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The Eye and the Hand: Professional Sensitivity and the Idea of an Aesthetics of Work on the Land

  Justin Winkler

Academic aesthetics is guided by the visual and notions of distance. In this article I want to study how an aesthetics of work, of process and proximity, could function. I am asking why the peasant population has been always been supposed not to have an aesthetic appreciation of their land. I contend that they had some kind of appreciation, but that this was conceived expressed in terms fundamentally different from the academic and pictorial landscape aesthetics. With the term 'professional' sensitivity and examples from the Swiss Alps and Southern France, I discuss the question of how an archaeology of an autochthonous aesthetics can be done.

Key Words
aesthetics of work, panoramatic aesthetics, bourgeois aesthetics, rural people, aesthetics of environment, professional sensitivity, aesthetics of agricultural work

1. Introduction

"The only obstacle was the nature of the place. We came across an elderly shepherd on a slope of the mountain who made every effort with many words to keep us from continuing our climb, saying that fifty years earlier, driven by a like youthful motivation, he had climbed to the very top and had brought back from there nothing but repentance, weariness, and his body and clothing torn by stones and bushes, and that no one had been known before or since to dare undertake a similar climb. As he shouted all these things, we, like all young people who refuse to heed warnings, felt our desire increase as a result of the prohibition. When the old man observed that he was arguing in vain, he accompanied us a short way among the cliffs and pointed out the steep path, giving and repeating many warnings as we turned our backs to him. Leaving behind with him our extra garments and whatever else might have been a hindrance, we made ready to start the climb alone [...]."[1]

The quotation from Francesco Petrarch's report of the ascent of Mont Ventoux in Southern France introduces the central topic of this article. In a letter dated April 26, 1336, he reports on the expedition to this mountain, whose peak reaches 1912 mNN. The fact that this narrative has the form of a letter is not irrelevant. Despite his affirmation of its documentary, non-fictional character, it nevertheless exhibits a number of features that point to an artful composition. For theological reasons, the protagonist fails to appreciate the overwhelming panoramatic view from the summit. Petrarch might well have reached the Ventoux summit, as people before him had certainly done, but the oscillation in the text between description and reflection tells of other concerns. Groh & Groh analyze this Familiari letter with hermeneutic precision as a struggle between the metaphorical and the realistic, the spiritual and the worldly. According to them, this mountain as a whole becomes a metaphor for the transition to a new era, not realised by Petrarch but, as it were, prefigured in his writing.[2] Taken from the evidence of the letter, the poet himself failed to separate the metaphysical and the aesthetic experience.

The shepherd is of interest here because in the reaction to the Ventoux letter he did not play a role. Wózniakowski remarks that the mention of the shepherd is probably poetic licence, since the Ventoux adventure is continuously situated between metaphor and reality.[3] So his function would be to act as an angel, so to speak, warning the bold young people, Francesco and his brother, not to commit the sin of gaining further height. Also Petrarch, by fictionally addressing in this letter a theologian of high reputation, has certainly played on the connotation of the shepherd in the Bible.[4] For us, the shepherd is the sign and representative of a population that lived in the mountains explored by an emerging sensitivity for the outer world that was to become the landscape.

When we leave the historical facts aside for a moment and turn to the phenomenological core of the text, we notice the following: the shepherd described is an old man who, in his own youth, tried to do the same as the two climbers. Here the report has a hinge where the present swings between past and future. Later, at the top of the mountain and triggered by a quote from Augustine, it swings from the outlook to an inward look. Thus the shepherd appears as a medium of ancient local knowledge about this uninhabited place at the edge of the oikumene. The two finally turn their backs on him, neither respecting the possibility that his experience of the place, which they are presently attacking, may be of relevance for them, nor considering the people of the land for which he stands, in contrast to their own upper class upbringing. They leave him behind together with their "reasonable" equipment and rush on.

