Margot Lystra is an artist, scholar, and teacher of landscape design and theory, based in Ithaca, NY.
Margot adores Earth’s livingness, is fascinated by its complexity, and yearns to grasp Earth’s transformations as it warms. She believes that making and sharing novel Earthly visions can better equip people to navigate rapid environmental changes. And so, she makes art: to glimpse planetary phenomena anew, to share those glimpses with others, and to offer attunement to climate and land. To accomplish this, Margot draws on experiences in landscape architectural practice and scholarship, and in site-specific movement-based research and performance. Recent developments of her miniature landscape project “Unruly Earths” include “Burrows: Four Short Films”, a collaboration with composer/musician Howard Ryan and Watermouth, an exhibit of site-specific evening projections shown as part of the University of Connecticut AVS Gallery’s exhibition “Open Air 2022”.
As a scholar and educator, Margot specializes in landscape history and theory. Her research explores how visual expression intertwines with other forms of knowing and acting to generate new environmental knowledge, ethics, and practices. She has taught landscape architectural design, representation, history, and theory at Université de Montréal, University of Buffalo, Cornell University, California Polytechnic State University—San Luis Obispo, and University of Detroit Mercy. As a designer, she has worked for CMG Landscape Architecture, the Detroit Collaborative Design Center, and various San Francisco-based firms. Margot holds a Ph.D. in the History of Architecture and Urbanism from Cornell University, and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Contributions to HumansandNature.org: