International Congress | Uncertain Landscapes | 22-24 NOV. 2023


International Congress

Uncertain Landscapes: ​Beyond Transdisciplinary Approaches​

22-24 Nov. 2023



Call for papers: until June 9th, 2023


We understand landscape as an open term: a cultural mediator that builds relationships between societies and the environment, and a process under permanent construction with a permeable border. This premise turns the landscape into something transitory and in constant change, moving away from the hegemonic, universal and deterministic principles that seek to control territories, crystallize places and fixate images.
Our position towards the built environment cannot be limited to being a mere observer. We are part of it and that old dominant or complacent perspective has radically changed: proximity has replaced distance, uncertainty has weakened any framework, and complexity has destroyed harmony. So, what is the landscape for? For decades we speculated on uncertainty as a condition to be taken into account when working with landscapes, today we are sure that the only possible relational framework is based precisely on uncertainty.
Uncertain Landscapes are a possible dialogue between those heterogeneous and discontinuous “critical zones” identified by Bruno Latour, and where epistemological conflicts converge. Uncertain Landscapes are useful to highlight the invisible, the variable and the multiple. Moreover, Uncertain Landscapes, as transversal mediators, can simultaneously address different scales, times and disciplines , revealing complexities in a simple way. The gaze will no longer be decisive in defining these landscapes; perhaps it could be an experience, a collective demand, the crossing of knowledge or of new forms of expression. But since they are uncertain, they will quickly be replaced by something more useful. Or not.
This congress aims to approach landscape as a conceptual tool to rethink our way of being in the world, break disciplinary boundaries in the search for answers to the problems of the present, in the relationship between human beings and the spaces they inhabit, in addition to also being a tool for the construction of a diverse future, one based on knowledge of the past, and fluid between the permeability of the territory and respect for the environment.
To this end, we invite abstract and paper proposals from scholars, professionals, theorists, etc. working in research areas such as, architecture, landscape architecture, archaeology, visual arts, media and communication studies, history, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, history of art, photography, geography, geology, different branches of the natural sciences and any other related research fields.





Keynote speakers:  Álvaro Domingues, Francesco Careri, Felipe Criado-Boado, Paola Viganò, Cooking Sections and Irene Kopelman.



Open february 1st, 2023 
Abstracts, mini paper, and full paper submission until April 3rd, 2023 Extended deadline: 15 May, 2023
Final extended deadline: 9th June, 2023


Each participant must select and apply for one of the six themes that we present below:


It seems inevitable to talk about landscape and not place the climate emergency and the set of conflicts and excesses (extractive and productive) generated by humans as an emerging issue. Landscape has cultural outlines and is defined from specific territories; however, the problem cannot be approached on a case-by-case basis, as it affects global aspects. Fires, floods or thaws are just a few signs that force us to redefine a new position on the Planet.
When we talk about Landscape, multiple knowledge is called up to approach the term in a different but complementary way. We are interested in maintaining this diversity and considering the epistemological limits of each one of them, in order to find amongst their  borders overlaps and rotations, some alternatives for a more robust cultural construction.
Landscape only exists through a reciprocal relationship between the interpretation and transformation of the natural physical environment. These transformations are always associated with instruments and materials, and translate into direct interventions on the territory, which may involve the extraction of raw materials (soil, stone, water, wind, plant elements, etc.) or the addition of new ones (roads, bridges, terraces, buildings). We shape the territory until it responds to our economic, social or cultural purposes. Throughout this process, changes always generate an impact on the environment that is not always positive and never neutral. But are we assessing its consequences for the future? How to look and how to deconstruct from a new integrated knowledge perspective, and with new instruments would those allow the anticipation and simulation of almost anything?
Faced with the instability of the cultural principles that supported the culture from out-dated or even obsolete imaginaries, the landscape can offer open alternatives that allow embracing the complexity of our territories. We are interested in new positions that allow us to change the point of view of history and reveal invisible, uncomfortable and hidden landscapes. Thus, this topic aims to explore different ways of deconstructing the imaginaries of an official landscape.
There are policies for landscape enhancement, landscape protection and even for landscapes made invisible by political decisions. It is true that the relationship between landscape and politics is not new and has been increasingly used to build a set of consensual imaginaries. But there are also non-consensual decisions with which the collectives that inhabit these landscapes disagree, but which affect their radically modified ways of life. How can the landscape reveal new forms of power? And power new forms of landscape? How to use the landscape as a political critique? How to redirect politics from the participatory governance of cultural landscapes? Is this possible?
The built environment supports a wide range of actions, but it is also the space through which human groups move, appropriating it to an extent, joining points along the way or fixating on a point. It is also where ideas are in motion, mixing with others, being modified and generating new meanings and interactions; and also where, ultimately, culture expands, and builds new places from different symbolic and cognitive patterns. Landscape supports the mobility of people and their ideas, societies and cultures through time and space. Landscape as a dynamic support of human mobility, allows the reassessment of interactions and impacts, summoning reasons as different as tourism and work, the condition of the displaced and the human expectation of new futures. The landscape is also constructed from the displacement of human groups in a transtemporal way.


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Lab2PT – Laboratory of Landscapes, Heritage and Territory (Universidade do Minho)
IN2PAST – Associate Laboratory for Research and Innovation in Heritage, Arts, Sustainability and Territory