Somaesthetics and Design Culture


Volume Editors: and
Design permeates every dimension of our lifeworld, from the products we consume and the built environments in which we live to the adorned and stylized beings that we are and the natural preserves where we seek relief from the stressful bustle of urban life. Design is where contrasting values of functionality and aesthetic pleasure converge. At the core of design is the human soma, an active, perceptive subjectivity that creates and evaluates design but is also its cultivated product. This collection of ten essays explores the somaesthetics of design in multiple fields: from ritual, craft, and healthcare to architecture, urbanism, and the new media of extended realities.

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Richard Shusterman is a prominent pragmatist philosopher. Author of several highly influential books in philosophical aesthetics and founder of the field of somaesthetics, he is the Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Humanities at Florida Atlantic University.

Bálint Veres is a Hungarian scholar of aesthetics and an award-winning teacher. He is a tenured Associate Professor at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest (MOME), and the head of its PhD-in-Practice Program.

List of Figures

Notes on Contributors

Introduction: Somaesthetics and Design Culture
  Richard Shusterman and Bálint Veres

Part 1
Studies on Limitations
1 A World Is Born: Craftsmanship, Mediality, and the Somatic Implications of Plato’s Timaeus
  Bálint Veres

2 From Making to Lighting a Candle: On Functions, Meanings, and Bodies in Ritual Design
  Mădălina Diaconu

3 Can That Be Taught? Lessons in Embodied Knowledge from Memoir Writing for Craft and Design Education
  Jessica Hemmings

4 Soma and Symbol: The Bridging Function of Style in Design History and Culture
  Steven Leuthold

Part 2
Bodies, Senses, and Power
5 Sensing Kalasatama: Design Culture and Neoliberal Bodyhood
  Guy Julier

6 Bodies Under the Weather: Selective Permeability, Political Affordances, and Architectural Hostility
  Matthew Crippen with Illustrations by Mareike Joleen Timm

7 Across the Threshold: A Somaesthetic Approach to the Design of Extended Realities
  Tom McGuirk and Alan Summers

Part 3
Transformative Experiences
8 Bespoke Healthcare Design
  Dina Shahar and Jonathan Ventura

9 Sensory Activation in Design, Art, and Architecture – a Somaesthetic Perspective
  Else Marie Bukdahl

10 Designing for Somaesthetic Transformation
  Richard Shusterman and Dag Svanæs


All scholars, students, critics and art and design practitioners and theorists interested in somatic approaches to design.
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