We wrapped up our Pecha Kucha presentations to complete our conceptual exploration of beauty in its relation to design. A lasting question proved to be the whether or not beauty is truly “in the eyes of the beholder” as Margaret Wolfe Hungerford has claimed. Though beauty seems like a personal experience, perhaps there is more of a physiological science to it than we realize.
Senses, such as sights or sounds dictate how we understand events and objects. Perhaps, going beyond the five accepted senses, there are a variety of "invisible senses" as well. What if, we can subconsciously perceive the history behind an object or the process of its creation? What factors create our perception of beauty?
Surely thousands of people would not flock to the Louvre, for example, to see the Mona Lisa if there was not something stunning about the painting. When hundreds of us stop to take a photo at a single piece of art, when we voluntarily cram ourselves into an uncomfortable space with strangers across the globe, are we then perceiving something beautiful?
Maybe, instead, it is beautiful when old and new objects appear to seamlessly blend into our current world, and we realize the passage of history and how we are only an instance in time. The Beinecke Library at Yale University showcases thousands of rare books in a modern context; and many consider this contrast striking.
The experience of beauty may be highly individualized, but clearly, we often share the most beautiful moments together. Most of us seemed to agree that there is a science to what we are drawn to, even if we cannot fully comprehend it. However, the Pecha Kucha presentations raised more questions then they answered.
We are anticipating a much more concrete response to beauty in our next studio project. How can we take what we have discovered and apply it to our own designs? What happens when a huge, vague entity like beauty is brought to life in a small-scale design? We are now conceptualizing our ideas.