2. Panoramatic Aesthetics

In Petrarch's report of the Ventoux tour, artfully composed as the drama of a cathartic ascent, the shepherd's role is of a warning voice.[5] But his speech can also be understood as the faint voice of a dumb peasant population that for centuries had already climbed Mont Ventoux without gaining the lasting prestige of Petrarch. I think that the general absence of the rural population on the canvas of the history of academic landscape aesthetics is prefigured in this anecdote. The Ventoux letter reports a failure: Although the summit was reached, the eye was not prepared to appreciate the panorama. Nevertheless, it exhibits in nuce what was later to become the dominant attitude: the panoramatic, distanced and disinterested view of the landscape. The latter attributes suggest that, for a concept of an aesthetics of the hand, it is important to identify Petrarch's aisthesis of the world not only as one of the eye but of overview, of watching from above.

We become aware of the overview paradigm in landscape aesthetics when we find ourselves in wide open land. This does not respond to notions of landscape derived from panoramic views, since panoramas aim at overlooking and controlling the land. I remember vividly how in Finland I felt immersed in the landscape. If on the ground or on the top of Aulanko tower in Hämeenlinna, one is always close and immersed. It is a similar experience in the high plains of Southern Europe, the causses of France, where one is swallowed by the undulating land and only the sky is left as counterpoint to the soil.

In this early document of a mountain tour, the paradigm of vision and scenery has a first, flash-like appearance. It took over 500 years to lead to a tangible occidental landscape aesthetics in which the discovery, or "invention," of the mountains continued to play a key role.[6] The Familiari letter had an important echo in the discussion of landscape aesthetics from the mid-19th century on, from Jacob Burckhardt to Joachim Ritter. The latter took up Petrarch's testimony and identified in it the paradigm of distanced and disinterested aesthetic theoria, the contemplation of the space of the land, and the emergence of a notion of landscape. According to him, all this became possible thanks only to man's liberation from the constraints and dangers of nature by the process of civilisation and at the price of estrangement from nature.[7]

3. An Aesthetics of Proximity?

Since detachment and a non-utilitarian attitude towards landscape form the basis of philosophical and arts aesthetics, the people on the land necessarily had the role of the counterpoint. They were thought of as being utilitarian, either scared by nature or enduring and stubborn in their struggle to gain a living from the fields; in brief, considered to be blind to beauty. I am doubtful of this, but well aware that the contention of an aesthetics of the hand and work needs not so much positive facts as a proper methodological argument. What the non-peasant world conceives as beauty is perhaps an issue of good life sought for by the peasants as the achievement of their unending toil. The bourgeois aesthetics of the rural landscape, being the result of sight-seeing, short stays, and purchasing power, creates a quite different kind of space from year-round farming practices and activities: stepping, touching, digging, hitting, carrying, swinging, tearing, pulling, pushing, toeing, breaking, killing, slaughtering.

Petrarch's Ventoux summit view experience is panoramatic, a scaringly "unrestricted spectacle," and alludes to a model from antique military history.[8] The panorama as an artistic genre was created later at the intersection of mapping the land as an object and painting the landscape in its physiognomy.[9] This exhibits an objectivating visual notion of the environment, skillfully creating a distance from the land by using both precise measurement and pictorial rules. It is contrary to the hand, which necessarily has to be close to the cultivated field. The hand does not overlook, whatsoever: it makes an essential difference if your workbench extends only into the immediate surroundings and is scattered between curtains of forest, or if you can appreciate it from a great distance, like in the Alps. With this elementary attitude towards space in mind, we will have to talk in very specific and differentiated ways of agricultural aesthetics, depending on whether we talk about Finnish, English, or Swiss agricultural landscapes, with respect to their physical and cultural bases.

