e-tat / digital wasteland

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Remedial Landscapes

These are visualisations of a discursive landscape, but they could equally be visualisations of micro-medical terrain, in which case the idea of remedial landscapes shifts to a heretofore unexplored site: the body. This then, is a discursive form of medical imaging, which has recursive implications for geomorphology/ordinary landscapes.

Some terms of reference:

Bioremediation can be defined as any process that uses microorganisms or their enzymes to return the environment altered by contaminants to its original condition. (1)

Medicine is the branch of health science and the sector of public life concerned with maintaining human health or restoring it through the treatment of disease and injury. It is both an area of knowledge - a science of body systems, their diseases and treatment - and the applied practice of that knowledge. Medicine practice is not just a science, it is an art. (2)

Implications for the geomorphic landscape include new ways of thinking about the surgical removal and classification of specific terrain, e.g. the histology of landscape.

Landscapes are to be diagnosed as healthy or parlous; designated as holistic or quarantined. The terminology of mining will be replaced with that of surgery, and the terminology of war will be replaced with that of medicine, such as in the following example.

The margins of a biopsy specimen are also carefully examined to see if the disease may have spread beyond the area biopsied. "Clear margins," or "negative margins," means that no disease was found at the edges of the biopsy specimen. "Positive margins" means that disease was found, and additional treatment will be needed. (3)

Distinctions between the body and landscape will be blurred in the new practice of geomedicine and the related science of medical geology. Spa treatments and garden retreats will be internalised, with microbiotic centres of horticultural therapy (also). Conversely, parallel or complementary practices of landscape surgery, medicinal gardening, pharmo-remedial therapies and other site-specific modes of treatment will be established and treated as symbiotic aspects of whole-person medicine. Patients will inhabit the relevant landscapes, and the landscape will be subject to regimes of health, cure, and where relevant, mortality. Consequently, existing medical procedures will have to take on the symbolic aspects of geography: transplants will be regarded as relocations, with attendant vehicle hire and organisation of removals; surgery will be regarded as an exclusion or death in the family, with attendant funeral services; and, routine checkups will be regarded as terrain mapping exercises, bringing us back to the images above, and their implication for the discourses and practices of remediation at previously unexplored scales.


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