We are trying to initiate conversations, rethinking, research, exploration, workshops, exchanges and conferences etc around various aspects of beauty. What prompts us to do this is in response to the homogenization that we see around as well as the ugliness that is being produced and general insensitivity towards children and nature.
Children imbibe what they see and experience. They are totally helpless and fragile.
We have to think of what kind of cognitive space is being produced for them.
Children are the most important beings as they are the future.
Re imagining beauty includes even asking fundamental questions like what is beauty? what role does it play in life? Is it universal? natural?
It is clear that before institutionalized education came into existence people kept their context based aesthetic sensibilities alive. Distinct from each other yet integrating aptly as and when exposure happened . Cultural diversity was kept alive. Almost every 5o miles change took place- in language, food and habitat keeping in line with the environment.
What institutionalized education did was to homogenize all this. Thus architects, designers and every one responsible for the making of habitat and artifacts began to respond with this standardized, conditioned and engineered sense of beauty.
All cities have begun to look alike.
And we the consumers of all this have been made puppets of the fashion industry.
Let us come together and engage in this explorations and reflections on what is the role of beauty in our lives. The usual way is to talk about the writings by great people of the past like Bharata, Nagarjuna etc but go on with our usual way of imitating the Bauhaus or other western process. Talking about the past- great Indian culture- doesn’t help. Let us examine the present.
1. How did traditional cultures retain their aesthetic rootedness thus maintaining diversity -even now where ever modernity hasn’t yet created havoc?
2. Why is that the modern spaces/ artifacts created by the 'well trained' and 'educated' all look alike?
3. Why is it that other professional courses like engineering etc produce beauty disabled people?
4. What is the process by which aesthetic education can be rethought of? Can we explore awakening rather than conditioning with ready made theories?
5. Is beauty rooted in the being? Is it rooted in the material? Is it rooted in the context of where we live? Or is all of this together influencing the formation of aesthetic sense? What role can educational institutions play in this?
6. What is Indian aesthetic sense? Would it make us authentic if we were to 'imitate' the east instead of the west? If not then what is one to do?