Monday, February 5, 2007
Aesthetic Movement: Britain: Arts & Crafts
To put it in it's simplest possible definition, the Arts & Crafts movement was started by artisans who believed that machines were taking the human element out of too many things. John Ruskin, one of the founding visionaries of the movement, believed that art was connected to the human soul, and a machine could not express what the human soul created. Pioneers of the movement shunned mass production and began to focus on individuality and hand crafted goods that everyone could enjoy. But this led to a problem that was a major hurdle for the movement, hand crafted items were too labor intensive to be made affordable for everyone and in enough quantities for the masses. Even though the focus of this movement was using simple, natural materials, there was no escaping the fact that machine made items were more affordable and could be made in quantities that made products available for the masses.
This brings me to my main question on this topic. Do we see any parallels between what was happening in the Arts and Crafts movement and what is happening today with our ever advancing technology. Take for instance AutoCad and Computer 3D Design. Today, we can create complete construction documents, beautiful 3D renderings, and 3D models of our architectural designs. AutoCad and other programs save us time and money, they increase the accuracy of our drawings and they allow us to churn out much more information than we could by hand. But, buy relying on the computer, have we taken out the human element of our designs? Have our graphic communications become too clean, too sterile, possibly too good? Sure, we can create a 3D "walk through" of a space on the computer, but does that cold computer model show the soul of a design better than a carefully hand rendered set of drawings? Does the fact that our hand put those lines on the paper convey our message better than any plotter could? Does a mouse allow our vision to be expressed more accurately, or does it impede our ability to truly put our heart and soul into our designs. If the founding members of the Arts & Crafts movement were around today to see our technological advancements, would the start pointing and clicking, or would they be saddened that yet another set of machines have taken the human soul out of design?
This blog is intended for the interior design students in the college of design at the University of Kentucky. It was created with the intent to present students with information, providing them with a channel for contemplation and discussion.