What or who, then, is this "hand," which is as much metaphorical as concrete? The working hand is the most unnoticed and unaccepted element in all environmental concerns. For the aristocracy and bourgeois learned people, the aesthetics of environment has always been a matter of delight due to techniques and rituals of taking a distance from the dirty soil of the land and transforming it into a clean pictorial landscape or a positive balance of accounts. Not even the most pronounced esteem for the people of the land, like in Albrecht von Haller's "Alpen" poem from the first half of the 18th century, gave them a place in the making of the early mountain landscape aesthetics from which stems today's appreciation.[10] Local people were part of the aesthetic tidiness of the finished landscape, and thus nothing but a phantasm. Even for Haller and his followers, they remained the stubborn and utilitarian people, the dirty workers of the soil which they have always been considered to be.

When I stress the fundamental phenomenological character of distance and proximity, or the historical conditions of elite and peasant class, I make a contention. The real problem is one rather ethnographic in character: How can we deal at all with the differences in the notions of aesthetics between unbridgeable lifeworlds, each with its own perceptions and values? If the learned world expresses itself by writing and painting and earns the codes "eye" and "distance," what is the expression of the illiterate rural world? Should we give him the codes "hand" and "proximity"? Is this communicated to us by the product of his work, the field or the landscape? Our trouble is that we have to talk about rural people's conjectured aesthetics in narratives and stereotypes from the world of scholars.

4. Professional Sensitivity

Can professional sensitivity be a useful term and notion for approaching an aesthetics of proximity and of work? Is it able to open an interstice that allows us to imagine and conceptualize a mute aesthetics of rural people? The essential feature of professional sensitivity is the highly selective perception of the least differences. It creates a high level of sensuous discrimination, containing the instantaneous identification and the symbolic representation either in practice or in words.[11] Moreover, it aims at an embodied, incarnated performance of the senses. This is against the idea of separate channels of sensation already dismissed by J. J. Gibson as a concept implying passive sensing in favor of an active search for sensations and constants in changing situations.[12] The existence and work of search and discrimination would account for the label "aesthetic."

Painters throughout the age of the making of the picturesque landscape have known this type of differences with respect to light, color, and the techniques associated with rendering them. What was instrumental to artists for creating an atmosphere was and is essential to any farmer. As a matter of fact, the farmer's workbench is a living and changing one. The least change is the object of an appreciation, fleeting or reflected, a positioning in terms of memory and an investment in skills.

However, a term like professional sensitivity is about a capacity of sensory experience that is present in everyday perception, as well as in professional contexts of performance. This is especially true in the rural context where lived space and worked space are highly congruent, and technical skills and sensitivity amalgamate. Skill is the capacity to repeat a specialised practice on the basis of past experience, diagnosis of a development, and anticipation of a desired effect. Underlying such skills is my assumption that aesthetic appreciation is borne from a search that is an expression of experience, discrimination,and practice.

I found the term professionalized sensitivity while doing research on non-visual perception and culture. The farmers of a pre-alpine village in Eastern Switzerland traditionally had a high aural sensitivity for the weather, an ability which was probably widespread and still is in large parts of the world. I would call it "aural meteorology," the individual anticipation of weather by listening. It precedes today's collective visual forecast where distance takes the form of satellite images. The farmers of Gonten had an aural orientation in the direction and intensity of the wind that was rooted in their experience of the weather changes relevant to their work.[13] When the sound of certain distant church bells or cow bells could be heard ringing "as if closer," an immediate conclusion was drawn about the stability or instability of the weather and plans for mowing were correspondingly modified. Since the perspective of acoustic space is extremely localized, the perception of the least difference is also an idiosyncratic discrimination, part of the identity of a place. Moving to another, unknown place is an uprooting that disables.

Apart from farming, we find a great many technical professions that exhibit this kind of specialized aural sensitivity: clockmakers, railway workers, motor mechanics, sea captains, midwives. As with the aural meteorology, this capacity instantly vanishes when the practice becomes obsolete for technological or economic reasons. In the case of Gonten, the growing size of the farmsteads and the subsequent increase in mechanized farming activities separated the realm of perception from the realm of action and practice and made the practice of aural meteorology collapse. As the need to maintain the skill by constant search and practice becomes unnecessary, the capacity of discriminating capacity quickly expires.

