Lorn Clement, J.D., ASLA Landscape Architecture Kansas State University . New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston. Narrative Tropes. Expanding a conceptual framework Narrative theory and figurative language as a means of constructing meaning Stories (content and expression)
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Lorn Clement, J.D., ASLA
Kansas State University
New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston
Expanding a conceptual framework
Narrative theory and figurative language as a means of constructing meaning
Stories (content and expression)
organize experience, and
Revealing & concealing
Four major tropes in LN (shortlist)
Forms of transference, ‘carrying over’ meaning from one term to another, ‘turning’ our language from the literal to the figurative …
Utility of expanding the list:
more concepts, strategies, ideas
precision in communication
Bernstein, The Careful Writer
Thirty one entries in list of “rhetorical figures and faults”
allegory and alliteration to zeugma
Parallels of thought and expression in the visual and literary arts
Layout of slides:
Verbal definition and example
Visual example and explanation
Aristotle, Poetics, ‘proportional metaphor’
Comparison of components in parallel, relationship is key
Usually used for explanation:
“The garden walls surround space in the same way that a parent’s arms hold a baby.”
Distinguish simile, which uses ‘like’, consider metaphor to be one implied
Zipper walks at Nelson Atkins Museum; Dan Kiley
Functional concern: linking major parts of the spatial composition
Juxtaposition of opposites
Pope: “The learn’d is happy nature to explore; the fool is happy that he knows no more.”
Hegelian dialectical reasoning:
thesis, antithesis, synthesis
Bloedel Reserve; Richard Haag
(garden of planes); moss garden; reflection garden
Intellect … gut … spirit
… zen experience / transcendence
Incongruity between expectations or appearance, and reality …
Subdivision names (toponyms) for the natural resources lost by development
Splice Garden; Martha Schwartz
Gene splicing, green plastic
… questioning traditional notions
… manipulation of Nature
Discrepancy b/t ideal and real
Greater diversity; less consistency in the interpretive community: ironies abound
Photo by Alan Ward
Direct substitution and identity
Comparison without word “like”
Intellectual illumination with emotional response
“Life is a dream”
Poetic vs. prosaic purpose
Aristotle, three fundamental categories of language:
Holocaust Memorial in Boston;
Six; steam rising; glass; Krystalnacht
Uses concrete or tangible terms to convey abstract or intangible states
Dominant trope in landscape architecture
Association by location
Magnolia leaf for Bessie Smith
Ross’s Landing, TN; S.I.T.E., EDAW, Stan Townsend
Nonsensical or self-contradictory pairing
Polarity … dynamic equilibrium?
Shuttlecocks at the Nelson-Atkins; Clas Oldenburg
Seemingly contradictory or absurd, but well-founded or true
“Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til its gone …” Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi
Unity of Opposites?
Gas Works Park, Seattle;
Recreational amenity and/or environmental threat?
Endowing lifeless objects or ideas with human form or characteristics
Treib: “… long driven underground by the onslaught of urbanity, suburbanity and modern technology, the genius [loci] was a bit hesitant to reemerge in the 20th century sunlight, and as a result, came out squinting.”
Drawing by Machado & Silvetti
Fragment represents the whole, or … vice versa
Relating individual phenomena into a more integral whole versus a literal or reductive nature (metonymy)
Walls as moving thresholds, boundaries
KSU campus; reflection on the growth of the institution over time
Bernstein … dangers in use of allegory:
Increasingly diverse interpretive community
Increasingly a-literate culture
Terence Hawkes on the expansion of lists:
“Of course it would be possible greatly to extend and complicate the list… But it is doubtful whether much is to be gained from this when it comes to the practical application of them …”
“The distinctions between the categories become so finely drawn … it becomes impossible to use them without a simple-minded ‘reduction’ of the work they are intended to illuminate.”
More tropes: more strategies, concepts, ideas … stronger critical thought;
more precise communication; and
Places are palimpsests, over-written texts
Hirsch on reading poetry:
Making, constructing meaning: a collaborative process between writer and reader
(Treib, Must Landscapes Mean?)
Evolution of meaning and inevitable change do not preclude a profound experience of place
Concentrate on the activity and doing of projects versus an array of verbal categories
Rely on intuition as much as intellect
Engage design processes fully, freely, with numerous iterations, multiple drafts
Describe, analyze, and interpret carefully, be the purpose to:
e x p l a i n
p e r s u a d e
i n s p i r e
Bernstein, Theodore M. 1968. The Careful Writer: A modern guide to English usage. New York: Atheneum.
Berrizbeitia, Anita and Linda Pollack. 1999. Inside Outside: Between Architecture and Landscape. Gloucester, MA: Rockport.
Burke, Kenneth. 1969. Essay entitled “Four Master Tropes” in A Grammar of Motives, Los Angeles, U.C. Press.
Chatman, Seymour. 1978. Story and Discourse: Narrative structure in fiction and film, Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Harmon, William. 2000 A Handbook to Literature, 8th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Hawkes, Terence. 1972. Metaphor. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd.
Hines, Susan. 2004. “Back to the drawing board: Diana Balmori urges landscape architects to rediscover the language of ideas,” Landscape Architecture
Hirsch, Edward. 1999. How to Read a Poem. New York: Harcourt.
Potteiger, Matthew and Jamie Purinton. 1998. Landscape Narratives: Design practices for telling stories. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Saunders, William S., ed. 1998. Richard Haag: Bloedel Reserve and Gas Works Park, Landscape Views I, New York: Princeton Architectural Press with Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
Bloedel Reserve: Zen Garden that replaced the Garden of Planes designed by Richard Haag