Artefacts: A Site for Poetic Inquiry

By Stephen Wischer and Megan Gette.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper seeks to disclose the value of phenomenological practice in relation to design via the discussion of poetic artefacts. The creation of artefacts that provoke participation with perception, which engage the qualitative (embodied) dimension of experience is of vital importance in a world increasingly concentrated on formulaic applications obsessed with mathematical certainty. This instrumental obsession is exemplified and, in part, accelerated by the detachment proposed by perspectival representations, digital applications, and reliance on objective methodologies, which continue to reduce or substitute our rich involvement with the act of perception to abstract analysis.
It may be our encounter with poetic creations/artefacts that magnify most profoundly the fundamental act of perception; demonstrating the interrelationship between memory, imagination, situation and wonder, central to perception and life’s meaning. By amplifying the activity of perception itself the poetic creation seems capable of elucidating a more tangible and meaningful understanding of architectural experience amidst otherwise hypothetical and/or isotropic depictions. Subsequently, the poetic creation seems capable of provoking newness in our understanding of the world, forever changing and adding to our knowledge of it.
Framed by the theoretical discussions of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Umberto Eco, and Alberto Perez-Gomez this paper seeks to disclose the value of poetic inquiry in both framing and opening an awareness of our phenomenological connection to the world, elucidating the ubiquitous facets of consciousness typically overlooked. Through examples of both student work and architectural masterworks this paper will seek to contribute to the direction of design inquiry by discussing the role of embodied creations and their fundamental conncection to poetry (via perceptual activity) thereby narrowing the gap between abstract ideas and sensual experience. This paper should provoke discussion as to the role of poetic artefacts in design education and their capability, or inability, to meaningfully engage our experience of the world amidst globalizing tendencies.

Keywords: Artifacts, Phenomenology, Architecture, Poetics, Poetry, Embodied, Design

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 6, pp.55-68. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.163MB).

Prof. Stephen Wischer

Assistant Professor of Architecture, Department of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, College of Engineering and Architecture, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, USA

Stephen Alexander Wischer is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at North Dakota State University where his teaching involves history/theory seminars and design studio courses emphasizing phenomenological investigation and interdisciplinary influence between art, architecture, writing and philosophy. Born in Edmonton Alberta Canada, Professor Wischer received a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art at the University of Alberta (1998) and completed a Master of Fine Art and a Master of Architecture in lock-step at the University of Calgary (2004). His artwork and architectural investigation have developed from intensive process-based exploration, presented in exhibitions in the United States and Canada. Professor Wischer continues to develop a phenomenological discourse which emphasizes embodied knowledge via perception as central to both architectural and artistic creation and orientation. He has recently begun to address the theoretical implications of these approaches by presenting at international conferences.

Megan Gette

Student, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, USA

In my poetics I subscribe to a truth within a wedding of images, exploring the web which constitutes the world. I am interested in subjects which propound these connections to question meaning and open perceptions— art, poetry, philosophy, architecture and languages have offered a unique projection on the world, rich with contradiction and inspiration. Traveling has also promoted this expanse of web, and a quiet immersion into other cultures from time to time contributes to my work and perspective. Working toward degrees in English and Philosophy at North Dakota State University and terms abroad, I intend to encourage a poetic engagement with artistic and academic disciplines through writing, teaching and research.

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