...am wOAndering... a research on landscape and the practice of wandering

How do I experience my environment? Can I call it mine? How do we look at the world and in what way is our gaze shaped by the built and non built space through which we stray? Emma Watts, professor at the 'Academy of Visual Arts' in Hong Kong, captures my imagination when she asks the following questions; "What is landscape? Is it the familiar view from the window, the unknown streets of the neighborhood, or is it the sublime beauty of nature, the wilderness of jungle? Wherever we find our definitions, landscapes exists at the opposite ends of perspective - from a very personal space, where we attach meaning, context, derive safety, and aspects of identity, to the often compulsive apprehension of the unknown, in views of wilderness." (WATTS, 2012). Starting from this very personal space, what is it I see? What goes on in my mind? What kind of questions arise? In what way can I confront the notion of 'landscape' with the way I experience my environment? During the past few years, I've been focusing firstly on the environment of my hometown and secondly on a world that's located far away of the place I grew up in. What if I would find myself in the in-between? In the zone that arises just after the environment I'm familiar with, where the barrier between recognizing and not recognizing becomes blurry. In that way, my masterproject will take form as a tour through Belgium and parts of its neighboring countries. Fascinated by the errance of Depardon and the dérive of Debord, I’m curious to research these questions by wandering from place to place, in and around Belgium. With a caravan as my moving, living and working equipment, I attempt to understand this experienced environment and am resolute to experiment with new kind of methodologies within my architectural and artistic practice. Considering the caravan a place from which the landscape keeps on changing. "L'aventure de l'errance m'a permis de vivre dans le present" (DEPARDON, 2000). What does it mean to 'be somewhere' nowadays? What kind of relationship do we still have with our close environment in a world where virtual spaces seem to gain more and more attention. This 'being somewhere' will be considered relevant within my research project, as this kind of presence and the close relationship with the landscape, will be necessary to create a dialogue between me and the environment I'm living in. “Persons on the dérive escaped the imaginary totalizations of the eye and instead chose a kind of blindness.” (McDonough, 1994) Internet, road maps and navigation systems are cast aside, to be able to acknowledge different criteria and to pursue a connection with the landscape that fully embraces the practice of wandering.