Tekton 21st Century Practice and Pedagogy

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Tekton 21st Century Practice and Pedagogy
Tekton
21 Century
st
Practice and Pedagogy
Gregor Roth
1
Gregor Roth
www.gregorroth.com
260 602 7757
[email protected]
All content is the creative and intellectual property of Gregor Roth and may not be used
without a written request and granted permission. 2014
Table of contents
Tekton, the Poetic, Art - Architect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 01
Adjective / Verb List . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 03
The Location of Art . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 05
Art-Architect:
Studio Practice / Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 07
Pedagogical Methodology:
Sketch - Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 15
Studio Practice | Methodology:
Acquiring Place in Space - Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 19
Pedagogical Methodology:
Syllabi Samples and Student work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 25
Placing Myself in an Art / Historical Context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
pg. 33
Synergistic Thinking: Logical Thinking
and Input Sensitivity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 37
Practice and Pedagogy:
A Four Step Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 41
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 45
*Why some pages have QR Codes. Simply use your smart phone, scan the code and it will take you to
specific pages in my web site, www.gregorroth.com, that further illustrate and support text contained on
that page.
Tekton, the Poetic Art - Architect
This collection examines the interface of a generative
practice that is composed of theory, making and
teaching. Highlighting the interactive relationship
between these components, I have developed a
body of work focused upon a contemporary practice
which is driven by the theoretical concerns of
culture, relationship, immersion, viewer interaction,
transformation and education. We know the perception
and interpretation of vision offers us the widest array
of simultaneous spatial distinctions. However, tactile
sensations require more time to comprehend, and it
is in this way we locate ourselves as objects in a field
of other objects.
In this context, I redefine Tekton to mean Art – Architect
(that is, theorist and maker) a position that allows me to
practice from two vantage points. In the original Greek,
Tekton means builder, and then was used by Homer
to allude to construction in general. Later, its meaning
became broader still to describe a more generic notion
of making in a poetic sense—the relationship between
material and structure—the artistically constructed form
through the act of revealing.
With this later definition in mind, my practice begins by
constructing two-dimensional and three-dimensional
situations through conceptual and theoretical research.
Using a sketchbook approach that I call Sketch Research, (see p. 16, Observational Drawing) itself a
generative process, and via writing and illustrating, I
design work that conveys my vision two-dimensionally.
These notions either remain two dimensional or go on to
be built into an installation. All results exist in our space
and time, whether illustrative or graphic design or as
Installations, which re-articulate space. As Tekton, the
Art - Architect, my work is designed through theory and
built for experience.
QR link;
gregorroth.com home
page describing core
methodology.
01
Adjective / Verb List
Drawing, the means of visual articulation is essential-the beginning to poetic making-and, understanding
my unique visual language I am able to communicate effectively. This is the process of sketch-research
I use in the studio and the classroom.
Theorize . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to theorize
Investigator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to investigate
Conceptualist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to conceptualize
Thinker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
to think
Planner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to plan
Culturalist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to culturize
Traveler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to travel
Experientialist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to experience
Interactivist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to interact
Challenger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to challenge
Antagonist. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to antagonize
Experimenter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to experiment
Fearless. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to be fearless
Adventurer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to be an adventurer
Builder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
to build
Constructor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to construct
Passionate. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
to be passionate
03
The Location of Art
Existing around us are disparate artifacts, ideas, notions,
even absolutes, seemingly unconnected and unrelated.
And yet in everything are levels of interconnectivity.
Visual Communications and Design and Fine Art are
symbiotic; the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional
are experiential and interactive and so become social
connection points. Through research, conceptual thought,
sketching, writing as well as self-evaluation, the act of
Sketch - Research, come the components for rich,
unique and innovative work. Sensual, they are alive with
possibility and vitality. Composed of line, shape, depth,
color and scale they involve our sensations, becoming a
bright aurora in the mind and a companion to the body.
Capable of integrating the specific, the segmented, the
fragmented parts of self and society, art then, must be,
visceral, vast, and communicative. Art in the end is both
timeless and timely.
QR link;
Generic Form:
Rearticulating Space
description page.
05
Art - Architect: Studio Practice / Methodology
The Simultaneous Experience of the Two Dimensional and the Three Dimensional
07
07
Generic Form: Rearticulating Space
‘Introduction’
I create three-dimensional possibilities out of two-dimensional
arrangements: I view Twentieth Century Modernists abstracted
paintings as being potentially and conceptually flattened threedimensional situations. This act is the Tektonic process of spatial
re-articulation, proving how each form compliments the other
and the reification of the importance of two-dimensional work.
