The Art of Survival was put forwared by Yu Kongjian, this book is just a paper of him and I got this paper accidently.
He put forwarded the landscape architect should be a tool for find the Land of Peach Blossoms. I just read a little part of this paper, but I did agree with some points of view in his paper. Even though the Land of peach blossoms landscape is an excellent aspect of the art of landscape architecture, but I cannot aspect his views that the gardening art in Chinese history which used ornaments, false rockery,ect. is nothing more than accelerating the decline of the feudalist Chinese empire and the art of garderning is no more the art of foot binding which was so much appreciated by the emoerors and nobles.
“The land of peach bloosoms by an artist depicting the Grand View Garden built in the 1600s in China’s last fedudalist dynastiy, the Qing. It was named “Garden of a Thousand Gardens”. The basic model for each of individual gardens was “Land of Peach Blssoms”, which contained vills, pavillions and bridges, exotic flowers, strangely formed rockey, and was surrounded by manmade hills. What was missing in this phony Land of Peach Blossoms was authentic productive fields and natural process.”
The realistic conditions decided that we cannot treasure such ast of survial but it doesnot means that we did not appreciate the real vernacular landscape of Land of Peach Blossms. This art of survival belong to the lower culture, no matter how beatufil natural environment they live in, the basic needs of them cannot be guaranteed. But today, even though the obligation of landscape architect is to find a way of modern people to get into the new land peach of blossoms, but the innate characters of this landscape scnery is totally different from the natural people who is live in the villages. When the people in the mordern cities have enough garatee for their future, they started to pursur the basic human nature needs, but not the basic human needs for survial.
And, the paper made an arbitary conclusion that the art of gardening is no more than the art of binding. My personal phlilosophy of this issue is that the gardening art is surely the essence of Chinese history, not the natural living style–the land of peach blossom living style. Because this living style, even though it was created for the emperors and the nobles, but these gardening art is created to use the wisdom of Chinese. It is artifacted, and it is created, not nature. The life style like the land of peach blossom in the book is not reliable for the realistic conditions, people desire for this living style is not relistic.
As a landscape designer, or the future landscape designer(like me^^), we should find the essence of both the garderning art and the nature life-style of china. Even though the nature life-style like the land of peach serves as the basic art of survial and the human nature needs, but the methods of garderning art provide us a path to get into the colorful landscape architecture world.