Human Experience, Art & Interaction – Debate

Recent Debates and Evidence

Emotions play a crucial role in the human ability to experience and function in the world. There is a growing tendency across creative spheres towards experience-based practices. Philosophical theories and scientific studies intend to determine the way emotions work within our bodies and personalities. While it seems that both art and design movements and critiques emphasize the significance of emotional experience in the viewer, user and consumer to determine the value of artistic processes and design products.

The neurologist Antonio Damasio brings contemporary scientific evidence that emotional responses are linked to cognitive functions, bringing together the much debated objective and subjective aspects of human experience.

Current design practices show an increasing relationship between science and psychology, as designing the relationship with medicine, creating conditions for emotional arousal and developing ways to measure emotions by examining their physical manifestations.

In this paper I will explore the notions of emotion and experience within art and design as well as the European cultural and historical wave that emotion conviction has rode since the age of enlightenment. While first advances in technology in the 18th century pushed European thought to the age of reason, the 21st century’s embedment of technology in the every day life is witnessing the discourse of experience based, emotional driven research and practices.

Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives.*

* Schneider & Velmans, 2007, p.3