Photo: From the Brooklyn Museum of Art

Another evocative passage by way of Juhani Pallasmaa’s The Eyes of the Skin. (More quotes from the book here, and more will be posted in the future since I have been in a state of awe regarding this book for some time.) The role of the hand and the body in creativity is not trivial and yet easily overlooked.

The computer is usually seen as a solely beneficial invention, which liberates human fantasy and facilitates efficient design work. I wish to express my serious concern in this respect, at least considering the current role of the computer in the design process. Computer imaging tends to flatten our magnificent, multi-sensory, simultaneous and synchronic capacities of imagination by turning the design process into a passive visual manipulation, a retinal journey. The computer creates a distance between the make and the object, whereas drawing by hand as well as model-making put the designer into a haptic contact with the object or space. In our imagination, the object is simultaneously held in the hand and inside the head, and the imagined and projected physical image is modelled by our bodies. We are inside and outside of the object at the same time. Creative work calls for a bodily and mental identification, empathy and compassion.

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