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Landscapes in time: a psychotherapeutic intervention

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2011
JournalInternational Journal of the Image
Journal numbern/a
Volume1
Number of pages11
Pages117-127
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This essay explains the key intellectual, aesthetic and theoretical concepts underpinning a practice-based project by the authors, presenting digital film footage captured by three cameras positioned in the snow-capped peaks of the French Alps over a period of four months. The cameras were placed in three different positions: a high mountain refuge, a snow ridge, and in the valley, in order to provide different perspectives of one mountain range, providing an experience impossible by being physically located within the landscape. The film footage was captured using time-release technology, with the cameras set to shoot at 30-second intervals, a process enabling the viewer to experience the landscape over a more extended period than is normally possible. The essay is ambitious in drawing together a range of disciplines, well-established theories of art and culture, philosophy and aesthetics, and developmental and clinical psychology, psychoanalysis, and psychotherapy. In particular, the project is informed by new thinking, the concept of mentalisation in psychoanalytic theory (Fonagy 1991), cognitive psychology, and mentalising in practice (Jon G. Allen 2006), which are linked to ideas concerned with art, culture and the self. The film is designed to intervene in customary ways of looking at a mountain landscape. Thus, the viewer is encouraged to develop an inquisitive, contemplative and reflective spectatorial stance and to engage in mentalising what is experienced. The film supplies a platform from which perceptions of natural phenomena provide for a better understanding of the self and others, and concomitantly the self’s relationship to nature. As such the project is primarily concerned with providing an innovative psychotherapeutic intervention able to yield an empathic connection between the viewer and nature, beneficial to the individual, society, and the environment.

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