ISSN: 1477965X
First published in 2003
3 issues per volume
Volume 15 Issue 3
Cover Date: December 2017
To perceive, to conceive, to image: An attempt to reframe future designers’ preconceptions
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Authors:  Tommaso Maggio 
DOI: 10.1386/tear.15.3.275_1

design education,body–soma,consciousness,body awareness,perception,Asian studies

Gary Zukav suggested that we consider reality what we take to be true, what we believe and that is based on our perception (1979). If we assume that this is the case, then we might try to use tangible and intangible tools to reframe our preconception. As human beings we are trying to maintain the relation between our body and soma. In the same way someone might try to understand the body–mind coupling as oneness of duality, in other words not two and not one. Furthermore, we can only use our senses to fulfil what is the present, the now. The now action will lead us to a specific scenario. As history has taught us, social and technological innovations have driven human beings to often perceive themselves as the spark of industrial revolution: an ideal salvation for the most urgent issues. Then, it might be acceptable to consider the marriage between art and science as a tool to achieve a sort of soteriological reward. In the same way, if additive art is object oriented then we might be allowed to explore how the applied arts under the design dimension, as practice and research, are struggling in the search for a new spirituality. Moreover the quest for design education, combined with the analysis of post-dramatic theatre and participatory design, has raised the question of how an alternative basic design course could heighten self- and collective consciousness through an approach based on the relation of body–soma. It is noted that design education, since the initiation of Bauhaus Art School, was considered the ideal path to deliver a physical outcome that represented the balance between art, technology and science, while from a philosophical point of view we can recognise the following as a subtle suggestion on what design education should expand its search: ‘to perceive, to conceive, to image: such are indeed the three types of consciousness by which the same object can be given to us’ (Sartre 1940: 8). Tracing connections between Sartre’s idea and the blend of post-dramatic theatre with participatory design into arts education, this article will describe experiments that aim to break down design students’ preconception: a dimension where the process of fabricated realities became the main outcome, the body–soma dialogues struggling to gain the perpetual unbalance. Experiments were conducted at the micro–macro scale, in a non-tactile society, where, for most people, the practice of Buddhism is embedded in daily life. This article aims to underline how an alternative approach to design education in South East Asia could be the building blocks to develop a reflection, an open-ended dialogue on network effect and the self.
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