Above –– Mean sea level mark rock in Lovgrund, Sweden. Illustration by Charles Lyell, 1835.
I build my language with rocks:
A talk delivered at the Architectural Association School of Architecture
Je bâtis à roches mon langage.
I build my language with rocks.
–– Édouard Glissant, L’Intention poétique
On Friday, February 23, 2018, Elise Hunchuck (MLA 2016) presented a public lecture at the Architectural Association (33 Bedford Square, First Floor Front) in London, UK. Titled "An Incomplete Atlas of Stones," her talk was based on her book in-progress of the same title.
From the AA event page:
What does it mean to mark a stone?
In the wake of the 869 Jogan tsunami along the Pacific coast of Japan, communities began to erect stone tablets called tsunami stones. These stones performed a dual function; they were
warnings – markers of the edges of inundation, they indicate where to build and where to flee when oceans rise; and, they are memorials, erected as part of a ritual that memorialize geologic events and those lost.
In 1743, on the coast of Sweden along the Bottenhavet (Bothnian Sea), Anders Celsius marked changing elevations of the water in an attempt to measure, and thereby understand, the apparent sea-level decrease of the Bothnian. The marks on these rocks were later visited by Charles Lyell in 1834, and he, in turn, made new marks on the same rocks. Finding the marks of Celsius to be far above the mean water level, Lyell and his new measurements would be part of
the developing Scandinavian paradox, and later still, the geological concept of eustasy.
What, we might ask, is the epistemological status of these markers? What kind of knowledge do they produce? Elise Hunchuck will talk about landscape architecture – and its attendan research and design practices – as deeply political practices. And, through an exploration between stones on two coastlines – in Japan and Sweden – will develop a framework that insists on illuminating
the complexity of the political ecologies of landscapes whiledrawing attention to newly forming questions as landscape becomes no longer framed as a technology of territories of ownership
but of risk.
Elise Hunchuck is a researcher, designer, and editor based in Berlin. She is a co-editor of Scapegoat: SCAPEGOAT: Architecture | Landscape | Political Economy. A University Olmste Scholar, Elise was recently a finalist for the 2017 Maeder-York Landscape Fellowship at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Cambridge, US) and a research fellow with the Landscap Architecture Foundation (Washington DC, US). She has taught at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto (Toronto, CA) and is currently working on research, design, and editorial projects in Canada, Germany, and the US. Her work
has been exhibited in Berlin, Toronto, and Venice.