(This process is shown between figures A and B.) Our cognitive
abilities of sight and perception allow us to move back and forth
between these two- and three-dimensional possibilities, essentially
deconstructing and reifying the images. (The process takes the
Art–Architect back to two-dimensions from figures B to C.) In
any state, the works are each possibilities for representation of
the cube’s generic form—newly designed aesthetics as well as
the final specific form. This very act of sight, perception, and
interpretation is itself an art situation.
Figure: B
Shadow form the Guggenheim, Detail.
QR link;
Page 08, site link
describing Figures
A, B, C.
Figure: A
Abstract painting; Martini Waterfall
Figure: C
Mono print, Untitled study
These sketches correspond with the AZOM chart, (p. 21), figure O, by indicating the zones we operate
while inside the space of the installation.
Zone #2
(AZOM chart, Blue)
Zone #3
(AZOM chart, Green)
Zone #4
(AZOM chart, Yellow Green)
Zone #5
(AZOM chart, Orange)
Figure: D
Studies of Generic Form: Rearticulating Space
Generic Form is Rearticulating Space. It explores the generic form of the cube by its freedom, giving
opportunities to design an installation where the work re-defines existing space through a highly
structural approach.
09
Generic Form: Rearticulating Space
‘Intent’
‘Function’
Organizational intention re-defines space through a
highly re-structured appearance. The process of newly
revising space is architectural, structural and sculptural.
In essence, it renders viewer into participant, thereby
re-defining the traditional notion of art viewership—
re-assessing the relational existence between art
and space, viewer and art, sculpture and structure,
architecture and structure. Furthermore, when the
participant investigates the installation, the work
opens into an exploration of function, as occurs within
a dwelling, facilitating an interactive environment.
Increasing the functionality of the scene even more,
another artist’s work might be set upon the walls of
each cube and showcase as an intentional gallery
venue: essentially, art installed within an art installation.
In this specific form, intention and function abide.
As a sculpture, the cube becomes a specific form
that is temporal, subjective and abstract, which
elicits unique participant reactions. In conceptual and
visual language, the three-dimensionality of the cube
becomes the symbolic manifestation of Platonic form
that offers unique and logical multi-formational,
art-architectural, art-structural and sculptural
possibilities. (see p.11; Figures: E, F, G).
QR link;
Generic Form:
Rearticulating Space
detail photo.
Sculpture =
parts =
micro viewing
Figure: E
Maquette, Generic Form; Rearticulating Space,
Detail view.
Figure: F
Maquette, Generic Form; Rearticulating Space,
Detail view.
Figure: G
Maquette, Generic Form; Rearticulating Space,
Detail view.
11
Generic Form: Rearticulating Space
‘Form’
In the form of an installation, rearticulating space
takes advantage of the polyhedral properties
of the cube when in a solid form, where these
formal properties encourage experimentation
and investigation (see Figures E, F and G; p. 11).
The resultant forms alter the viewers’ normative
relationship with art, or architecture. In both
cases shifts in space and time occur as interaction
within the art installation regardless of its Art or
Architectural conditions. When the cube is used
in a modular design it creates new potentials of
complexity, and in the process accentuates and
refines art/viewer relationship.
In a macro architectural context, we encounter
modules through proprioception. This psychological relation gives a sense of where individuals
are in space—that is, a relational situation
between our body the larger sense of architectural
space. In a micro sculptural context, the viewer
is relating via phenomenology, or understanding
modules on a smaller and intimate one-to-one
scale. At any time, we oscillate between these
perceptions (see Figures H, I; p. 13).
QR link:
Generic Form;
Rearticulating Space,
Architecture =
Gestalt structure =
macro viewing.
Figure: I
Each Cube acts a module on the small and intimate scale, the one-to-one level.
Figure: H
The micro-sculptural where one relates via phenomenology.
13
13
Pedagogical Methodology: Sketch - Research
Line is foundation. It is the first sign, the beginning of thought. It arrives before the
spoken word. Line is controlled energy. Line is expression and movement. Line is
foundation and finalization and everything in between.
