31 July 2015

Gestures of Design / Griffero - Proietti / 5

5 / What are your observations about implications of morphological qualities of objects-spaces such as convexity, concavity, linearity with the production of atmospheres. Could you please mention some examples and references from the world of art and phenomenology?

Prof. Tonino Griffero: By generating orientations and kinetic suggestions, objects produce a wide range of atmospheres and as authentic scripted spaces force the perceiver, in a sense, to immerse themselves in them. So atmospheres of design modulate in a pathic way the pericorporeal space of the observer, and they do so in a consistent manner, because unlike other more transient qualities (light and weather conditions, for example), the design forms stably give rise to certain atmospheres. According to Gernot Böhme we can stress that objects have their ecstasies, i.e. that their forms and materials are not bounded by their physical limits but emanate and model a certain space, thus articulating the sphere of their own presence and filling it with tensions and suggestions.

One of the best ways to explain it is to conceive this kind of atmosphere as the spontaneous and circular intertwinement between the repertory of plastic forms and the repertory of the felt-bodily and spatial experiences of the perceiver: the former relies on the expectations of the felt-body’s feelings and the latter depends on the specific “gestures” of the design, in the sense that the gestures of the felt-body are here, also in the sense of the aforementioned epicritical (fine and discriminative sensibility) and protopathic felt-bodily dispositions, a direct response to design forms, perceived as forms that give us a lived “direction” and give life to a real movement and atmospheric dramaturgy. The designer must be able to convey these gestures (no matter if thanks to optical and eventactile illusions) by means of a kind of scenic thought. Nor should we forget that the design forms sometimes move the beholder not thanks to precise signals but also thanks to a certain ambiguity and certainly thanks to a bilateral vagueness: namely both to a real loss of focus by the subject and to a kind of secret and mystery inside the object itself, in other words thanks also to a modulated and gentle immersivity.

Certainly, an investigation on the specific motoric suggestions of convexity, concavity or linearity must still be evaluated according to the possible historical and cultural differences. Here the question becomes empirical and the philosopher, like in the previous answer, does not have much more to say.

Tonino Griffero is professor of Aesthetics at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy, and director of the Master 'Comunicazione estetica e museale' at Scuola IAD, Univ. di Tor Vergata-Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome. He is also Director of 'Sensibilia. Colloquium on Perception and Experience','Lebenswelt. Aesthetics and Philosophy of Experience'and 'Atmospheric Spaces. Aura, Stimmung, Ambiance'. Besides he is member of the Guaranty Committee of SIE / Società Italiana d’Estetica, Scientific Committee of 'Estetica. Studi e ricerche', 'Atelier delle immagini. Semiotica del visivo', 'Ambiances. International Journal of sensory environment, architecture and urban space'.

Tiziana Proietti (1983, Rome, Italy) is an architect and researcher in architectural design and theory of contemporary architecture. She gained her PhD at the Sapienza University in Rome in 2013 and worked as Visiting PhD researcher at the University of Technology TU Delft. Since 2007 she has worked as Teaching Assistant in architectural design and theory, Associate Editor for specialized magazines, and curator of art events. In 2013 she worked as researcher at Satyendra Pakhalé Associates where she cultivated her interest in the historical and theoretical roots of sensorial design.

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