Dec 13, 2011

Is Aesthetic Judgment a vague and biased Decision Process?

By - Anoop Jha

Design Aesthetics beyond Time and Formulas

Tangible aesthetic lies in the material beauty of built form, reflected in form of carefully crafted and designed products, carefully sculpted statues, flowing rigidity of architectural pieces with beautifully created three dimensional spaces, wonderful patterns of urban settlements and city grids.
When it comes to appreciating or judging aesthetics of any design form, same work of architecture or piece of art are judged differently by different individual and communities. There are some famous quotes regarding the same –

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder",
Margaret Wolfe Hungerford ('The Duchess'), Molly Bawn, 1878

"Beauty in things exists merely in the mind which contemplates          
David Hume's Essays, Moral and Political, 1742

“Beauty, like supreme dominion
 Is but supported by opinion”
                        Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richard's Almanack, 1741


It appears that it’s very difficult to appreciate the aesthetical beauty of form and art without being influenced by past experience, reason being human mind immediately tries to simplify and associate any piece of aesthetics with something resembling to past experienced, mind desperately need some scale  and benchmark to compare with. Since every individual and community has their own set of experiences based on conditioning, culture, geographical region, history, livelihood etc. hence they have their own scale and benchmark for judgment. While the object remains the same analysis differ. Surly there are thumb-rules of aesthetic judgment but they also seem to be biased. Beauty and aesthetic is eternal and beyond the grip of time and formulas and should be approached slowly and carefully while being skeptical to our own criteria of judgment.

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