I do not want to play the visual off against the aural -- the eye, the ear, and the hand are part of one person -- but just to remark that in terms of the history of ideas, the shift from the auditory mode to the visual and other modes is not a simple and linear one.[14] There are not analogies but complementarities and contradictions between the many modes. "Professional" watching, hearing, smelling, tasting, or touching differ from each other with respect to embodiment and therefore practise. Were it the sounds of tractors or silence that currently make up an agricultural landscape and not its visual qualities, we would already have an aesthetics of the work process rather than of the product.

5. On Mowing

In order to contribute more empirical evidence, let me take mowing with a scythe as an exemplary kind of work. Perhaps it is too picturesque, due to its gesture, and too nostalgic because nowadays it has been thoroughly replaced by mechanised procedures. My source is a farmer in the Domleschg Valley in the Central Grisons, Switzerland.[15] This is a valley with a high density of historical places and a highly developed consciousness of this. When asking him about "nice work," at first it was not easy to get other than objectivating narratives, but finally, when talking about mowing by the scythe, the work itself became the center of our talk.

The generations around the middle of the last century called people doing their mowing job badly "banknote mowers" or "Hodler mowers." The one-hundred franc banknote from the early 20th century shows on its back a mower in activity that is visibly exerting.

In 1911, Ferdinand Hodler, renowned at that time as the author of Swiss identitary painting, had been commissioned to sketch the first fifty and one hundred franc banknotes. Among Hodler's proposals was "a mower in action, symbolising rhythm."[16] Working out the final draft, Hodler responded to the demands of the commission by changing the background from clouds to the "solid" mountain landscape that was finally engraved.

The "Hodler banknote" saying points to the real practice. "Nice work, well done work," is expressed by a term for "proper" or "clean" work. The meadow is considered "tidied up" after mowing for technical reasons: The grass is cut with the scythe as close to the soil as possible. The scythe's blade is wielded in a flat way, the mower almost does not swing back his scythe, and the scythe has to be very sharp. One ideally mows in a way that makes the hard work seem easy, done elegantly, as it were. As an illustration of this, my interlocutor remembers having seen fifty years ago in Bavaria men mowing in a row with synchronised rhythm. This corresponds to the perception of mowing as "a toil but beautiful work, if everything was right." It was at the same time a performance and a representation, without dirt nor sweat. We are not far from the image of a musical event, which could even be a work song coordinating the movements.

This proprioceptive aesthetics of the worker is as much perceptual as technical: the first cannot be separated from the second. The land and the work are then measured in this category of embodiment: a "Mannsmahd" (the specific performance of one man) or a "Morgen" ("morning," the specific performance of a half a workday), measuring a work unit with reference to surface and work-time, was approximately 20 to 25 ar with grass-mowing and respectively 4 to 5 ar with vine pruning. To deliver this performance, good maintenance of tools and excellent mowing skills were needed.

The mowing motive is also found in Jean Giono's novel Que ma joie demeure (Stay My Joy) of 1935. This French writer observes with a keen and empathic eye the gestures of the agricultural work of his time, and with ideas that were not alien to the contemporary "blood and soil" ideology. He lends his literacy to the voice of an oral culture. We have to keep in mind that any transmission of this kind is a translation and needs hermeneutical work by the reader. Que ma joie demeure is about the beauty of the fields and the work on the land. It is grounded in Giono's idea of true wealth, as explained by him in his Les vraies richesses (The True Wealth) of 1936.[17]

In the novel we find a scene of mowing corn. One of the immigrants to the Haute Provence, where the novel is situated, is allowed by the others to mow in "his style." He mows very close to the soil in order to save the straw for the coverage of the roofs:

