ABOUT AGRICULTURAL ORDER AND RANDOMNESS

Futurize: Panorama And Matter
Camila Medina N. For Lofscapes
14.07.2015
(1) Peasant women taking bread from a mud oven © Memoria Chilena <http://www.memoriachilena.cl> /(2) Seeds for My City – Easy to Make Seed Bombs © HellaDelicious

In contrast to nature, where the play of forms is subject to a disorderly probability without limits, the agricultural order represents an artificial formation at the service of a precise objective. However, the practice developed by Japanese microbiologist, farmer, and philosopher Fukuoka stripped the formalism of the productive through the technique of “not doing” by opening the formal possibilities to randomness.


“Beyond the treetops, it became less thick and the garden descended into small stepped fields, supported by stone walls; behind it was obscured by olive groves, and beyond that, the roofs of the town of Ombrosa appeared” (1).

(1) Ítalo Calvino, El Baron Rampante (The Baron in the Trees) Torino: Giulio Einaudi Editore S.P.A, 1957, p.23.

 

That excerpt from the famous literary work The Baron in the Trees, corresponds to a description of an Italian landscape, where beyond the garden that surrounds the observer and before the nearby town, the gardens construct the cultivated hills of Tuscany with walls.

In the national context this agricultural imaginary is presented in the figure of the countryside of the central area, as that smooth topography corresponding to the cultivated, continuous and horizontal valley that, surrounded by an imposing mountain range, is crossed by lines of trees, channels, and narrow dirt roads; silent orderly traces of the growing urbanity. This agricultural landscape represents for the city the idea of a rural rest opposed to the maelstrom and pollution of the city. From this, the countryside has been confused many times with Nature for being constructed with elements such as water and vegetation.

However, in contrast to nature, where the play of forms is subject to a disorderly and unchecked happenstance (2), traditionally, the agricultural order represents an “artificial formation that pursues a precise objective” (3). It is a rather rational and, therefore, human composition, which has been the result of the need to organize food production efficiently and on a larger scale than that of the family garden.

(2) Georg W. Friedrich Hegel,

 

Filosofía de la Naturaleza

 

(Philosophy of Nature) Argentina: Editorial Claridad S.A., 2006 [1944] p.14.

 

 

 

(3) Simón Marchán Fiz,

 

La Estética en la Cultura Moderna

 

(The Aesthetic in Modern Culture) Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 2012 [1987], p.84.

 

 

Borrowing concepts from the outstanding Professor of Aesthetics and Theory of Arts Simón Marchán Fiz, in this context, the “natural” would be associated with an “organic beauty or adaptation of the form to the needs of the natural environment,” and the agricultural to a “mechanical beauty or the perfect adaptation of the form to an end, use or utility” (4). Then, …”while in the first one understanding is a pawn, a translator of the inclination, and the instinct is elevated to lawmaker and director of the process, in the second understanding legislates and establishes the direction” (5).


(4) Marchán Fiz, p.50.
(5) Marchán Fiz, p.84.

 

Thus, the resulting form of land work is recognized as a proper composition of the agricultural system. This order was stripped of its productive purpose in the Italian and French gardens, where the tree-lined roads were translated as perfect allées and where the plantations were transformed into carpets embroidered with flowers and hedges pruned to configure the colorful and sumptuous flower beds. In response to political processes and in contrast with the French, English quaintness made the traces of land work disappear through the imperceptible purification of natural forms, under a continuous green mantle of grass.

While in the described there was an abandonment of the utilitarian and of the agricultural for the aesthetic enjoyment of the controlled landscape, where beauty is the form of its purpose (6); the practice developed by the Japanese microbiologist, farmer, and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka (1913-2008) stripped the formalism from agriculture, maintaining its productive function. Fukuoka’s method consisted of the technique of “not doing” which resulted in the creation and distribution of Nendo dango (7), compact spheres composed of a mixture of water, seeds, soil and organic matter, which are left to dry in the shade with ventilation. These balls are left in different sites to be activated by the rains, as the dry mud protects the seeds from the birds. From these, sprout distinct species without a predetermined order and at the precise moment when the conditions are optimal for their development.


(6) Marchán Fiz, p.48.
(7) Articultores http://articultores.net/free/bombas-de-semillas-por-masanobu-fukuoka/

 

In this way, Fukuoka proposed the abandonment of the idea of absolute control thereby recognizing our human inability to manage the great complexity of natural forces as a whole, thus opening the set of formal possibilities to randomness.

If the technique of the famous Japanese farmer stripped formalism from agriculture, is it pertinent to ask then how the random can transform the shape of the landscape and the design of parks and gardens and with it the enjoyment of the aesthetic? There is no doubt that, in the acceptance of certain areas of the fortuitous, the wisdom of the sustainable will reside.

(3) Butterfly Seed Bomb © notonthehighstreet
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2019-10-29T18:42:27-03:00