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Lesson Plans

Re: What is art?--another slant.

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Clair Kerns (cwkerns)
Sun, 13 Sep 1998 17:26:01 -0500

Since several have written me about Christoper Alexander's ideas, let me
expand a bit on this...

What intrigued me originally about this was his use of the word
pattern--not at all what I was expecting. I haven't had a chance to read
more than a few bits of his work from the
internet. (this state's interlibrary loan is notoriously ponderous).

His idea, as I understand it, is that "order" or pattern results as an
"elegant" (and I don't know what term he uses--I'm just searching for a word
here) solution to a problem. And that humans seem to have this instinct
built into their mental system. He seems to feel, speaking as an architect,
that there are "universal" or (almost so) solutions to problems of living
in spaces--and that buildings that are truly art forms utilize these elegant

To see an example of his ideas in home design check out this URL
I spent almost 2 years drawing retirement house plans (no computer then,
sigh) and I can see that I was using his ideas almost to the letter (with
certain time and money constraints <G>) in finally coming up with plans for
my 8-sided, earth contact home. (Had 9 wonderful years of hard work and
inconvenience--and pure joy before my husband's health dictated a change)

It seems to me that when our students' work comes close to this idea of
problem-solving (process) and elegant solution (product, utilizing the
elegant solutions???of principles and elementsand composition) --it is art.

I am not(!!) a programmer, but what I could gather is that the computer
world has adopted this concept as a new way of looking at the sets of
processes they put together to program a sequence of events--should have
some interesting results.

I know that I am going to have to do a lot more thinking--and reading--to
fully comprehend these notions, but it seemed a concept worth thinking