15
Observational Drawing
Line can be described as frenzied, lyrical, fluid, smooth. Line can
characterize mannerisms of movement. These qualities add complexity,
energy, discomfort—a range of emotions that are achieved solely
from within the artist as well as from the created mark.
Drawing is language. It is a key into the world that mediates reality.
Regarding line, Picasso said, only complete control and mastery in
drawing would allow the artist to draw instinctively.
This idea of drawing as language is emphasized in my foundation
drawing classes. Students are given four assignments comprised
of seven shapes each. They are required to draw each object one
hundred times in order to develop the most critical eye of all: the
pencil. The pencil as the most critical eye, occurs when it is used as
a tool of expression and description through the mind / hand of an
insightful and inquisitive artist. Pencil as a tool making line, value,
form give new definition and life to the object under study. Just as in
learning spelling or multiplication, so too does drawing in repetition
define and expand one’s unique visual language. (see Figures J, K,
L, M; p. 17)
(See, Pedagogical Methodology, Syllabi Samples and Student Work,
wp. 25).
The 700’s
Drawing seven shapes 100 times strengthens student’s fluidity of line, increases muscle memory and
reinforces hand-eye coordination; a process similar to learning the letters of the alphabet.
Figure: J
Figure: K
Figure: L
Figure: M
17
Studio Practice | Methodology:
Acquiring Place in Space - Time
Space is re-articulated by objects. The structural, art-architectural, art-structural
and sculptural comprise three interrelated yet independent associations (see p.
21; Figure P). As such they develop fields of relationships within the architectural
site, between objects and the participant. The Association of Zones, Objects, and
Ma are perceived as spheres for perception, behavior, and interpretation. These
associations are necessarily grouped in three distinct columns.
19
19
Association of Zone, Object and Ma
The following drawing is an
example of the sketch and
research process, which I use
in my own practice and stress
in the classroom. The graphic,
(see p. 21; Figure O) is the
drawing in its final form. I
have used Illustrator to build a
clean vector chart. Beginning
at section Zone #1-Viewing,
Aggregate Propreoception,
Site, Ma-Hashi, outer ring,
the chart describes how one
enters space occupied by an
installation and the zones one
passes through to acquire a
sense of place through space
and time. (see Figure N)
Figure: N
The AZOM chart developed through patron interviews and self analysis.
During participation within several different installations ranging over a
period of two years as well as simple observation while in public spaces and
galleries notes were compiled and the rough chart was developed.
Association of Zones, Object and MA (AZOM)
Verticle
Division
#1A
Association of Zones, Object and Ma (AZOM).
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Figure: O
See page 09, figure: D for illustrations
describing AZOM breakdown.
21
M
ed
ia
Space, Form, and Participation:
Acquiring A Sense of Place
Zones, column #1, are located on the outermost layer of each major
quadrant of the AZOM chart. These areas are comprised of viewing,
which involves site design, participation, and occupying and consists
of two sub sets of formative observation. First, through the Cardinal
System of Ordering (i.e., a collection of views that combine naturally
into a general appearance), and secondly, by way of the Six Principles
Influencing Perception (i.e., physical characteristics that influence
perception by forming the basis of viewer participation.) The over all
process includes all the stages ranging from proprioception to
phenomenology. (see p. 21, Figure O).
Objects, column #2, are aquired by moving inward and are
categorized as builder form, consisting of Framework and
Stereotomics and Artistic Form broken down into Kernform,
Kunstform and Raumform.
Ma, column #3, the Japanese concept of Space-Time, describes
the culmination of the layered characteristics of being while within
the complex of the re-articulated space. Ma is simply described as
‘Space between’, the essence of Ma, as well as the Space directing
movement and Space for relationship and existence.
#1 - Zones
#2 - Objects
#3 - MA
1A - Viewing
2A - Builder Form
3A - Space Between
1B - Occupying
2B - Artistic Form
3B - Space Directing
Movement
Cardinal System
of Ordering
3C - Space for
Relationship
and Existence
Six Principles
Influencing
Perception
Figure: P
The chart describes groupings that formulate sets of principles and characteristics influencing how we relate to a place
through space, form and participation.
23
Pedagogical Methodology:
Syllabi Samples and Student Work
Drawing is communication and as such a requisite skill in visual art—a core skill in
the classroom for each student. Further, the sketchbook functions as site, the place
to begin creation and solve problems as a self-contained and portable studio. With
this skill they develop their visual language and create new lexicons that enrich
their studies and eventually their professional practice.
