For the second edition of JAC, we asked writers and artists to rethink landscapes—sociopolitical, natural, digital, pictorial, psychological, contemporary. How might landscapes become immaterial? What are the contours and limits of real or virtual frontiers?
In the essays and artworks published in this edition, our contributors consider friction within landscapes as a mode of institutional critique. Melding lost data structures, Anna Sierra Leichter repurposes graphs and charts into landscapes that explore modern transparencies of information. Sophie Kovel also uses found images, but with a complicated contextual distance that illuminates the ongoing legacy of colonialism. Melanie Shi writes in In Search of the Vacuous on friction, gravity, falling, and failing in relation to Bas Jan Ader’s work at the intersection of art and life.
A map of social relations can also be considered a landscape, especially when those relations are rooted in a participatory environment. Lydia Mullin reexamines the supposedly liberatory aspects of Hélio Oiticica’s Cosmococas, investigating the installation’s power to shape audience participation. Sebastian Choe writes on the otaku community’s real and virtual psychosexual relationships to anime, and the postmodern form of the “Mad Movie” they have generated. Choe’s essay functions as a companion piece to his Madder Movie, a nuanced take on the Mad Movie, available for viewing on our website. Film is also the subject of Amber Collins-Parnell’s Paint and Ink on Film works, which combine figurative drawings with blown-out scans of negatives.
Perhaps the most literal take on the landscape as art historical trope is Elizabeth Keto’s critique of Ragnar Kjartansson’s Blossoming Tree Performance, an exploration of ironic landscape painting and the archetype of the Landscape Painter himself. Finally, Lily Arzt echoes Keto’s confrontation in two artworks that elude concrete interpretation—of Taille directe and of assemblage are organically digital, hallucinatory, and ominous.
In gratitude to our own community, the editors would like to thank Joan Snitzer, Elisa Wouk Almino, Isabel Flower, Mónica de la Torre, Abraham Adams, and the Barnard Art History department for their steadfast support and guidance.
Anna Sierra Leichter