Landscape Art and Attention Restoration Theory

Bridgette Minuzzo (University of South Australia)
2018 Conference

Australian urbanites tend to spend long hours indoors, often in work or study spaces without access to views of nature. Yet in environmental psychology and health sciences it is understood that viewing landscape is beneficial for stress, pain and fatigue reduction, and increases mental wellbeing. In this multi-disciplinary project, the researcher’s creative practice is complemented by quantitative and qualitative approaches, informed by Attention Restoration Theory (ART) and health research. Three studies into the restorative effects of landscape art involved paintings installed in office spaces (n=17 workers) and in a lecture theatre foyer (n=74 students) for four weeks. A user-centred consultative tool from product design and urban planning, the Cultural Probe, was adapted to collect longitudinal data. An online survey was used for the larger study. The artist engaged in practice-based research, reflecting on data from each case study to develop iterations of landscape paintings. Study participants provided insights into the way artwork is engaged with and ‘used’ by members of the public. The research has implications for urban workplace design, study spaces and public art. The paper outlines how the methods and ART framework challenged and augmented the artist’s practice, an example of art and design in transition.

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About the author

Bridgette Minuzzo is an Adelaide based visual artist with over twenty years of experience in project-based art practices; public art, community art, commissions and exhibition work. A University of South Australia PhD candidate (under examination August 2019) Bridgette investigated the effects of installing semi-abstract landscape paintings on peoples’ attentional states and mental wellbeing in windowless work places.