Accounting for the unseen: A multi-sensory perspective
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Experience of space and place cannot be reduced to visual perception alone. Vision is detached and distancing, and may be shut off by the blink of an eyelid, whereas senses such as touch and smell are immediate, involuntary, pervasive and invasive. The dominance of the visual, and the aesthetic valuing of the visual, has increasingly detached us from the immediacy and reality of the living world and is complicit in treating the Earth as another disposal asset, as though it were replaceable; something 'out there'. The designer culture has coated all manufactured items, real and virtual, with eye-appeal. Automobiles, white goods, furniture and fittings, clothing, computer games, information graphics, all derived from computer-generated shapes of astounding subtlety and complexity and with visually seductive surfaces. Interiors are no exception. Recall the feeling of vague unease upon entering an office block or public building where the use of materials, proportions, lighting and surface treatment alienate the visitor. And when inside, even the smell of many structures, both large and small, is discreetly offensive. It does not have to be like this. This paper will argue that responsively designed interior spaces may begin to connect interiority with exteriority through awareness of all our senses. The experience of interior spaces should be neither alienating nor patronizing, rather it should be enriching through the conscious inclusion of factors that are frequently subjugated to the visual.
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Visual Arts and Crafts not elsewhere classified