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Function and Aesthetics
by Luis Alves
2008-04-01 08:48:56
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"Function"

The functional requirements of buildings and other physical structures are defined by the requisites that the users make for the realization of their activities.

Actually, the term "function" covers all criteria, not only practical (such as structural security, habitability and economy) but also aesthetic, physiologic, psychological, socio-economic and cultural.

Besides being a design process, architecture is also an experimental and sensory process. If we are moving in a 3D environment, in a temporal sequence we can see, touch, smell and have good or bad “vibrations”. There are thus two different channels: one is the design process, the other one is the sensory experience.

To satisfy the new concept of sustainability, any structure should be constructed in an environmentally friendly way. The materials, the environmental impact on the evolving area and the external demands on energy sources (needed for the required habitability) should be integrated in a sustainable project.

Aesthetics

Aesthetics judgments, sensory and emotional values are based on multiple and complex factors, which are variable spatially, temporally, and from individual to individual. In the same circumstances, something that may be beautiful for some people, can be awful to others. Many times these judgments are subconscious reactions, which can be manifested physically in each person.

We could ask if the concept of beauty has disappeared, replaced with the concept of “expression” - the communication of our convictions or truths, often opposite to the so called “status-quo”.

But after all, what might be considered as art? An unique aesthetic object or a undistinguishable succession of cultural ways?

And who recognizes the art? The institutions of the artistic world, art events and artistic communities, or there should be rules and formal definitions to assess it? Is art a product of class and high level education?

Is it the process of creation that makes an art object? Or is it the intrinsic feature of an object that makes it art?

If an artist intends a piece to be an art object, will it be even if another artist doesn’t acknowledge it? Is it the intention of the creator that makes something to be art? Or is it the form how the art object is experienced by its audience?

Is it the function of the art object in a particular context or environment, the determining artistic factor?

The next part will help us to find answers to some of these questions…

Part 2 of this article: Manufactured Landscape - Landscape as Architecture


  
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Emanuel Paparella2008-04-01 09:57:18
Indeed those questions are a good introduction to the intricacies of the philosophy of Art or Aesthetics. I teach a Philosophy of Art course and I may include this to the list of extra reading. I for one can testify that it is a daunting task to present to the average student the incredible range of thinking and opinions on the subject. It makes one’s head spin. At the end of the course both student and teacher are left wondering as to what exactly are Art and the concept of beauty. A good text may be helpful. The text utilized in my class is titled The Nature of Art, an anthology which goes from Plato to Derrida. There are in it 29 chosen essays. To give to the interested Ovi reader a hint of the vastness and multi-faceted nature of the field, let me include here the titles. (continued below)


Emanuel Paparella2008-04-01 09:59:48
They all begin with “Art as…” followed by:

1. Imitation: Plato
2. Cognition: Aristostle
3. Object of Taste: Hume
4. Communicable Pleasure: Immanuel Kant
5. Revelation: Arthur Schopenhauer
6. The Ideal: G.W. F. Hegel
7. Redemption: Friedrich Nietzsche
8. Communication of Feeling: Leo Tolstoy
9. Symptom: Sigmund Freud
10. Significant Form: Clive Bell
11. Expression: R.G. Collingwood
12. Experience: John Dewey
13. Truth: Martin Heidegger
14. Auratic: Walter Benjamin
15. Liberatory: Theodor Adorno
16. Indefinable: Morris Weitz
17. Exemplification: Nelson Goodman
18. Theory: Arthur Danto
19. Institution: George Dickie
20. Aesthetics Production: Monroe C. Beardsley
21. Make-believe: Kendall Walton
22. Text: Roland Barthes
23. Fetish: Adrian Piper
24. Deconstructable: Jacques Derrida
25. Feminism: Carolyn Korsmeyer
26. Cultural Production: Pierre Bourdieu
27. Contextual: Dele Jegede
28. Postcolonial: Kwame Anthony Appiah
29. Virtual: Douglas Davis


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