The inspiration for this wiki is the quotation from J. B. Jackson's "Landscape is history made visible". Jackson (1909-1996), was an American cultural geographer who wrote many thoughtful things about how people relate to the places where they live, work, and travel. Focusing not on land as ecosystems but on landscape as land shaped by human presence, Jackson insists in his writings that that the workaday world gives form to an essential sense of place, A sense of place is required for the day to day well being of humankind. In this sense, the project is an offshoot of a community wiki created to raise the landscape awareness of people living in a small area of the county of Suffolk and is part of the Cosmos project aimed at producing an on-line multidisicipline educational framework for sustainable world development

In particular Time Memory and Place is a local approach to Prelinger and Shaw’s ‘Landscape coin project’, which was based on the idea that in the everyday places of the countryside and city, we may discern texts embedded in scenery that are capable of revealing important truths about society and culture, present and past. These they marked by dropping a coin for others to discover and ponder about. Views singled out from a wide topographic context contain subtle clues about the place’s history. Smaller pictures from the original image focus on particular objects, unfolding a story, as if it were written on the land. Old stumps, derelict walls, field undulations and the form of walls and trees, take on new meaning. For example, for a woodland, the age and cause of tree scars and the size of rocks in stone walls tell of past land use, while the variety of tree species and sizes links the site to changing patterns of agriculture and industry. Then there is the form and iconography of buildings. Science, storytelling and history come together in a picture using the themes of time, memory and place.

‘Time Memory and Place’ is an attempt to recognize and gather still and moving digital images of places that the observers think deserve attention and thought. Prelinger and Shaw’s standpoint is that we commit some sites to memory because they are rich with memory. Some mark the location of major or minor, but significant, historical or cultural events. Other sites are contested places - places where people have fought for ownership or control of land, resources, or communities. Places are to be chosen simply because they might reveal something about the evolving relationship between human beings and the world they inhabit or once inhabited.

During the late 1960's through to the '70s, there was an emphasis on landscape assessment to produce 'objective' and quantitative methods of attaching a numerical value for the 'subjective' responses to aesthetic or scenic quality. These methods were developed to act as evaluative tools to enable an assessment to be repeated by different observers, or carried out in different areas and still produce comparable results.That is to say, landscape analysis was expected to give reliable and consistent information about the observers' responses to landscape quality. Landscape in itself is difficult to value objectively. Increasingly this value is also being realised in economic terms, with the overt marketing of landscape for tourism and as a pleasant place for recreation or living.

In contrast, Time Memory and Place sees ‘Landscape’ neither as the work of artists or architects nor as a scene necessarily marked by the beauty of nature. But much of what is valued is a melange of natural features and social and cultural history, which is highly evocative and thus idiosyncratically important to people. The poignancy of this is outwardly reflected in art, poetry and song, and inwardly in a sense of pride in kinship with place, belonging and comfort, all reinforcing this feeling of 'personal value'.

Landscape means more than just natural beauty. It also means human habitat - the living, ever-changing, record of human life, work and leisure.Our everyday landscape is largely unplanned and accidental. It may not be orderly or beautiful to every eye, but that does not give us an excuse to ignore what we are facing and move on. We are makers of the landscape around us, and the landscape we inhabit influences the shape of our lives and our view of ourselves.

Viewers value and question what they see in their own way, and at the same time consider how the place has been valued by others. Are land and landscape ultimately properties, commodities to be bought and sold? Or, in the final analysis, do they belong to all of us? How does an ordinary, everyday landscape like a highway or an abandoned industrial tract compare in value to a venerated historical site or a pleasant suburban neighhourhood? And who is it, anyway, that decides the value of the images we carry in our minds?

Essentially ‘Time Memory and Place’ is the assembly of an archive of digital images where it is not the collection itself that matters but rather the social order they represent. In the future, image stewardship may no longer be the exclusive province of institutions such as museums and libraries, and may soon be accomplished in part through the work of interested individuals as they contribute to, and define, their personal collections. Collectors play their their role as the creators and sustainers of objectified cultural capital. In this respect, the Internet environment strongly encourages the appropriation of still and moving images for projecting new messages. This new kind of on-screen gallery, which in theory functions on democratic principles, considers moving images, along with most other types of cultural heritage material, to be the inventory, the taxonomy and the building blocks of creative acts or acts of public speech. Karen Gracy has argued that it ‘represents a new model for creating an archive; this new democratic archive documents and facilitates social discourse’.

The outcome of the experiment is the production of a mind map focused on the concept of the 'cultural ecology of tree gazing'.

Go to the mind map of the Cultural Ecology of Tree Gazing

It brings into focus the following three related wikis: