As a representation in forms of art, nature can be designed and manipulated. This has lead to a long history of fantastic proposals, designs and fantasies of different types of nature. Being a landscape designer myself, I find inspiration in art; yet the landscapes that I design are not art, they are part of larger ecologies and living systems. A haunting question to me then is, ‘to what extend is art different and more flexible than ecology’?
I have found an answer by examining the concept of ‘the sublime’. As an aesthetic and nature-related concept, the interpretation of the sublime has gone through a renaissance of renewed interest and speculation since the 1990’s. From a cultural perspective, aesthetics only exists as a ‘distanced’ or ‘disinterested’ view. However, from an experiential/ecological perspective this notion can be challenged. A 21th-century notion of the sublime is as embodied as it is imagined. Such a concept is just what we need to face dissonant phenomena such as ecosystem disruption and climate change, in an age, by some labeled the Anthropocene.