Grotesque by Design: Borderline Aesthetic in Design Discourse

By David Goss.

Published by The Design Collection

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

Grotesque aesthetics is a phenomenon, very powerful in its visual presence yet evasive and ambiguous in definition. Characteristics of the grotesque are frequently visible in many fields of contemporary culture. The grotesque is surfacing and influencing many visual aspects through the use and promotion of alternative and borderline aesthetics that incorporate; exaggerated modes of popular culture, extremity, absurdity, obesity, disproportions and undefined physical borders. These have changed contemporary objects’ design, visuality and symbolic function.
Much of contemporary designs’ activities and the designer’s emphasis today are concerned with the symbolic function of objects. In the symbolic function of objects, the aesthetic and critical aspects of a design have become more significant, continuously adding to a reflexive discourse of design activity. With this, an internally orientated and an externally orientated design critique have flourished that has furthered and enriched the development of a heterogenic design discourse. The question raised; are there visible aspects of grotesque aesthetic in contemporary design practice?

Keywords: Reflexive Design Discourse, Grotesque Design, Borderline Aesthetic

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp.115-126. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 615.362KB).

Dr David Goss

Artist and Adjunct Lecturer, Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Tel Aviv, Israel

Artist and adjunct lecturer, The Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel. The Department of Industrial Design and Department of Cultural Studies, The Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, Ramat Gan, Israel. His works have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Israel and abroad.


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