Volume 4, Issue 1/2, Spring/Fall 2007
Special Double Issue: Environmental Aesthetics and Ecological Restoration
John Andrew Fisher
Natural environments differ from artworks in two ways: (a) they are surroundings filled with objects, processes, and the observer, (b) they are natural, not intentionally created to be appreciated. I show that this serious problem for accounts of aesthetic appreciation of nature has led many thinkers in environmental aesthetics (e.g., Carlson and Rolston) to claim that appreciators should be actively engaged with a natural environment. But how? One suggestion has been that appreciators play the role of creative performers in the arts. I explore this analogy, distinguishing three different kinds of performance. I argue that none is a good fit as a model of nature appreciation but that the analogy sheds considerable light on environmental art, especially the site-specific artworks of Andy Goldsworthy.