Landscapes in Time: A Psychotherapeutic Intervention

By Emma Rose and Neil Boynton.

Published by The International Journal of the Image

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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.

Keywords: Film, Landscape, Nature, Aesthetic, Theory, Perception, Psychotherapeutic Intervention, Art, Culture, Philosophy, Developmental Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy, Mentalisation, Psychoanalytic Theory, Cognitive Psychology, Neurocognitive Science, Time, Environment

The International Journal of the Image, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.117-128. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 7.131MB).

Prof. Emma Rose

Professor, Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, Lancaster University, Lancaster, Lancashire, UK

Professor Emma Rose is a researcher in contemporary art with a focus in practice-based research in digital filmmaking, painting and interdisciplinary practices. She has exhibited in over a hundred major national and international galleries and festivals in America, Asia, Europe and Central European countries, which have attracted reviews in journals, newspapers, radio and television programmes. She has published articles and essays in books and journals in the area of history, theory, and culture in contemporary art. Her digital filmmaking and related publications are developed in collaboration with Dr Neil Boynton, Senior Lecturer in Music Technology. The focus of Boynton and Rose is to develop digital filmmaking in ways that benefit individuals and society in health and wellbeing, Their research is informed by psychology and psychotherapy and is intended for professionals in academe, health, education, science, healthcare and policy as well as community groups. Their recent films are intended as psychotherapeutic Interventions. Professor Emma Rose is currently Deputy Dean in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (ranked 31st in the World by The Times Higher) at Lancaster University, a leading research-intensive university.

Neil Boynton

Senior Lecturer, Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts, Lancaster University, Lancaster, Lancashire, UK

Dr. Neil Boynton trained as a composer at the Guild Hall School of Music and Drama, subsequently pursuing doctoral research at Cambridge University on sketch-studies on Anton Webern’s twelve note music. Neil currently engages in practice-based research as a composer and artist. Working with Professor Emma Rose, he makes experimental fine art videos. With Imitating the Dog and pete Brooks, he composes and designs soundscapes for contemporary theatre performances. Latterly, he has begun an installation project with Chris Welsby. Working with the Canadian-based filmmaker neil has co-created Taking Time, a work using time-lapse photography. In this work the viewer is invited to contemplate changes in the local environment, changes which are variously rapid, ephemeral and much, much slower, indicative of quite different orders of magnitude. Neil works at Lancaster University, a high quality research intensive university in the UK.