Imitation, Experience and Learning:
On The Unity Of Expression In Design (Invited Paper)
Taha A. Al-Douri
Design is the act of bringing the intelligible to the senses. Not simply a work of pure reason finding science or methodology through knowledge, or a work of practical reason sensing genius or taste by empirical evidence, or even faith, design is a cause often mistaken for an outcome. It is a totality of which only a part is sensuous, as an esthetic object, or as a structure of soundness, while other parts elude the senses into apprehension through form fitting idea. Attributes of relevance in the artifact emanate from within the constituents of design: form and content, relative to one another rather than to the need for art, often external thereto, being social, political, economic, etc. In this regard, the significance of a work of design is an internal affair found in the accordance of form to content. I say accordance to allow for the possibility of a range in suitability, where one idea is more suited to being recited in a poem than embodied in a sculpture. This is while harmony is a state of absolute accordance, similar in content to elegance in form where nothing could be added or omitted without some loss of significance. Ultimately, judgment of the work of art –as a design—is a question of making responding to conception and not the servitude of the artifact to the external need that had called for the act of making in the first place. Design is collected –as would be rainwater— at the core of existence, nourishing, invigorating the spirit with turgidity, and springing out into full visibility and splendor when the natural thrust of expression overwhelms the forces of containment.