Discourse, 8 August 2021
This is probably the most frequent and annoying questions I encounter in daily terms, ever since I’ve started update my architectural content online constantly 2 years more ago.
It annoys me not in the sense of it is such trivial in relevance to architectural design and knowledge, but it annoys me that perhaps my works could evoke only the visual facets of architecture. As a tech-dummy myself, though I do not deny the significance of software applications in the design process, but I certainly believe the design lies much more on the thinking process. (The other reason is I have very less experience in the ‘making’). Software and technology are all tools, and of course, with their rapid advancement in the modern age they possess the power to influence the way of our thinking in design as well. But tools are relatively temporal to the ideologies behind our design, where I tend to advocate to focus more on how the tools can be optimally applied to deliver the messages or perceptions instead. It does not necessarily to be clear and singular, but it could be ambiguous and complex, or both at the same time.
This discourse could be extensively related to a larger scale of context. We can’t deny the fact we are a visual generation amid such digital-driven age, with countless medias and screens surrounding our mundane living. Many called this an issue of ‘ocularcentrism’, a modern term referring to human’s bias the sense of sight over the rest. Especially in the current architectural design process, whether it’s still on the paper or being fully built, ‘eye-catching’ seems to be a default trait for any design. And ‘aesthetic’ has become the primary concern associates with architectural designs.
Nonetheless, the fascination of human over visually pleasing sensation seems to be encoded in our gene. It is similar to other senses too, we often love that instant pleasure of any sensory dynamics. Personally, I don’t see the obsession over aesthetic nor the primacy of visual sensory is the true issue, but the overwhelming state of flooding information and graphics where we lost patience to solemnly appreciate the ‘beauty’. Those noises blunted our other senses, and our vision becomes even agitated, until that we only see but barely read. This happened to me as well, that I made lots of quick judgements only through my eyes without really tracing what’s happening behind the screen- the intents, the origins, the theories, and so on.
Another perspective that could extended from this discourse leads me think about the fundamental difference of ‘aesthetic’ and ‘beauty’. Sometimes I see myself prefer the word ‘beauty’ over ‘aesthetic’, that I found it is more humane and relatable. Beauty is in its sense relatively more diplomatic, engaging at the people’s front- appeared to be rather personal and subjective. Whereas aesthetic is principles-driven, respecting sets of codes and disciples instead, ended up in a more objective stance. Of course, there is no definite answer which we should follow as human beings, but to take a step slower, and a breath deeper, we might find the true meanings behind the beauty or aesthetic in relation to our inner selves.