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The Potential of Design Aesthetics

Aesthetics has continuously been central to the discourse on design both in relation to theory and practice. The treatment is however somewhat paradoxical. On one hand aesthetics is emphasised as a fundamental issue of key importance. On the other hand what is exactly meant by ‘aesthetics’ or ‘aesthetic’ is inherently unclear? Both the terms for its usage and the implications seems by and large unresolved. 

Recent years the theory of aesthetics oriented towards fine art the issue has come to focus on questions of the production of meaning within the aesthetic artefact and especially the complication thereof. Meanwhile a more culturally aware research has proposed a shift of attention towards the aesthetic relations rather than the artefact and ventured into the field of the aesthetics of the everyday and the alleged trend towards aestheticization of all aspects of culture and society.

The theory of the aesthetic and the aesthetic field of research are thus both under transformation and expansion.

The intentions in focusing on the issue of aesthetics is to question and utilise the traditional art based aesthetics and look into recent understandings and relate these to design and thereby address the deficit of research in the area so far. The question of key importance in this respect will be: How can a closer understanding of the aesthetics of design challenge and evolve the potential of meaning and communication in relation to designing, the designed artefact and the consumption and use of design?

 Contact: Hans-Christian Jensen, hacj@sdu.dk

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