25
25
Observational Drawing: VCD-P101
Overview
Observational Drawing is the process of understanding, interpreting
and becoming aware of phenomena—natural and manmade—that
comprises the world around you. This introductory class approaches
the process of drawing is as much a formal practice as it is a portal
into the student’s understanding as an artist. To strengthen his or
her ability and enhance understanding, the focus of each class is
on sight as it pertains to the understanding of subject/object and its
environment. Fundamental to this idea is the concept that students
have a Core Personal Visual Language to develop all aspects of
their artistic studies and personal practice. This class places at its
core the concept of process, rigor, research and discipline as a
foundation to a professional practice.
Sketch - Research
During the semester students are required to have a sketchbook
and keep a journal that consists of studies, quick or formal drawings,
writing reflecting observations of art, design concepts and / or topics
covered in class. Topics might be wide and far ranging and may cover
current trends, theory, manners in thinking, artists and other applicable
topics. Entries should include detailed, in-depth observations and
critical analyses of pertinent topics (in complete sentences), as
well as drawings/sketches that visually articulate broad ranges
of thought. A great deal of importance is placed on the journal.
Its intent is to teach thought, both written and visual as well as
discipline and being critically aware. Students are to assume the
journal’s use is ongoing and incorporated into various assignments,
class discussions and personal development.
Readings
Rather than a series of specific books and authors being assigned
by the instructor, students are told to focus on the list of artists
below as a starting point. They are then to select two and research
them throughout the semester. As they use their sketchbooks,
they also are expected to add inspired drawings and writings that
reflect their studies. This methodology is a forum to ask questions,
seek answers and draw. The sketchbook becomes an extension of
the studio.
Artists
This is not a comprehensive list but only a starting point. Michelangelo Henri Matisse
Pablo Picasso
Richard Serra
Barnett Newman
Leonardo da Vinci Paul Klee
Sol Lewitt
Roy Lichtenstein Jackson Pollock
Tintoretto
Wassily Kandinsky Fred Sandback
Robert Motherwell
Through construction, by way of line and tone, comes an assemblage
of complex forms and these impart mass.
Student samples. (see Figures Q, R; p. 27)
Figure: Q
Figure drawing.
Figure: R
Example of student Sketch-Research self studies.
27
Illustration 1; Dry Media: VCD-P206
Overview
Illustration is used to illustrate textbooks, steps of instructions in
manuals, the various moods and emotions of characters in a story,
visual advertising, certain concepts or themes. Illustration usually
supports the main subject or idea necessary in conveying anything
from a product to an idea. The Illustration expands meaning to a
subject for the audience or the readers to understand the context
and situation more clearly. Illustration is found everywhere from
fashion, to comic book, to C.D or vinyl disc covers, to the front cover
of a book or to a poster. Today illustration is used in a variety of
fields. It is considered a very effective medium of communication.
Illustration has been in use for centuries all around the world but it
developed as a prestigious profession in the past few decades. The
computer has expanded the role of ease of creating illustrations,
however for this class, unless otherwise stated, you will use the
computer for any part of an assignment.
Sketch - Research
During the semester students are required to have a sketchbook
and keep a journal that consists of studies, quick or formal drawings,
writing reflecting observations of art, design concepts and / or
topics covered in class. Topics might be wide and far ranging and
may cover current trends, theory, manners in thinking, artists and
other applicable topics. Entries should include detailed, in-depth
observations and critical analyses of pertinent topics (in complete
sentences), as well as drawings/sketches that visually articulate
broad ranges of thought. A great deal of importance is placed on the
journal. Its intent is to teach thought, both written and visual as well
as discipline and being critically aware. Students are to assume the
journal’s use is ongoing and incorporated into various assignments,
class discussions and personal development.
Readings
Rather than a series of specific books and authors being assigned
by the instructor, students are told to focus on the list of artists
below as a starting point. They are then to select two and research
them throughout the semester. As they use their sketchbooks, they
also are expected to add inspired drawings and writings that reflect
their studies. This methodology is a forum to ask questions, seek
answers and draw. The sketchbook becomes an extension of the
studio. They should also show specific documentation as evidence
of research.
Artists
This is not a comprehensive list but only a starting point. Victor Ambrus Richard Bassford
HiroshegeEgon Sheile
Otto EppersWyeth
William Hogarth Koji Ishakowa
Winslow HomerBoris Vallejo
Student sample (see Figure S; p. 29)
*Semester assignment breakdown not shown.
