Local identity

Conti­nuity and change, the role of outdoor sculpture and landscape art in shaping local identity and sustainable developent

european landart network

The question of local identity and the reaction of arts on that venues is a very important issue, which has left his marks on a whole period of art history since the late 1960th. We could define it as a period of site-specifity. But I want to question this old honorable category and want to ask, what does „local identity“ means nowadays? 

It is a personal desire of all of us, to find these unique locations, where the character of topographic and archi­tec­tural forma­tions are identi­cally with his histo­rical and social signi­fi­cance: these locations with a typiucal „genius loci“, which we under­stand as basis for sitespe­cific artworks. We define that as authen­ticity or „local identity“. By the way, this dream of real uniqueness is not only belonging to the private sphere of senti­mental people like me, but also a strategy of city marketing and tourist-offices who know our feelings. Than, we all know that wish, for example if we are planing our next holidaytrip:
„Please could you recommand us a really nice restaurant, which is really typical for this region, where they are cooking these specific very simple but wonderfull food only for the local people – with exception of us – and of course please no trilingual menu card…!“ A dream? What is the reality?

Before starting your holiday-trip, you have read several restaurant-guides, have seen innume­rable television-emissions about cooking in the Toscana and you have looked on relevant websites for the best typical restau­rants. And these restau­rants were listed on special sheets, because they have understood, for what you are looking for. Does there really exist any unaffected place, which specifity is not influ­enced by all these medias, we are using daily? What happens with the uniquness of places in times of medial covering? What happens with our desire for authen­ticity, when this dream is influ­enced by thousands of films and websites, we have seen before? And in which kind does this affect our discussion about art in public space and landscape art? And „local identity“ – lost in the Toscana-touristic brochure?

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