Joy as ideology

9 March 2013 by Ingrid

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Do you read Erin Loechner’s wonderful Design for Mankind blog? She has long been finding some of the most beautiful, joyful findings on the web, but lately her blog has gotten even better as she’s adopted a “slow blogging” philosophy and taken time to share more about her approach. I respect the open and vulnerable way she puts her thoughts out there, and the community she has built around values that I share, namely that design (and specifically aesthetics) can change the world.

Back in February, Erin asked me to share some of my perspectives on “Why Design Matters” with her readers, and I realized I never linked back to it to share with you. It was fun to see how she translated my discursive ramblings and related them to her point of view. You can read the post here.

A couple of weeks ago, these beautiful images caught my eye on Design for Mankind, and I was struck by the philosophy of the artist, Evonne Bellefluer. She says, “I don’t think art should be about communicating some ideology. Art, like fashion, is meant to be enjoyed … something I look to to make me happy.”

I smiled to read that because of course that is an ideology, and not just any ideology, but the one I embrace in Aesthetics of Joy. Art can serve many legitimate purposes, among them provocation, representation, union, dissent, exploration, catharsis. Art can incite and art can woo, both credibly. But rarely can art be purely joyful without interrogation of its claim towards seriousness. And yet what higher purpose could art strive for than to improve wellbeing simply through beauty?

Erin quotes Evonne as saying, “I had a conversation with a friend the other day who suggested that my art didn’t belong in a gallery setting because it had nothing to say.” Must everything talk to our conscious minds to be meaningful? This ignores the reality that most of our brain is unconscious mind, which processes the deep, wordless notions of euphoria, yellowness, buoyancy, and belonging in chemical silence. We are much more sensation and emotion than we are ideas.

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Erin’s blog always makes me think. Here’s one more post about slowing down. I hope it sparks something for your too.

Link: “On Intention” on Design for Mankind
Images: via Evonne Bellefleur on Behance

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