Label redesign.
Metal and Metalic surfaces.
Hair, female.
Male, pencil illustration.
Figures: S.
Illustration 1, Dry Media, VCD - P205, student assignments.
29
Graphic Design I: Introduction: VCD-P205
Overview
The job of the graphic designer is to develop solutions to communicate
specific ideas via highly visual and original schemes. This exchange
occurs through client interaction. The graphic designer must not only
be talented but also an astute listener. Listening is an exercise and
a skill. Understanding the client’s needs and desires only happens
through active dialogue and problem solving. Only then does the
graphic designer understand the client and can produce an effective
product that accurately and innovatively conveys their message.
This is an active and engaging process where they design as they
listen. Not only will drawing skills but also listening skills will be
sharpened. In time, students’ abilities to visually articulate ideas
grow and become more effective. Some exercises take place on a
peer-to-peer basis. In other assignments, the instructor acts as the
client, where instructions are verbally given and the student begins
with a series of sketches. After these sketches are complete, the
instructor meets with the student to determine the accuracy and
steps to follow toward the completion of the assignment.
Artists
Sketch - Research
This is not a comprehensive list but only a starting point. During the semester students are required to have a sketchbook
and keep a journal that consists of studies, quick or formal drawings,
writing reflecting observations of art, design concepts and / or
topics covered in class. Topics might be wide and far ranging and
may cover current trends, theory, manners in thinking, artists and
other applicable topics. Entries should include detailed, in-depth
observations and critical analyses of pertinent topics (in complete
sentences), as well as drawings/sketches that visually articulate
broad ranges of thought. A great deal of importance is placed on the
journal. Its intent is to teach thought, both written and visual as well
David Bailey
Colin Forbes Tony Wilson
Neville Brody
David Carson
as discipline and being critically aware. Students are to assume the
journal’s use is ongoing and incorporated into various assignments,
class discussions and personal development.
Readings
Rather than a series of specific books and authors being assigned
by the instructor, students are told to focus on the list of artists
below as a starting point. They are then to select two and research
them throughout the semester. As they use their sketchbooks, they
also are expected to add inspired drawings and writings that reflect
their studies. This methodology is a forum to ask questions, seek
answers and draw. The sketchbook becomes an extension of the
studio. They should also show specific documentation as evidence
of research.
Michael Bierut
Massimo Vignelli Paula Scher
Milton Glaser
Stefan Sagmeister Student samples. (see Figures T; p.31)
*Semester assignment breakdown not shown
Figures: T.
Indroduction to Graphic Design, VCD - P205.
Brochure. Flower shop.
Take Away Card. FWoMA.
31
Placing Myself in an Art / Historical Context
Minimalism’s influence shows itself in clarity, simplicity and rigor
while Formalism Plato’s notion of perception and sense of ‘thing,’.
Constructivism echos with hards edges.
33
33
Art / Historical context.
My work references several art historical periods,
both in its two-dimensionality and three-dimensionality.
In regard to illustration, my work reveals a flattened
rendition or representation of every day life as a
presentation of structure or sculpture that stresses
emotion, story or statement. In this way, my aim is to
emphasize contemporary and relevant communication
across segments of society.
In my installation work there follows three
associated art/historical periods.
Minimalism’s influence shows itself in clarity, simplicity
and rigor. In relation to Installation art, a specificity of
materials is used to re-articulate space and enhance
the act of experiential seeing. This elevates the material
beyond the mundane. My conceptual goal is to elicit the
perception of the Minimalistic qualities incorporating a
systematic approach through precision and measure.
The result is achieved via perception and by my use
of platonic shape, line and silhouette. Combined with
these Minimalistic intentions my work also has echoes
of Constructivism in its use of hard edged forms akin to
Russian Constructivist Art. Geometric forms of uniform
and rational order are freed of ornamentation.
Formalism is also present. Manifested through Plato’s
notion of perception and sense of ‘thing,’ I strive to make
work that reflects a basic yet refined manner. The goal
is to develop a dialogue between viewer and object with
our dual nature, the ‘I’ and ‘Me’. It is one’s motility, his
perspective-altering and spontaneous ability to change
position or viewpoint without physically adjusting his
location in the work that causes slippage between his ‘I’
and ‘Me’ natures. The always and continuous present
‘I’ and the object-perceiving ‘Me’ slip back and forth as
understanding of form, shape and place dynamically
fluctuate. The traditional relationship of viewer to image
has been redefined through the simple act of immersion
in a new environment presenting new opportunities in
experiential seeing.