"Jacquou bent down and picked up an ear of corn. It was cut exactly at the knot at the foot. It was complete, as if untouched, as if mowed by a divine mower. Jacquou kept his ear of corn between the fingers. It was too beautiful. A kind of work people did only in the past. It needs time to achieve this, he said to himself. It needs, said he, time to lose to mow like this."[18]

Here the story is not at all about the beauty of the land but about the beauty of the work itself. The region of the novel's plot, the Haute Provence, has no thatched roofs, so to mow with the intention to save the straw is functional nonsense and, at the same time, an aesthetic experiment. But also the notions of time spent on the work are discussed in this short scene. Spending more time than utility imposes is a call from a time when acceleration in all economic activities was already well known but had not yet reached the agricultural hinterlands.

For my Swiss interlocutor, the notion of the "beautiful" in the toil also contained the loss of time, when mentioning the opportunities for an awareness beyond the limits of the meadow or field. The "pleasant" aspect of toil was the time-outs when honing the blade or when having a drink, the moments of looking at the land and the landscape and listening to its sounds.

An aesthetics of the hand is an aesthetics of action, for example, of execution, of gestures, and of bodies. As an acting aesthetic, it is subject to time. Again, time is a parameter withheld by the dominant aesthetics of the eye, most evident in the awe expressed by the early travellers to the Alps who searched for timelessness and eternity in the ice masses of the glaciers. "Time to lose" is as substantial as is "land to abandon." This is exactly the message of the main character in Giono's novel, Bobi. Suddenly one of the farmers confesses to him:

"I have never seen autumn," he said.

"Anyway, it's not your first."

"I've never had the time."[19]

Having time is taking time is giving time. "On n'est pas pressé" -- "one is in no hurry" -- is mentioned in the considerations about the work of sowing as an act of taking care of, being careful with the land, such as the old farmer Jacquou comments on sowing when the wind is too strong:

"It piles the grains up in one place. It takes you the grains into the air; it makes of your field a kind of ugly filling with tufts and bleak spots." [20]

The articulation of the work and its result in the land is considered as a dynamic process. Its conventional aesthetic dimension becomes visible -- the field should be sowed evenly. Here Giono shifts towards a landscaping aesthetics, when he lets Bobi convince the farmers of the Grémone high plain to grow useless crops such as daffodils, and to think of planting trees. Where there is grass, flowers come by themselves, the sheep-keeper thought, and he omitted the second hay harvesting. The old farmer asks him:

"You didn't do the second harvest."

"No", he winked with his eye.

"One smells it", Jacquou said." The fragrance of the grass is stronger than in the other years."[21]

The same Jacquou, guardian of the tradition, is later sowing flower seeds himself, just seeds of flowers. He asks his ancestors why they transmitted the rule to him that"a meadow is of grass. The flower is good for nothing. What pays is what is between the flower and its root."[22]

Talking this way with his ancestors and scolding them for their stubbornness, Jacquou admits that agricultural work is never the sheer gesture or procedure, but incarnates a set of traditions and ideas about the land. Thus, the mowing is more than the moment of mowing as an individual performance with all the aspects of technique and skill, but is part of the social lifeworld.

Today, you will certainly still find people harvesting small surfaces by scythe, but the grass is usually mowed mechanically. I still have no evidence of the tractor driver's perception, just noticing that, due to the considerable structural change of agriculture, the new conditions and constraints have affected the rhythms in a general way and created a different appraisal of the land. My Swiss interlocutor estimates that today's farmers have better knowledge of the botanical qualities of a meadow than had his father's generation and his own: with the distance to the land, indirect knowledge increases. The mechanical mower cuts the grass less low as the scythe used to do, thus abolishing the old notions of "tidiness" or "cleanliness." This allows the grass to grow out quicker and secures the second or even third harvest in the lower meadows, another utilitarian as well as aesthetic fact. Outside agriculture, the lawn ideal of how a grassy surface should be has seized the power in the ideals and economy of landscaping, strengthening the idea of tidiness, cleanliness and regularization.

