analogies : landscapes

For example :

bury the sufferer

"A whaler’s cure for scurvy was to bury the sufferer up to his neck in earth when land was at last reached. This treatment allegedly resulted in some patients at Banks Peninsula having their heads eaten by wild pigs (...)"


Making Peoples, A History of the New Zealanders, From Polynesian Settlement to the End of the Nineteenth Century, James Belich (1996) p. 177


Gondorla has a deep love of islands and itself emerged as an archipelago.


I won't develop this any further : it would be as if a dam broke, masses of remarks would flow and fill the smallest cracks in the ground.


The Pirates is devoted to the isles of Scilly, an archipelago off the Cornish coast in the English Channel.



Désert de Retz

The Désert de Retz, at Chambourcy outside Paris (France), is a late eighteenth century park without a castle or a mansion. François de Monville (1734-97) designed it in the Anglo-Chinese taste, that is to say both picturesque and 'natural'. A retreat away from society and a summary of the world are staged. The park is an invitation to casual strolls between its mainly ornamental and symbolic buildings.


Monville stayed for a while at the Chinese House and then lived in the Ruined Column, a section of a gigantic shaft. There were also a Ruined Gothic Chapel, a Tartar Tent, a Pyramid Icehouse, a Temple of the God Pan, etc.


Monville himself was imprisoned, but not executed, under the Terreur regime during the French Revolution for 'anglomania and sybaritism' - the search for the pleasures he could afford thanks to his huge wealth.


The Désert is made of paper. A nostalgia for its model at Retz is a leitmotiv in Gondorla.


natural sites, ancient agricultural lanscapes

Few gardens can rival the beauty of most natural sites, or of ancient agricultural landscapes (before systematic industrial/mechanised farming).


Both scale and rhythm are missing, together with adjustment to the relief. In Gondorla's landscape, the challenge for each of its parts is to hold its own as best it can in front of the elegance and flexibility of conversation, and, more generally, of the charm of spoken language.

I do not deal here with urban landscape : for Gondorla, it would be an analogy of an analogy, partly discussed with construction analogies.



wind breaks

Wind breaks are wooden fences planted in rows to make sand settle in dunes, together with associated planting.


There are miles of them along the Mediterranean shore in the Southern France Petite Camargue region.


Such breaks are locally called ganivelles. I do not know the origin of the term : the limited information you may obtain about them comes in inverted amount to their widespread use and shrewdness.


Ganivelles define the local landscape, yet their name is surprisingly invisible.


In The Sea Wall (Un barrage contre le Pacifique)(1950) Marguerite Duras had not yet deployed her talent as filmmaker and poet. The novel shows the fight of a woman whose marshy plot is devastated every year by the South China Sea.


Here as well, the fight is probably doomed to be lost on the longer term. Gondorla enjoys the Carmargue while its dams are strong enough against the tides.



There is nothing more antinatural than a garden, even when it is designed in a landscape, or sustainable, style, or as a 'dynamic garden'. A desire to reduce maintenance costs accounts for much in the emergence of such styles, apart from aesthetic or environmental considerations. Among others, it makes a virtue of necessity.


With its low-cost material and implementation, Gondorla does just that.


A garden encourages carefree walks, without expecting anything precise or useful along its paths. It invites you to watch and feel.


Gondorla's elements range from potted plants to large-scale follies.


In between, there are mixed-borders, flowerbeds, groves, where man's hand always manifests itself, and at the same time tries mischievously to hide.


the formal garden

Château de Marqueyssac, Dordogne
Château de Marqueyssac, Dordogne

Seventeenth century formal (or French) gardens are not focused on plants. They use an extremely limited range of six or seven trees or shrubs (in addition to empty spaces) they endlessly repeat and modulate. With such a narrow choice it creates superior effects.


This Olympian art of self-control and restraint impresses me enormously for its own achievement, and also because I am drawn in the exactly opposite direction towards endless collections and relentless proliferation.


Gondorla ideally aims at the best possible use of a handful of words, with a penchant for arte povera. In its reality, though, it periodically, pathologically, joyfully, indulges in lexical frenzy and sudden shifts of register.