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historical context
Artist / Historical Context
Richard Serra
Sculpture difficult to make, comprehend and display:
Serra’s work is concerned with complexity by using
simple shapes in complex and demanding designs. I
liken my conceptual intent to his. When designed as an
installation, it re-defines the viewer’s space and time
through the relationship established between the work
and the participant.
Paula Scher
Frank Lloyd Wright
Esther Kläs
Kläs’s work reveals how the intimate is at once thought
of as altogether manmade and of the earth. That is, it
evokes solitude without loneliness. Presence and being
are to be found in such places, and by re-articulating
space I re-order viewership through relationship.
Arata Isozaki
Isozaki’s architectural work adheres to the Japanese
space-time notion known as Ma. His buildings embody
the idea that space cannot be understood without
time, and time needs space in order to be perceived.
My Installations call upon MA’s concepts, transforming
viewer into participant through their innate dwelling and
explorative approach to the world.
Sol LeWitt
In reference to his wall drawings, their scale within a
room engulfs one’s field of vision while establishing
a relational situation for the viewer. I build from
LeWitt’s wall drawings with an Installation that uses
yarn and string that is, essentially, drawn in space.
String and yarn act as line within a three-dimensional
canvass. When one flattens perspective and depth, the
result becomes two dimensional—rendering a new
perspective of the word drawing.
Amze Emmons
Utilizing drawing, printmaking, architectural illustration
and a range of other visual communication disciplines,
Emmons brings informational and social clarity to a
chaotic world. Sharing an interdisciplinary as well as
multidisciplinary tool bag, I strive to convey meaning
behind images through my work.
Louis I. Kahn
Matthew Richie
Utagawa (Ando) Hiroshige
Paul Klee
Robert Morris
Milton Glassier
Donald Judd
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Tony Smith
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Synergistic Thinking:
Logical Thinking and Input Sensitivity
The pulling from and integrating of Logical and Associative Thinking.
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Synergistic Thinking:
Logical Thinking and Input Sensitivity
Synergistic Thinking can be defined as understanding and integrating
two distinctly opposing, yet necessary, modes of thought. It pulls
equally from the process of Logical Thinking and Associative Thinking.
Logical Thinking is verbal, sequential and analytic—in short, linear.
Associative Thinking combines related ideas or events via
imagination or memory, in ways not necessarily logical. This can
occur through stray thoughts, nearby events, and sometimes ‘mistakes’
or, the gurgling of the unconscious. Associative Thinking is
non-linear. Logical Thinking is imbedded in the conscious mind,
while Associative Thinking simmers and ferments in the subconscious mind. Blending these two notions together develops the
Synergistic or Creative Thinker.
Input Sensitivity
Both types of thinking carry intuitional reactions based upon certain
preconceived notions regarding thought, ideas, images or situations.
These notions resonate within the self as authentic and true. They
are made apparent in either emotional reactions or supporting actions
and reinforce conviction. Synergistic Thinking requires skillful flexibility,
a dance, between Logical and Associative Thinking. Known as
Janusian Thinking, it builds upon the combination of using both styles
of thinking in a deliberate application of opposites. In the context of
design and implementation of a project. Synergistic Thinking is the
process of using both simultaneously toward a holistic project.
A potential unknown throughout this thinking process is Input
Sensitivity. Small subtle variations during the design stage prior
to completion—the addition or subtraction of a particular element,
for example—can have drastic effects. Of course, these subtle
differences can be successful or be disastrous. However, many
times the outcome is surprising for designer and client/viewer alike.
Through willingness and openness they find new possibilities
leading to a successful outcome.
Practice and experience develop and enhance Synergistic Thinking.
First, it requires the practitioner to be both vigilant and engaged
in Logical Thinking as well as Associative Thinking (and to what
degrees probably somewhat equal parts), throughout the process.
Having the sensitivity and understanding of these within the self
will only increase the effectiveness of their Synergistic Thinking.
Art professionals who have an awareness of their thinking
processes, combined with strong communication and formal/
informal artistic skills, will develop considerable creative depth.
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Practice and Pedagogy: A Four Step Process
A Four-Step Process: Research, Planning, Mockups and Roughs and Evaluations.