6. On and On

A characteristic feature of the constant, seasonal change of the cultivated land is the destruction of the farmer's work, which has to be redone every year. Thus sensitivity and engagement have to do with the daily and seasonal repetition, for example, with the everyday violence from and against plants and animals. Contrary to the painters' practice, this sensitivity is not an issue of harmonic dwelling and interplay, but of exploiting the environment. It does not prevent us from assuming that the outcome is a honed sensitivity, not becoming blunted.

In Southern France I took a walk with a farmer's wife in her seventies.[23] She had left active agriculture about ten years ago. Violence and nature's violent reaction to man's work were not directly mentioned but became obvious: We had to find our way through a broom maquis which had grown on land formerly cultivated by her and her husband. Although she knew that, she was surprised when we got caught in it:

"That really -- look, I would never have believed-- these brooms there. Never. One has to come close to believe it, it is actually a jungle."[24]

It turned out that, for her, the two varieties of broom present on the land, the small ash-broom and the tall Spanish broom, had no names; they just were there, insofar as they look and grow differently, thereby expressing the quality of the soil. We crossed a former vineyard where some vines had managed to reappear in the grass. Some thirty years ago a carriageway had been built in order to transport the boxes in which they used to harvest the grapes. I dropped a remark that nothing has ever been for free up here, and her affirmative reaction was very strong:

"Ah nononononononononono! One has to earn it, one really earns it! Here one earns it REALLY, everything, all, all-all-all!"

And looking at a passage that was recently cut into the broom by the chaff-cutter, she said:

"That's something unbelievable, one has to go over it EVERY YEAR! Every year, in order to say, to-- No, it does not give anything for free, one has to earn everything! (. . . ) But one never talks about maintaining it: one had to do it, not talk of it. One did not talk about the toil of maintaining it."

There is a particular stress in her words on the continual need of the "hand" in the field.[25] "Every year," as she words it, means of course "all year round"; every season calls for its own repetitive work. Once you sit down, the maquis creeps over fields and pastures, as is the case in this place. Although she is certainly not depressive, she formulates with a peculiar ambivalence. Saying that she always had "a very hard life," she does nevertheless not deny that from childhood on, working outdoors substantially appealed to her. An aesthetics of the hand does not necessarily have to leave out toil and suffering to create joyful experience, as is the case with the dominant panoramatic aesthetics. Enjoyment even does not emerge without toil and time spent on the task.

When we hear such a testimony, we have to check to what degree this is ideological and how far it can be called phenomenological. Thus, for instance, Giono's most precise observations of gestures and attitudes merge into the ideological conclusions of his very own view of nature and society, where the physical toil of rural life contrasts to the psychical toil of urban life. This led him to the opinion that the unhealthy urban realm has to be healed by the capacities of the good rural space. If we get trapped by this kind of statement, we fail to understand both the role of the hand and its very own process-oriented aesthetics.

Therefore I want to interpret this woman's words about the hardships of life as a reference to the steadiness and repetition of the toil. Part of the violence of nature is what the broom "jungle" demonstrated: nature's capacity to re-conquer all places marked by human work, a silent violence testing man's strength.

7. Concluding Questions

I have been wondering if the seeming absence of rural people from the tableau of aesthetics of environment is due to unbridgeable categories between the learned world and the illiterate world; and if a notion like professional sensitivity could thus give a voice to the mute and release evidence of a "popular" landscape aesthetics. Yet before giving a voice to the counterposition, we have to ask whether the traditional view of an absence of aesthetics of the sensitivities of the hand, that is, of action, is an anaesthetics in the fundamental sense proposed by Wolfgang Welsch fifteen years ago: the blind spot necessary to allow a positive aesthetics.[26] Or if the assumption of an embodied, an incarnated aesthetics, as it were,[27] can lead further: an aesthetics that is not sheer animality as opposed to spirituality, but which makes the senses' search shift from controlling sight to a synaesthetic presence and from a distanced attitude to a participatory one.

