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Walls in land art and other environmental sculpture
barriers and enclosures
Sometimes environmental- or land art projects, or certain elements out of which they are comprised, are about delimitation. Things like earthen mounds, dikes, walls, barriers, a waterway or a row of trees draw a line through which passage requires more than just continuing in the direction one is going. A row of trees forms a visual barrier, but still allows passage through it. A stone wall does not.
a wall defines the space around it or encloses a space inside it
The presence of a barrier can have a purely practical reason, but also a visual or sensory one. Even when such a wall or barrier has a mere practical function, it nevertheless is there and it can be seen. In the case of art, practical requirements alone do not justify the presence of such an element; its visual impact can not be denied nor can it be ignored.
There is more to art than meets the eye, taking part in any environment requires the other senses to fully undergo the presented sensations. The change of the acoustics, presented by a wall for instance, change the way in which the participant undergoes the environment. An enclosed space more or less shuts out sounds coming from the outside, but also affects the interior acoustics. Smell can be affected by the absence of wind. Smells greatly influence how we remember certain situations. Willows, whether or not forming a barrier, smell differently than a stone wall made of bricks or a concrete one. When painted, the color will influence how people will process its effect on them. The psychology of color perception is also one of the many facets of any given environment.
A barrier blocking passage forces one to choose another route - in which way one is actually being controlled by it. Protection can also be a function of a surrounding wall or other surrounding element. In this way land artists create enclosures among other things to influence the sensations of the persons entering them.