Pin(k) A Place — Disclosing landscape

Pin(k) a Place by Bella Bluemink, Eva Ventura, Eva Willemsen, Federica Sanchez, Ge Hong, Ilya Tasioula, Jan Gerk de Boer, Joey Liang, Lukas Kropp, Maël Vanhelsuwé, Maximilian Einert, Michelle Siemerink, Qingyun Lin, Timothy Radhitya Djagiri, and Yao Lu: The project is an analysis, interpretation and design of the topography and spatial identity of a landscape. The given site and the theme of the festival are expressed in a landscape art project, which has been performed during the Oerol festival on the island of Terschelling. By mainly sensory perception the context and identity of the place will be discovered, which is the starting point for further research and analysis. The study of distinctive and unique aspects of the landscape is translated into a design. Experience of the place and results of the research shape the base for an interactive art installation, which puts specific aspects of the landscape on stage at the festival, where visitors with different backgrounds joined the design process.

Pin(k) A Place is a project that operates on the surface of the forest, overlapping the existing landscape without deleting or modifying it substantially. It is a project, which strives to be reversible; impermanent but at the same time trying to provoke reactions. By introducing icons to the landscape and engaging the visitors physically and emotionally, it tries to choreograph a relationship between the visitors and the forest. Thereby, the visitors of the forest become co-authors and an integrative part of this investigative research project. The intention behind this interactive research of people’s perception of the landscape is to understand and document what, where and why people feel most attached to. Doing so the project opens a conversation with the visitor, stimulates their conscious examination of their environment as well as active participation. It locates the individual findings and builds a collectively authored archive of perceptions. By doing so we are trying to improve the understanding of perception of the landscape, searching for the sense of the forest.

On site: The first assignment given when visitors come to site, is to go into the forest and to use a bamboo stick with a pink top to “pin the place where the forest gives you the strongest feeling”. In order to find this place, visitors are stimulated to use all their senses activating further exploration of the landscape.

The second item the visitors take with them into the forest is a pinhole camera. They get the assignment to use it to take a photo on the spot where they pinned the stick. With the assignment the visitors are told that the photo they take is supposed to represent the source of their strongest feeling; the element in the landscape that made them choose this spot as the place where they had the strongest feeling. It could be a photo of a detail or of an overview but a selfie representing a memory was also an option. The fact that we ask the visitors to take a photo forces them to look around but also to look inside. Within this lies the connection between the space of the forest to the visitors inside. It is the step that makes the forest not just a space, but also a place. The analogue way of taking a photo makes it so the visitors only get one chance to take the photo. This makes the action a very conscious one and activates the visitors to really look, feel and then choose.

In order to know what visitors feel we give them a notepaper. The notepaper is completely empty except for the word ‘notes’ and a square for the pinhole photo. This way, the visitors are free to write or draw whatever they want to, giving them the opportunity to elaborate and to share. Bringing the visitors from looking outside to the forest (finding the spot), to inside themselves (feeling a feeling), to outside of the forest (taking the picture) and back inside themselves (describing what they felt). This creates an interplay between the personal space and the environment, the visitors and the landscape.

As the installation also holds an aspect of research, we have to locate the sticks so we can relate the notepapers with their feeling and stories to the respective place to make conclusions about the space. To do that, we layed out a grid over the forest. This grid consists out of white crosses on the ground representing grid points. A cross has four corners, each standing for one quadrant of the grid. So when the visitors pin the stick, take the photo, write down their notes, they are asked to find the closest cross and write down the number that stands for the according quadrant. This simple gives us a reference we can use for the documentation.

After the experience inside the forest, the first step is to hand in the pinhole camera so the picture can be developed. During the development, the visitors are asked to think back to what they felt in the forest and choose a category from the emotion wheel. This emotion wheel has 6 categories of emotions or feelings in which ‘all’ feelings can be divided. The visitors are asked to choose the color of the feeling category, that best matches their strongest feeling in the forest.

In the meantime, the picture is developed and hung from a line on the dark room. The moment has arrived when the visitors can see how their photo came out. Recognizing or discovering what the photo shows is part of the magic of the archive. Since the photos do not come out like the photos from your phone would, a level of attention is required to really dive into what it exactly shows. But the important thing is that it generates the feeling of involvement as opposed to detachment. However, how taking the photo was a moment of curiosity and tension, the receiving of the photo is a moment of unraveling, of reflection. This moment is used to close the chapter of your own feelings and to open up to the others.

The next step is to stick the photo to the notepaper and place this paper on the according table in the archive. The tables are shaped and positioned to be a scaled version of the grid in the forest. The tables all have a number each representing a quadrant in the forest. According to this, the visitor knows on which table to place their notepaper. Leaving the paper behind in the archive is just like letting go of the stick and thereby your feeling. Now the notepaper with its personal story is not just yours anymore, it is part of the installation for others to discover. It can bring some sort of a realization that every person is different beyond imagination and that every perception of the same landscape is not the same. These are interesting lessons we, but also visitors take home from Pin(k) a Place.

The archive shows where the strongest feelings accumulate. It shows the ratio of which areas were popular and which ones were not. You could call this a live infographic mental mind map. The tables with the fatter books mean more sticks so more ‘strongest’ feelings. The installation gives the visitors a direct feedback of their contribution to the installation and part of its results.

© All images by Pin(k) A Place team

Pin(k) A Place team: We are Bella Bluemink, Eva Ventura, Eva Willemsen, Federica Sanchez, Ge Hong, Ilya Tasioula, Jan Gerk de Boer, Joey Liang, Lukas Kropp, Maël Vanhelsuwé, Maximilian Einert, Michelle Siemerink, Qingyun Lin, Timothy Radhitya Djagiri, Yao Lu. During this project we were Master students in the fields of Landscape Architecture, Architecture and Urban Design at TU Delft and we represent 6 different countries. Advised by our tutors Denise Piccinini and Rene van der Velde we are the brains behind this project.