I am still digesting things I’ve read while I was researching my proposal. Perhaps the most unsettling book I read was J. B. Jackson’s Discovering the Vernacular Landscape.
Irritatingly, to me, he seems to accept all too easily the incursion of malls and boxes on the outskirts of our population centers. Susan Abbott mentioned this in a comment: Now I hope you can help me develop more tolerance for some landscape feature that irritates the hell out of me. Maybe Mcmansions, or strip malls (and J.B. jackson actually likes them, though he was writing in the 60's before they took over the planet.).
Implied in her comment was the question is it possible to see them as positive. The next day, I offered a shot of the new Lowe’s on Shelburne Road as an image that was a good image, but not something Lowe's would like.
Near the end of his book, Jackson offers this: A landscape . . . is the field of perpetual conflict and compromise between what is established by authority and what the vernacular insists upon preferring.
The word "conflict" appears here, as it did in almost everything I read about Vermont (except perhaps in my mother's copy of the 1926 Vermont for Young Vermonters, a 1926 history text for Vermont schools).
But, I wonder, what percentage of the population actually does think about landscape? And the more I've read, the more I wonder. Do most go along with whatever comes along, unthinking because the subject is simply not on their radar as a subject? It's not that they don't care, it's that the subject is non-existent for them. The distinction is an important one because thinking about something and not caring is quite different from never thinking about it.
If the majority of Vermonters fall into the latter category, then perhaps the AOA works can have a significant impact.
My thinking here is that because any AOA exhibit will be about Vermont, the offering of content that will in some way be accessible to ALL Vermonters may get folks into galleries that have never been into a gallery. This could be one of the real strengths of the project. It could be that we reach all sorts of people and show them that they can interact with "art", that they can "understand art".