Encoding the Landscape: The Le Mans Project

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The encoded landscape, with its layers of natural and cultural features is an overarching theme in my work. I have been involved in a series of projects that connect visual art and geographic information science. This presentation will describe a “cultural mapping” project done in Le Mans, France with seven students from Ecole Superieure des Beaux-Arts du Mans and three students from Ecole Superieure Des Geometres et Topographes, an engineering and surveying school also in Le Mans. Students identified and made art works in response to sites in Le Mans that contribute to the culture and feeling of the city, but are somehow overshadowed or lost in the public eye. Art and engineering students collaborated using GIS technologies to analyze and map these sites. The mapping of cultural resources serves to give art a more prominent position in the public realm. My long-term intention is to involve students with becoming surveyors and stewards of art and culture within their communities. I am interested in GIS as a means for documenting and preserving creative culture or in using the language of city planners to put art on the map so to speak.


Keywords: Art, Science, Technology, Geographic Information Systems, Digital Mapping, Cultural Surveying, Community Art
Stream: Art and Education
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Encoding the Landscape,


Jan Piribeck

Associate Professor of Art, Department of Art, University of Southern Maine
Portland, Maine, USA

My recent work compares artistic and scientific views of the landscape while promoting creative expression and cultural sustainability. I have just completed a one-year sabbatical during which time I have immersed myself in developing working models for establishing interplay between visual art and Geographic Information Science. This conference is presenting me with a timely opportunity to discuss my work within the framework of computer code, the humanities and community oriented art. The term encoding as used in my presentation title refers directly to the process of geo-coding, which is the conversion of a location in space into computer readable form. Additionally, I am thinking of encoding as a process by which the landscape is encrypted with aesthetics and other human projections. In this work my teaching practice and artistic practice merge as I work with students to shape cultural environments.

Ref: A07P0128