Symposium blog #3: Bodies of belonging

Work by artist Ilana Halperin, discussed during the Symposium © Ilana Halperin

This short blog series by Vanessa Lastrucci accompanies our Landscape Symposium 2019, entitled Staying with the trouble: critical and creative approaches to the climate and biodiversity crises.

This final blog by Vanessa is a reflection piece, responding to some of the themes raised during the Symposium.


Stay here, be here.

My body’s feeling when I relentlessly return to it. A body of breathless warmth and flickering blue. A body as wide as a continent and as welcoming as a placenta, a body that holds peoples together.

I also uttered it aloud once: far just enough from the edges, where the bottom fades in turquoises and browns. Here only is where I am.

Now, I will not take you there, as there is who I am: where and when I have full potential of my mind-body continuum and capacity to move through all dimensions, within a body-medium I cannot control. I am one with this body. I share this body with many.

We all have bodies we return to merge with. And as they change, we change. As they get poorly, we get poorer. As we get violent, they get violent. In what body do you find yourself embodied?

Like the geographical bodies we project ourselves into, we have now to learn with our own bodies how to adjust to a crisis that we triggered, and that is outpacing faster than ourselves, so much faster than those bodies we cannot control, faster than time itself. With the Anthropocene, or however you want to call it, we have achieved one-directional time travel, while barely noticing.

When we project into the geographical bodies we belong to, and they become our extended minds, moving from the Rights of Humans to the Rights of Nature is seamless and sound.

These geographical bodies of our selves also have the likeness of the body of citizens and denizens. They are bodies of culture and custom in as much as they are bodies of ritual and nature. They are extended mind-body continuums.

Why should not I have rights when I am these bodies? Why should these bodies not be allowed the pursuit of evolving well?

My extended mind that I share with many tells us that it does not want and does not need human rights. Personhood and human likeness are distinct. It speaks and calls for its own right though, as well as other living things’. A right to indivisibility, interrelationship, interdependency: our right to return within its body.


Vanessa Lastrucci is a landscape architect and researcher working professionally and academically at the intersection of landscape architecture, urbanism and environmental practices.

She includes in her work process aspects and factors that have a tendency to evolve in not completely predictable ways, pursuing an approach to design that is both generous and subtle, able to embody the spontaneous developments and transformations that come with habitation, of human and non human alike.

She is interested in the different forms of expression and interpretations of the territory that are able to speak about the different approaches to the land, landscape and ‘nature’ in different cultures. Such interest is at the base of researches on representation, unconventional cartography, alternative ways of mapping and image making for environmental and landscape studies