker Side of Western Modernity: 152.
44 Johannes Fabian, "The Other Revisited Critical Afterthoughts," Anthropological Theory 6, 2 (2006): 143
45 Ibid.
46 Julian Raxworthy, "Novelty in the Entropic Landscape: Landscape Architecture, Gardening and Change" (University of Queensland, 2013).
47 Ede Frecska, Petra Bokor, and Michael Winkelman, "The Therapeutic Potentials of Ayahuasca: Possible Effects against Various Diseases of Civilization," Frontiers in Pharmacology 7 (2016).
48 Ayahuasca is not illegal in Peru and Ecuador (see ) and shamen are regulated in Ecuador. Ayahuasca-based tourism is a major industry now in the Amazon region (see www.theguardian.com/travel/2016/jun/07/peru-ayahuasca-drink-boom-amazon-spirituality-healing).
49 Ingesting ayahuasca involves significant vomiting and caused, in my experience, strange nerve sensations such as numbing of body parts rather than the intense hallucinations many experience, despite distinct psychoactive effects probably due to choice to see a shaman healer rather than one focused on the ‘trip,’ which I felt was more ‘authentic.’
50 Michael Marder, Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2013).
51 Interestingly Don Casimiro said that tobacco is the strongest plant spirit, stronger even than the psychedelic ayahuasca, in recognition of how addictive it was.
52 Philippe Descola, In the Society of Nature: A Native Ecology in Amazonia (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996).
53 Ibid.: 35.
54 Ibid.: 170.
55 Michael J. Heckenberger et al., "Pre-Columbian Urbanism, Anthropogenic Landscapes, and the Future of the Amazon," Science 321, 5893 (2008): 1214.
56 Ibid.: 1217.
57 Julian Raxworthy, "Transgressing Edges and Doing Time: Evolving New Urban Contexts," in Jordi Ludevid (ed.), Landscape: Product/Production: Iv European Landscape Biennial (Barcelona: COAC, 2008).
58 R. van Gerwen (2004). “Force Fields in the Daily Practice of a Dutch Landscape Architect.” In J. Raxworthy and J. Blood (eds.), The MESH Book: Infrastructure/Landscape (Melbourne, RMIT Press), 238–257.
59 I have written about the relationship between landscape design and maintenance extensively, including in Julian Raxworthy, "Transactions with Chance in the Garden", paper presented at the LIMITS: The 21st Annual Conference of SAHANZ, RMIT University, September 26–29, 2004). This is also the subject of my forthcoming (2018) book, to be published by MIT Press: Overgrown: Practices between landscape architecture and gardening.
60 Bill Gammage, The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2012): 2.
61 Ibid.: 3.
62 Ibid.: 5.
63 Ibid.: 6.
64 Roderick J. Fensham, "Book Review: The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia," Australian Geographer 43, 3 (2012): 326.
65 The term ‘landscape architect’ was first used as a description of the work of Brown’s protégé, Humphrey Repton; J. C Loudon, The Landscape Gardening and Landscape Architecture of the Late Humphry Repton, Esq. (Edinburgh: Longman & Co, 1840).
66 Timothy Mowl, Gentlemen & Players: Gardeners of the English Landscape (Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 2004): 149.
67 Ibid.: 150.
68 James Corner, "Eidetic Operations and New Landscapes," in James Corner (ed.), Recovering Landscape (New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999).
69 Mavis Batey, "Horace Walpole as Modern Garden Historian: The President's Lecture on the Occasion of the Society's 25th Anniversary AGM Held at Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, 19 July 1990," Garden History 19, 1 (1991): 7.
70 Batey, "Horace Walpole as Modern Garden Historian”: 8.
71 Martin Wallen, "Lord Egremont's Dogs: The Cynosure of Turner's Petworth Landscapes," ELH 73, 4 (2006): 867.
72 Mowl, Gentlemen & Players (2004): 153.
73 Tom Williamson, Polite Landscapes: Gardens and Society in Eighteenth-Century England (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995): 94.
74 Ibid.
75 Ibid.: 109.
76 Sue McIntyre, "Review: The Biggest Estate on Earth by Bill Gammage," Aboriginal History 36 (2012): 186.
77 Ibid.
78 Wallen, "Lord Egremont's Dogs”: 867.
79 Williamson, Polite Landscapes: 102.
80 J. Ross Wordie, "The Chronology of English Enclosure, 1500–1914," Economic History Review 36, 4 (1983): 484.
81 Williamson, Polite Landscapes: 102.
82 Wordie, "The Chronology of English Enclosure, 1500–1914": 503.
83 Williamson, Polite Landscapes: 104.
84 Wallen, "Lord Egremont's Dogs”: 867.
85 Stuart Banner, "Why Terra Nullius? Anthropology and Property Law in Early Australia," Law and History Review 23, 1 (2005): 101.
86 Bruce Pascoe, Dark Emu: Black Seeds Agriculture or Accident (Broome, WA: Magabala Books, 2014): 19.
87 Banner, "Why Terra Nullius?: 101.
88 Wallen, "Lord Egremont's Dogs”: 867.
89 Mignolo also argues that Marxism is the other strand of modernity that is also colonial.


Since writing this essay I left South Africa and moved back to Australia, and that change of perspective makes for some useful reflections on these topics, and this essay. In the context of the rise of the Alt Right, Trump and the reaction against "woke," this essay seems more "left" than it did when I wrote it, when the excitement of the RhodesMustFall protests was palpable to me and the positions I discussed seemed logical and straightforward. Yet little in changed in South Africa since I left in terms of inequality apart from symbolic gains, and from a personal point of view, the ideological battles in academia at UCT left me exhausted and unsure how best to be an ally. In contrast, arriving "home" to Australia, "Aboriginal people" (the accepted term I had used in the chapter) had transformed to "First Nations People (FNP)", and acknowledgements of country had become common place. A generation of intellectual FNP in the landscape and design community had developed a prominent voice, and the writings of Pascoe and Gammage had become commonly accepted. Compared to the immediate and practical battles to survive faced by black people in South Africa, the symbolic nature of the discussion in Australia seemed a stark contrast, but clearly important. That even this symbolism was affronting was demonstrated by the terrible Voice referendum result Years ago Professor Jim Sinatra from RMIT argued that we needed to educate a generation of aboriginal landscape architects to make their own decisions for their communities, and that position resonates with me strongly now, and so I think my position now would be to support the current generation and "butt out" of this conversation. I went on to explore the shifts in the idea of culture and nature in relationship to indigenous cultural use of plants in the Gardens of Europe series concerning the informal settlement by that name in Cape Town, which the "butt out" clause might also apply to, despite my perennial interest in blurring categories. The parts of this essay that I feel are most valuable are the discussion of the "Zero Point" of landscape architectural history, and the expansion of Gammage's notion of the recognition of the English Landscape in burning Australia, and links between the English landscape managed by game farming, much like the burning traditions by FNP. (January, 2024).



Landscape Architect