A.W. Sprin’s definition of landscape as a process of the “mutual shaping of people and places” implies that the inhabitants of any space are implicated in, but also susceptible to, the shaping of their surroundings. This paper examines such interactions by theorising landscape as embodied, individuated experience of place in relation to representations of landscape. The Vaal Metropolitan area is reflected on in terms of the researcher’s experience of place, where experience of place refers to the consideration of direct (multi-‐sensory) perception, memories and prior knowledge as well as imaginings of place. This understanding of experience of place is based on a combination of theories of place from the writings of Edward Casey, J.B. Jackson and David Seamon, would therefore include representations of the landscape displayed publicly, such as real-‐estate advertisement boards and artworks.
Works from the ‘THIS PLACE: Engaging with where we are, the local’ (2012) exhibition, are interpreted in this context as examples of local interaction and representation of the landscape. Through a discussion of landscape representations created by local artists, about the local area, I aim to interrogate landscape as a medium through which we shape a notion of self as part of a collective or as apart from the collective culture which in turn impacts on the shaping of the spaces we inhabit. Through considering representations of the landscape in relation to individuated experience of the researcher’s locality, an image of local cultures of selective valuing, use and abuse of the landscape emerges, providing a reading of landscape representations as interactive processes rather than static views.