The first chapter of Multispecies Landscapes places observation at the centre of searching and understanding ways of living in and with multispecies landscapes. In early January 2022, Tery set her first goal: observation as a method of learning about the landscape. She began with the daily practice of observing, photographing, and describing a small fragment of the Beatrixpark in Utrecht as a way to explore her own gaze, perception, attention, attitude toward the observed fragment, and to observe the change of all of the above. Over time, the question that became increasingly important was: What influences and shapes the view?

By regularly describing a small fragment of the park, it became clear that language and vocabulary strongly influence the perception of the elements that are creating the landscape, which established “landscape literacy” and various practices and approaches to “reading” the landscape as the main topics of the research. The working hypothesis that “landscape literacy” strongly influences our relationship with the environment brings to the debate the importance of learning and unlearning the gaze and ways of observation, and the topic of attention as historically and culturally shaped.

The first event of Multispecies Landscapes will be a reading group in which we will discuss the importance of observation (not just visual) and “landscape literacy” for our relationships with various agents form which the landscape is emerging.

»When I first learned polyphony, it was a revelation in listening; I was forced to pick out separate, simultaneous melodies and to listen for the moments of harmony and dissonance they created together. This kind of noticing is just what is needed to appreciate the multiple temporal rhythms and trajectories of the assemblage.« (Anna Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World. On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins, 24)

On Sunday, 20th March at 4.00 p.m. in the Old Power Station the reading was accompanied by the opening of the installation, an invitation to observe and search for ways to coexist with various temporalities of relationships.