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authors Randle, Jay
year 1993
title Light and Form: A Case Study
source Education and Practice: The Critical Interface [ACADIA Conference Proceedings / ISBN 1-880250-02-0] Texas (Texas / USA) 1993, pp. 21-38
summary The first great consideration in design is that the human world is irreducibly phenomenal; we are immersed in the overwhelming richness and sensuousness of the physical environment. And the first great task of design education is to put the student of design into a disciplined awareness of that phenomenal world, by development of categories of discrimination. The introductory experiences bring the student into vivid contact with compelling phenomena. The associated exercises structure and differentiate perception of nuance within these.

There is little doubt that texture, surface, extension, value, and color are in one sense basic categories of physical phenomena, constituting in essence a fundamental stratum of experience and the sensible world. Modern psychology and epistemology, however, cohere in saying that this stratum is not the sense world of everyday, the primary datum of the functioning societal member. Neither is the abstract world of the physicist's concepts an everyday world. What is given in our day-to-day life is neither very abstract, nor very concrete, but a sort of functionally-bound middle world of norms and stereotypes.

It takes the disciplined seeing characteristic of foundational training in the arts to drive this bourgeois view of physical reality back to elemental sense data. Just as it requires the supremely abstract language of mathematics and the rarified "experience" of modern scientific experimentation to drive that same view offcenter in the direction of abstraction. The first exercises of a program of design education begin to perform the former role.

series ACADIA
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