Visual Arts and the Creative Process: Re-elaboration and Invention of Design Techniques Can Offer New Answers to Emergent Questions
A class of “no Art Major students” was considered a medium size design studio that, along the course of the year, performed a number of design activities. In synthesis: designing means a full immersion in team-based activities and continuous exposure to innovative research topics. My teaching program was aimed at providing students with the theroretical and practical skills to carry out an activity of “problem setting”, more than on problem solving, using their imagination to envision scenarios and strategies based on the introduction of information and communication technologies in the everyday life environment. The course involved all media. The project aimed at orienting the development of an environment which mediates new modalities of narration exploiting the theoretical framework of Cultural Psychology, and in particular, the work of two of its leading figures: Vygotskij and Bruner. The contribution of these authors had allowed defining five pedagogical objectives that drive the design process. The pedagogical objectives can be summarised as follow: expand as much as possible students sensorial experience through visual items, support the students in developing emotional knowledge (e.g. empathy), allow them to embody and concretise the product of their imagination, support the students in building their fantasy and world model through discussion and cooperation (intersubjectivity), support co-operative mechanisms and reflection (metacognition) with multimedia texts and tools. The experimental design process started with the elaboration of design concepts, not with an analysis, in order to create the reference framework. From then on, the process followed a so-called “reverse design” process. Alternating divergence and convergence phases, the concepts were confronted with – and validated through – the concurrent activities, such as activity analysis, user understanding, technology road mapping, business strategy, etc. Visual Designing means: first think, and then act.
Keywords: College Art Class, Visual Arts, Scenario Based Design, Envisioning, Undergraduate Experimental Course
Professor - Visiting professor, School of Arts, Montclair State University and Siena University