Touch Nature – From Exhibit to Action
Image: Still of Michael Endlicher’s video work “Aber, Aber, Aber”/”But, But, But”, AT 2021, 7:04, German with English subtitles
February 22 | 7 PM
Please RSVP here
About the Event
The art works presented in the ACFNY exhibition Touch Nature address our dire ecological crisis: They investigate the multifaceted impact human activity has on nature and the climate and they seek to envision a new relationship between humans and nature, rooted in mindfulness and sustainability. During the closing panel, scholars and practitioners in landscape architecture engage in a discussion on how to get from exhibit to action. Landscape architecture focuses on design in the public realm, with a focus on the relationship between the living and built worlds, especially to engage and create meaningful multispecies relationships. Landscape architecture aims to augment the well-being of humans, plants, and animals that, together, form a living environment. Dr. Anette Freytag, a native Austrian and Professor of the History and Theory of Landscape Architecture at Rutgers University, Dr. Rosetta S. Elkin, Principal of Practice Landscape, and Director of the Master of Landscape Architecture Program at Pratt Institute, and Elizabeth Kennedy, FASLA, Founder and Principal of EKLA PLLC, one of NYC’s leading open space design and consulting firms, will discuss how this discipline may help lead us out of the current climate crisis.
Please find more information about the exhibition Touch Nature here. The exhibition, curated by Dr. Sabine Fellner and co-curated with Dr. Stephanie Buhmann, is on display at the ACFNY until February 25th, 2024.
About the Panelists
Dr. Anette Freytag is the Professor of the History and Theory of Landscape Architecture at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University. She is the author of The Landscapes of Dieter Kienast (2021, J. B. Jackson Book Prize 2022), The Gardens of La Gara (2018, European Garden Book Award 2019) and several other books and numerous peer reviewed papers and articles. She is an expert of the work of Josef Hoffmann, Gustav Klimt, and the Wiener Werkstätte, and wrote a highly regarded study on the garden of the Stoclet House in Brussels (1905-1911) that contributed to the inscription of the ensemble on the UNESO World Heritage List. Dr. Freytag’s research focuses on designed landscapes from the 19th century to the contemporary practice with a particular focus on topology, phenomenology, and walking. In 2019, she co-founded the Arts Integration Research Collaborative (AIR), which prioritizes creative placemaking to foster spatial justice through projects that seek safe access to nature for all. Before joining Rutgers University, Dr. Freytag taught at the universities of Basel (Institute of Art History), Innsbruck (Institute of Urban Design and Institute of Art History), KU Leuven (MAS Conservation), and the ETH Zurich (Department of Architecture), from where she holds a Doctor of Sciences and the ETH Medal Award for Outstanding Scientific Research. Image Credits: Andreas Eggenberger
Dr. Rosetta S. Elkin is the Founding Academic Director of Landscape Architecture at Pratt Institute, where she teaches landscape as an ecological practice and a cultural medium. In writing and scholarship, she aims to experiment with the ways in which we compose our worlds, blurring the traditional boundaries in the research process through firsthand engagement and fieldwork. Professionally, Rosetta is the Principal and Founder of Practice Landscape, a collaborative studio that prioritizes land-based projects through gardens, public exhibitions, and horticultural techniques to promote a more thoughtful and accountable design agenda. She is also a research Associate at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum, which helps her stay connected to the behavior of plants in the public realm. Rosetta loves writing and contributes to various publications and journals where she writes about landscape and the living world. Her books include a portrait of three gardens in Tiny Taxonomy: Individual Plants in Landscape Architecture (Actar, 2017), a study on the rise of global tree-planting programs in Plant Life: The Entangled Politics of Afforestation (University of Minnesota Press, 2022) and a creative approach to fieldwork in a changing climate in Landscapes of Retreat (K. Verlag, 2023).
Elizabeth J Kennedy, FASLA, RLA is a Design Trust for Public Space Research Fellow and the 2022 recipient of the Landscape Architecture Foundation Medal, which honors a career of distinguished work in landscape sustainability. The medal award follows her 2021 elevation to the ASLA Council of Fellows and recognizes her efforts to intersect cultural heritage and ecology in socially just ways. Deemed “an exceptional leader, visionary, entrepreneur, advocate for social change, designer, teacher, and mentor to young professional women and BIPOC designers,” Elizabeth’s leadership contributions have received notable awards for landscape architecture and professional development, and she is nationally recognized for her insight into working landscapes and cultural site development. She is a highly sought jurist, panelist, and speaker on topics pertaining to sustainability, the natural environment, social history, and regenerative urban design. Elizabeth J Kennedy heads EKLA, which she founded in 1994. Black-owned and woman-run, EKLA is the longest-surviving such firm in the country. Its longevity is intrinsically tied to Elizabeth’s tenacity and her belief in the importance of service—to clients, the community, the emerging professionals she trains, the profession, and the process of design. The work she directs quietly challenges mainstream assumptions about the aspirations and needs of underrepresented voices in the face of systems and biases that have long dispossessed the less powerful of spaces and rendered the people who use them invisible. In countering this invisibility, her projects exemplify landscape architecture’s potential to engage a broader critical understanding of place and identity.