Elements of Aesthetic sense. Contextualizing aesthetic sense

Rationale-  Destruction of cultural diversity through homogenized design education
The visual experience of modern spaces all over the world is beginning to look alike- Architecture, signage, hoardings, products, colour sense. What is culture then? How does culture gets transmitted? How is cultural diversity preserved? About a century ago we had diverse cultures with distinct way of life and aesthetic sensibilities that created contextually rooted architecture and artifacts. The learning process that ensured this needs to be revisited as the present education has created total homogenization all over the world. The design and architectural education can be blamed as one of the most destructive agent for destroying diversity leading to similar lifestyle. Courses from Bauhaus and Ulm being the foundation of design education all over the world has psychologically damaged the being at all levels – aping the west, inferiority complex, cultural insensitivity and other cognitive damages. Every generation needs to relive, recreate and reinvent certain aspects of its cultural sensibilities by engaging with the reality around them. The student needs to be ‘PRESENT’ to the local contexts holistically.
Contextually rooted aesthetic sense is what once created the diverse cultures around the globe. The present architecture of Srinagar also points to the fact that ‘un trained’ people have the ability to respond to modern needs with in their cultural frame work, most often unconsciously. May the conscious and sensitive designers role is to step out and allow this to happen.
The traditional artisanal context, where institutional conditioning of aesthetic sense is not taking place is where one should try to understand the formation of contextual aesthetic sense.
Children in non literate communities also can also guide us to understand the roots of aesthetic formation.


  • Suvarna Lele  On April 25, 2011 at 3:57 am

    Very very true.The cultural influences on Design seem to disappear gradually giving a monotony to Design all over which as you say is disastrous.

  • Kishor Jagirdar  On April 25, 2011 at 7:59 am

    In almost all the workshops I conduct I find people are visually corrupted with the plethora of images flooding their minds in terms of designs, solutions, emotions etc.Even the most effective practices of story telling and reading books is now replace by animation and multimedia. So people are conditioned to think in the visual deceit and pull out things that are already in the shelf rather look inwardly using creative intelligence. The need to be in the main stream and savvy has slowly uprooted the imaginative quotient in the learning.

    Untrained minds inorder to excel and progress display greater scope of creativity and willingness to explore through discovery learning than high skilled based folks as the hunger to learn will be low and willingness to leave the comfort zone established.

    This way in another 50 years all these diverse design cultures might be completely gone and available only for history as the artisans and practitioners would have none to transfer the knowledge.

  • Bill Gough  On April 29, 2011 at 5:53 am

    What a wonder-filled exploration. Much to absorb – we are all in this together. As soon as we see & hear & taste & touch & smell without filters, we step into the genuine world of knowledge where the world and our selves teach and learn in a circle that rolls forever. Time to shatter the shackles englobulating our eyes.
    Thank you for posting this. I am grateful to see what’s happening.

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