cultivating the imagination

| February 25th, 2013


Designers thrive on a rich imagination, so what exactly cultivates our imagination? Has the information age led to the demise of our imagination? We find new ways of thinking and build a bank of images in our heads that we borrow from the internet resulting in pros and cons.

I decided to tune into the radio to listen to the State of the Union Address rather than watching it on television. Although I had no visual representation of the activities within the auditorium, I could imagine the movements, the clothes, the colors, the body language of each individual. Through auditory cues, I formed an artificial world , which became my reality.

Through the progression of the information age and abundance of visual imagery in everyday life, our imagination has slowly deteriorated. No longer can we sit down and design forms that we imagine without it being a re-presentation of a design seen previously on tumblr, arch-daily, or that advertisement whilst walking to class.

Solutions are found to fill the void. Mathematics for instance serves as a tool for us to embed logic in a design and draw relationships between various forms which otherwise would be randomly abutted against one another. Nature serves as inspiration for “organic” forms. Bottom-up design strategies provide “meaning” for randomly chosen design avenues.

The imagination has escaped the mind of the designer. All the images fed to us on a daily basis conflict with the ability for us to visualize new places, new faces, vrious colors and smells of our own volition. Books serve as a great tool to cultivate the imagination yet we hardly have enough time to read a book drenched in textual imagery.

Visual imagery, as in art, hardly gives us the overall picture. The art is constantly bound to a certain dimension established by the artist. The activity on the edges are left to the imagination, as is the content. It is seldom that we understand the full intention behind a work of art. Ambiguity within the work entices the observer to draw her own conclusions. Panoramas, videos, accompanying text, “realistic” renderings disallow observers from forming various interpretations.

When and where do we begin to filter the images, the text, and the audio? It is important to build a visual bank of knowledge, however it is equally important to leave some aspects to the imagination. Authors use their words as a medium to paint the world, designers activate the senses to create a world void of explanation.




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