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Practice and Pedagogy, a symbiotic relationship
Thinking is not only the most important professional quality, but
it is also the most exciting. During this stage the artist explores
the two-step process of Research and Planning. These stages are
explianed further in the following section; A four-Step Process.
Though computer software and applications offer obvious advantages to design and construction, virtual reality is devoid of
any tactile connection. Therefore, I then practice in a transitional
space of design and making that is the third and integral stage:
Mockups and Roughs. This is an inquiry period—a deliberate
movement between ideas, design and pre-final forms are
reassessed. These processes allow for oscillation between the
particulars of Research and Planning, Mockups and Roughs and
proves that Art is free to explore with no barriers and no constraints.
The final stage, Evaluation, reveals thoughtful application of tools
and their unique properties.
A Four-Step Process
for Combining Practice and Pedagogy
Research
Although integral, in the field of art and design research is often
times devalued, glossed over or excluded entirely. In my practice,
research is both a source of creative enjoyment and a multidirectional activity. It is not linear, not ordered nor concretely
structured. The classroom might be thought of as a controlled
environment designed to develop students into artists and this
begins at the research phase. For example, assignments are the
logical starting point and through the processes of question and
answer, roleplay and formal research that confect through their
sketch - research exercises.
Planning
As a cognitive process, Planning emphasizes a course of action
that moves toward the smooth completion and final product. It is
an attempt to see all possibilities as well as anticipate unforeseen
challenges. It considers possible outcomes and, if necessary, adjusts
them to the core intentional value. Planning might happen through
peer-to-peer, or studio visits as a way to be more effective in the
design and finish phase.
Mockups and Roughs
Focus here is on the practical and material aspects of the product.
These include, but are not limited to, size, color, scale, audience,
cost and time. These elements reveal, through the phases of
Research and Planning, a tangible prototype that can be further
used to gauge a myriad of reactions toward the formation of a highly
developed final product. Assignments are simply vague beginnings
and are as much designed to teach artistic skills as they are needed
to develop practical experience.
Evaluation
At every step the artist should practice some type of self-evaluation.
However, this step in particular refers to formal evaluation as being
a “devils advocate.” Honest assessment may be done through peerto-peer discussion or through simply being self-critical and objective,
with an eye toward appraising the products potential success in
relation the core intentional value. This is a learned and necessary
skill, in the same way learning software or material handling is.
The artist moves through perception to interpretation within the
sphere of their own creative mind. The ‘virtual reality’ of design
possibilities—moving seamlessly through these different stages—
manifest into actuality. Translation of the final form, the act of
perception to interpretation, as the degree of success, is found in
the final testing phase of the creative hypothesis. This becomes
apparent via evaluation in the form of critique. The act of Translation
should not concern the deconstruction of idea and final form,
but should be understood as a rarefied place where ideas and
possibilities flow, then merge, to potentially reshape the final product
into a highly articulated expression. This free flow of interpretive
information, the cognitive act of translation, is essential to the
practitioner as well as the viewer because this informs their work
from new directions.
Translation then permeates the entire process of the professional
artist as maker and as peer. Because one learns along the way that
accidents morph into strategy, intuition becomes emergent ideas
that bloom into literacy, and this messy and uncomfortable process
becomes a manner of transformation and elucidation.
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Conclusion
Culling from a myriad of thinking and making opportunities available
to the Twenty-first Century poet, artist, and architect, the methodology
incorporated into what I call the Tekton process makes room for
broad knowledge and experience while at the same time focusing
on the key concepts of unified gestalt understanding and fluid
morphing of the two-dimensional and three-dimensional. Thus,
the Art – Architect is developed, unrestricted and free to be vigorous,
vibrant and boundless—an honest and liberated studio artist,
researcher and teacher.
In the classroom, this process develops the type of instructor
who is focused on developing imaginative and cognitive facilities,
in addition to technical skills essential for student growth. This
generative process highlights how the synergies of all that was
discussed here takes advantage of societal forces, draws upon
historical antecedents, and forms innovative concepts that fuel
design intended to challenge perceptions and invite participation.
This process opens new and innovative ways to think, expand,
practice and teach artistic discovery.
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Gregor Roth
www.gregorroth.com
260 602 7757
[email protected]
All content is the creative and intellectual property of Gregor Roth and may not be used
without a written request and granted permission. 2014

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