This fundamental question arises from the observation that an aesthetics of agricultural work will privilege proximity and the discrimination of fine differences. Thus the aesthetic of the field operates in opposition to occidental panoramic aesthetics and as a counterpoint to traditional pictorial landscape notions. Its notions of utility and payoff are antagonists to detachment and disinterestedness.

The senses' sensitivity is formed and is modified by interaction with the physical and cultural environment, be it urban or rural. The "hand" in the landscape is metaphorical, allowing a question of scale to be raised: the becoming of an agricultural landscape, being beyond an individual's command, is a realization of the interaction of nature with society. It surpasses the individual spatially, since the individual is limited to the reach of his "arm," tools, and competences; and its becoming goes beyond his "breath" span, his lifetime.

Any aesthetics of agricultural work is rooted in action and process. Although the farmer is forced into repetitive work, he takes up the rhythms of the environment and modifies them according to his own goals. The farmer's field's duration and bound times correspond to the painter's scenic viewpoints' fixed views and proportions. The toil in the field binds, but gives opportunity to sense the land in all of its changing qualities.

Any phenomenological approach to an aesthetics of agricultural work has to beware of many ideological traps. The present article has been presenting past and, as it were, "pure" agricultural settings at the risk of inappropriate nostalgia. Yet it is necessary to study now the very front of capitalist mechanised agriculture and its interaction with the present-day conurbations with the concepts I have tentatively exposed.


I thank the organisers of the 2003 international conference, "Pellon estetiikka," in particular Yrjö Sepänmaa, for having set in motion my reflection on the topic of an aesthetic of work by inviting me for a talk in Lepaa.

[1] Francesco Petrarch (1361), Rerum familiarum libri I-VIII (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1975), Trans. Aldo S. Bernardo, pp. 173f. The translation by Paul Halsall which can be found in: Medieval Sourcebook. Petrarch: The Ascent of Mount Ventoux (1998) (halsall@murray.fordham.edu), pp. 310f, is smoother but also less suitable for hermeneutical work.

[2] Ruth Groh, Dieter Groh 21996, "Petrarca und der Mont Ventoux," in Groh & Groh, Die Aussenwelt der Innenwelt (Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 1991), pp. 17-82.

[3] Jácek Wózniakowski, Die Wildnis. Zur Deutungsgeschichte des Berges in der europäischen Neuzeit (Góry niewzruszone) (Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 1987 (1974), pp. 76f.

[4] Rather than the image of the good shepherd the warning in Mark 14.27 and correspondingly in Matthew 16.31.

[5] Groh & Groh 21996.

[6] Scholarly presentation by Wózniakowski (1987). Philippe Joutard, L'invention du mont Blanc (Gallimard/Julliard, 1986).

[7] Joachim Ritter, "Landschaft. Zur Funktion des Ästhetischen in der modernen Gesellschaft Rede anlässlich der Übernahme des Rektoratamtes," in Schriften der Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität zu Münster 54 (Münster Wf: Aschendorffsche Verlagsbuchhandlung (1962) 1978). (Also in Gert Gröning and Ulfert Herlyn (eds), "Arbeiten zur sozialwissenschaftlich orientierten Freiraumplanung 10," Landschaftswahrnehmung und Landschaftserfahrung. Texte zur Konstitution und Rezepition von Naturals Landschaft, (München: Minerva Publikation, 1990) pp. 23-41.)

[8] Familiari IV.1, (1975), p. 176.

[9] Gustav Solar, Das Panorama und seine Vorentwicklung bis zu Hans Conrad Escher (Zürich, 1979).

[10] Albrecht von Haller, Lehrgedicht Die Alpen (1729). See the excellent commentary on Haller's ideological background by Jacek Wózniakowski, Die Wildnis. des Berges in der europäischen Neuzeit, (1987) pp. 243ff.

