Research description

The Landworks laboratorio del paesaggio 2012 (L3) situates its activity within the third installation of Landworks. Founded by the assemblage of eleven young researchers from North America, Europe and Asia, the team performs within the geomorphologic limits of the Monteveccio mining region in Sardinia. Specifically, the perimeter of engagement concentrates on the infrastructure at the end of the mining facilities of Pireddu, Ingurtosi. Within this territory, the study centralizes on a seam located between the final mineral washing process and one of the region’s principal discard zones. This conceptually fertile, yet impoverished and abandoned “piazza” determines the territory of operations for the L3 team.
L3 research follows a daily course of investigations that lures the group across terrain following the miner’s foot-paths. On-site work includes regular testing and experimentation with materials and space using low-tech methods and a small array of hand-tools. External input is injected from ex-mining professionals in the fields of geology and permaculture. Important consideration includes territorial investigation at the micro, macro and meso scales, the passage of time, the industrial mining history, the nature of rejuvenation, team choreography, continued learning and knowledge transfer. Research is formulated via the scientific method thus inverting the accepted mode of “design as research” (often deployed in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture and urban design) into “research as design” thus setting up a linear trajectory of inquiry. The method begins with formulating the critical research question and establishing a hypothesis intended to drive a series of investigations. Investigations are then tested though the execution of a number of prototypes and pilot projects. Results are assessed and the investigations are modified if resources are available and are tested again.
Critical to the foundation of the L3 investigation is a clarified response to the question, “Why intervene?”. A follow-up question intending to elucidate the L3 hypothesis probes “Why here (in Ingurtosu), why now?”. Understanding the core and ramifications of both simple queries assists in better honing daily tactics (identifying working media, clarifying scales of intervention, constructing legible portals of knowledge transfer and contending with the omni-present pressure to determine the correct aesthetic vehicle to transport the message) designed towards a few clear pedagogic intentions; to establish and maintain a healthy learning environment, to provide skills, to use research for design, to stimulate our power to observe, to empower young designers and perhaps most importantly, to do so in a manner that stimulates pleasure (to have fun).
Research transfer occurs across the course of the ten-day investigation in the form of an on-line blog, off-site posting of research visualizations, a hosted site-visit as well as a summary research report and peer-review. Skills to be honed include abstract visualization, foraging, stop-motion imaging, bamboo harvesting, on-line research, three-dimensional design and composting to name a few. An L3 lexicon includes the examination of the meanings the terms that include but are not limited to; intervene, extract, discard, operate, remediate and intention.
The project form evolves through the series of operations aimed, not at generating the form itself but at pursuing the course of pre-set intentions. Such method is one that induces a state of engagement impassioning the L3 team and ultimately driving the group across the ten-day research period. Final site form indicates that research is crude, imprecise and incomplete but the work’s visualization upon the selected terrain of engagement hopes to motivate a series of critical discussions that will catalyze a more serious engagement of remediation.

Ingurtosu, 30 May 2012

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