Academic journal article Visible Language

New Media, Experience and Japanese Way of Tea (Chado)

Academic journal article Visible Language

New Media, Experience and Japanese Way of Tea (Chado)

Article excerpt


The philosophy of the Japanese Way of Tea (Chado) can play a significant role in design education. By heightening use of the senses, Chado cultivates inner awareness of self and other through process, form and practice. Established by sixteenth century grandmaster Sen Rikyu. Chado is based on the Zen principles of "harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility." This synthesis of ideals becomes a spiritual manifestation of the human soul.

Concentration on the senses is becoming more critical in design. Development of multimedia technolgies challenge designers to create more experiential expressions in virtual settings. To accomplish this, one is required to possess advanced technological skills and enhanced intersensory awareness. Inevitably design will come to express olfactory, taste and tactile sensations through a primarily visual setting. This inclination will encourage the generation of design experiences that awaken consciousness, emotions and empathy within their audience. The focus becomes the creation of experiences that are humanized through the sensitivity of designers and their ability to interconnection mind, body, emotions and spirit into design, while developing interaction with the audience.

Establishing Japanese aesthetics as a fundamental experience in design education will prompt students to cultivate their sensory preception, sharpen their aesthetic understanding, heighten cultural discernment and enrich their ability to create and express what they experience. Exposure to these ideas will inspire students culturally, intellectually and spiritually which ultimately contributes not only to their understanding of design, but also to appreciation for life.

As a student finishing her master's degree in graphic design at the University of Illinois, I have experienced, first hand, the evolving predicament of design education. With the influx of new media programs across the nation and the demand of students to integrate these programs into existing graphic design programs, the state of design education has become rather indeterminate and unfocused. Many students are captivated by and desire to be further versed in new technologies, which allow for an expression of design in new terms: design as interaction and experience versus design as layout. Yet, many graphic design programs are unable to provide students with instruction in the flourishing areas,of web and multimedia design.

Thus, students leave with a background primarily focusing on traditional print -based design and with only light exposure in the world of new media.

Like many universities, my graphic design department is undergoing the same identity crisis in terms of relinquishing parts of tradition and opening a willingness to embrace a needed redefinition of thoughts, languages, methodologies, processes and tools. With the subsequent advancement of new media and technologies, the teaching of graphic design has been ultimately faced with significant decisions concerning how to position itself in a hypermedia environment. This program, no different than many others, has struggled to identify with the changing climate of design.

Due to the lack of faculty proficient in technical skills, the program has no option but to resist forging new structures of multidisciplinary studies that focus on new media.

In my graduate studies, I am not seeking answers, but I am expecting to shape the context for current and future design pedagogy. Instead of waiting for new ideas to be embraced by the graphic design department, I would like to participate in the development of new ideas, in shaping new programs and in redefining the field of design. Many students feel that they are being forcefed recipes for education, as defined in design cookbooks from twenty years ago. I wish to add my own recipes to the book, by defining a future of design with expanded goals, philosophies and deliverables. …

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