Thursday, December 22, 2005

Multimodal Aesthetics?

Another interesting meeting at Strathclyde University with the Design Imaging cluster The issue of multimodal aesthetics came up making me think of this:

“Designing the interactive experience adds an entire dimension to the esthetic endeavour, one without precedent in the visual and plastic arts. In the west, the visual arts have no tradition of an esthetics of interactivity. Six hundred years of painting has resulted in a rich esthetics of the still image, of color and line, shape and area, of representational geometry and perspective. The effect of six hundred years of enculturation is that we know how to read images (which observe the conventions of renaissance perspective) before we can read text. One hundred years of moving image has given us a culturally established set of cinematic conventions: we can read cinema, but as yet we have no culturally established esthetic of real time interaction. The implications of this observation are resounding. Jonathan Crary cogently argues that meaning in an artwork is constituted between the viewer and the work, that the 'techniques of the observer' are as important as the techniques of the artist. Artists are struggling to establish a new canon, a new genre. However, not only are understandings about the dynamics of the interactive experience very limited among artists, but the 'techniques of the user' are non-existent. What results is a crisis of meaning: the work cannot 'mean' because the user doesn't speak the language.” Penny, Simon, 1996. From A to D and back again: the emerging aesthetics of interactive art. Leonardo Electronic Almanac Volume 4, No. 4 April.

We also spent a while on tacit knowledge and tacit knowing - particularly the location of it: head vs. hands. I tried to explain that for me, a lot of my tacit understanding is through my hands. I can't verbally explain some things but my hands know what to do. The example was given of a telephone number or a keycode that you can't remember until the keypad is at your fingertips. Perhaps this is more to do with Kinesthetics?

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I am exploring a hybrid form of art and design practice through the use of computer-based design and fabrication tools. I am interested in experimental objects and spaces that are dynamic and responsive and seek to challenge perceptions, expectations and established behavior.

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