S.T. Coleridge’s “esemplastic power,” that is to say, imagination, and Oscar Wilde’s “critical spirit” - to see things as in themselves they really are not - open the region of artistic and critical practice at the quick of design that’s beyond the grasp of today’s computers. Neither logic with axioms nor statistics for data and structure do the trick. Rather, visual calculating in shape grammars is needed. In this talk, George Stiny will discuss how this works, and why shape grammars are a better standard for calculating than computers (Turing machines) - at least in art and design.
Stiny is Professor of Design and Computation at MIT. He joined the Department of Architecture in 1996 after sixteen years at UCLA. Educated at MIT and UCLA, where he received a Ph.D. in engineering, Stiny has also taught at the Open University, the Royal College of Art, and the University of Sydney. His work on shape grammars is widely known for its insights linking seeing and calculating, and its striking applications in art and design practice, education, and scholarship. Stiny’s most recent book is Shape: Talking about Seeing and Doing. He is the author of Pictorial and Formal Aspects of Shape and Shape Grammars, and Algorithmic Aesthetics: Computer Models for Criticism and Design in the Arts.