[11] The root of the word discrimination, the Greek krīnō, points to the act of separating and deciding, thus denoting involvement and engagement. In this context it is interesting that the word skill originally denoted the same.

[12] James J. Gibson, The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems (London: Allen & Unwin, (1958, 1964) 1966).

[13] Justin Winkler, Klanglandschaften. Untersuchungen zur Konstitution der klanglichen Umwelt in der Wahrnehmungskultur ländlicher Orte in der Schweiz (Basel University habilitation thesis, unpublished, 1995).

[14] This has been discussed for some time with respect to the relationship of orality to literacy and the impact of their respective logics on the organisation of thought and society, e.g. by the social anthropologist Jack Goody and by Walter J. Ong in many publications.

[15] Interviews with Rudolf Künzler on June 19 and 23, 2003, in Sils i.D., Grisons, Switzerland.

[16] Michel de Rivaz, "Collection la mémoire de l'oeil," (1997), The Swiss banknote 1907-1997, p. 26. The alternative was actually a "motionless mower, proudly erect in his field."

[17] Jean Giono, Les vraies richesses (Paris: Grasset, 1937).

[18] Que ma joie demeure XXII, 372. (All translations into English by J.W.)

"Jacquou se baissa et ramassa une tige de blé. Elle était coupée juste à l'anneau de terre. Elle était entiére, comme pas touchée, fauchée comme par un faucheur divin. Jacquou garda sa tige de blé dans les doigts. C'était trop beau. Un travail qu'on ne fait plus. Il faut du temps pour faire ça, se disait-il. Il faut avoir, se disait-il, du temps à perdre pour faucher comme ça."

[19] Qmjd 228:

"Je n'avais jamais vu l'automne", dit-il.

"Ce n'est cependant pas le premier."

"Je n'avais jamais eu le temps."

[20] Qmjd 231:

"Rien n'est si mauvais. Ça entasse les grains dans le même endroit. ça vous vole les grains dans la main ; ça fait de votre champ une sorte de bourre vilaine avec des touffes et des pelades. On avait bien décidé de moins semer. Et justement pour cette raison il fallait le bien faire. C'était agréable de regarder le temps, se dire "non, pas encore aujourd'hui" et puis, savoir qu'on n'est pas pressé et que tous les moments de la vie sont bons à vivre, même ceux pendant lesquels on n'a rien et qu'on attend d'avoir, même quand on a quelque chose à faire et que c'est pressé."

[21] Qmjd 232:

"Tu n'as pas fait la deuxième coupe"

"Non"- il cligna de l'œil.

"On le sent", dit Jacquou. "L'odeur de l'herbe est plus forte que les autres années."

[22] Qmjd 300:

"Un pré, c'est de l'herbe. La fleur ne sert à rien. Ce qui compte, c'est ce qui est entre la fleur et la racine.

[23] "Working on the experience of passing environments: on commented walks," summer course of the International Institute for Applied Aesthetics, Siikaniemi Course Center, Hollola, August 20, 2002.

[24] This, like the following remarks, is from a commented walk done with Marie-Louise Conil on 22th April 2003 in Montbrun-les-Bains, Drôme. Original in French, translation J.W.

[25] To maintain from manu tenēre, to hold in the hand, but also figuratively to be certain of a thing.

[26] Welsch Wolfgang, "Ästhetik und Anästhetik," in idem, Ästhetisches Denken (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1990 (1989)), pp. 9-40.

[27] Pauline von Bondsdorff, "Agriculture and the worlds of nature," unpublished paper presented at The Aesthetics of Agriculture, Fifth International Conference on Environmental Aesthetics, Häme Polytechnic Lepaa, Finland, 5-8 August, 2003.

Justin Winkler

Geographisches Institut der Universitat

Klingelbergstr. 27

4056 Basel, Switzerland


Published June 22, 2005