3. Eden’s Edge arose out of the collaboration of a multi-disciplinary team, which includes artists, anthropologists, psychologists, architects, writers and landscape artists. Why was this interdisciplinary approach important to the realization of Eden’s Edge, and could you elaborate on what each member of the team contributed to the making of these wonderful shorts?
The film production was actually part of a larger research program in cooperation with The University for Applied Arts and the Austrian Science Fund to explore the increasing influence of popular culture’s industries on how we as individuals and a society actually see and use our environments by using story-based media such as film, advertising, tourism etc. to design our human landscape relations. Our goal was therefore to appropriate their story-based approach with a screenwriter and explore it for disciplines like architecture, landscape design or spatial practices of the arts. This required research on how narratives actually produce space, how they take effect on our spatial relations (psychology) and how this can be used to design environments for our everyday life practices (anthropology, landscape design, art). Our research design, however did not single any discipline out with its specific focus but relied on their specific research contributions to produce our nine movie-based landscape interpretations.
4. Could you please talk about the desert, and why this paradoxical and iconic place was the ideal setting to explore the narrative nature of landscapes? Did other prominent landscapes come to mind as potential locations for this film, prior to shooting? Which Austrian location might potentially lend itself to such an exploration?
There were several reasons to choose the desert. First of all it is a landscape icon within Hollywood’s film industry that has become exemplary for the increasing influence of the medium film on the design of human landscape-relations. And then the desert also has a long standing tradition as a hotbed for counter-culture-communities exploring the critical potentials of the narrative approaches to uncover hierarchies in the governance of the land, undo mythologies and hegemonic language or to question dominant power relations. Of course we could have featured an Austrian landscape as well. The Alpine hillsides from the “Sound of Music”, for instance, would have been a possible choice. But we never seriously considered a location we knew too well because we needed to observe how our transition into another culture actually loosens existing landscape relations and allows new ones to form. Only by choosing unfamiliar conditions could we establish and explore this perspective in our research design. Accounts on this perspective are also documented in our accompanying project publication magazine “landscape” and in the last movie sequence of our film called “Crosswinds”