Art is a voice of faith through the ages
Tradition of art in the church
The recent near peril of the cathedral of Notre Dame has renewed our awareness of the close long standing relationship of art and architecture within Christianity.
From early Byzantine to medieval to high Renaissance and after, Christianity has fostered a lot of art. Some of the most famous art in history was commissioned by the church. Of course, not just Christianity, the relationship between art and religion and spirituality is long and vast as civilization itself.
can design learn from Religion?
What can design learn, particularly UX design, learn formo religion? Quite a lot really. A great many insights about UX design can be had from the study of religion. And I suppose visa versa. Seek and you will find them.
For example, the use of metaphor and analogies to convey spiritual concepts or otherwise intangible abstract ideas via the familiar and tangible, development and use of iconography, use and impact of story-telling, and more. This mentioned on the metaphor page.
My own faith-centered art is a nod to religious art through the centuries yet to remain unconstrained by tradition. Some of my works are simple reinterpretations of some of those classic pieces. Others are my own ideas. The themes are a mix of traditional classic iconic imagery and original personal expressions.
The medium of steel and concrete are not really new materials in the context of architecture, but are very contemporary materials in terms of fine art. How I choose to work in them is neither traditional for religious sculpture nor characteristic of their general use in architecture. I hope you find the mix interesting and in some way even inspiring.
First user CENTERED design
What happens when people see something for the first time, respond to it and engage with it? This to me is the fun of creation. I think of the story of Genesis when God created the animals then couldn’t wait to show them to man to see what he would call them. Call it the first user review. The creator enthused and curious about what the human being would think about it is something i can relate to.
Elijah, the fiery prophet
The story of Elijah is a favorite. Having just won the victory of his life, he became so depressed he crawled into a cave and wanted to die. And God said. Why don’t you eat something and have some rest. And and after Elijah woke from his nap he decided things weren’t so bad after all.
This bust of Elijah is one i made quite some time ago. As I was making it with a fiery hot flame, I was thinking about the fiery nature of his personality. My only problem is that I wish you could see the flames used to create this. Then again, looking at this, maybe you can imagine the flame?
what year is it?
I often ask people what year is it?. I usually do this when I feel a technology or process is out of date, like people still using fax machines. Of course I'm being sarcastic to make a point, like “that's so 1995” or “1980 just called and they want their technology back”.
I could also ask the question to make another point. That is, What does the date we use referring to? Why is it 2019? What does that mean? The point is that 2019 is certainly not the age of the planet by anyone's scale. It is the time since Christ’s first visit.
Spirituality analogous to technology
Imagine explaining cloud technology to someone a couple of millennia ago. What you say? Would you describe a thing or place called the internet that was not really tied to any particular location, but for all practical purposes, seemed to be all around us? You might even say it was in a cloud. You’d say it is a source of great knowledge readily available to all who believed enough to click a “Yes” or “Ok” in answer to a simple question.
Then having received something called a downloaded app from some unseen cloud place somewhere, a person could receive and understand messages which were otherwise invisible, in fact totally undetectable, visibly or audibly. Someone claiming to be communicating with this cloud thing would appear to be delusional. Even if onlookers were able to detect these digital streaming signals, it would all likely be indecipherable nonsense, like reading html, C++, or even binary code.
Who would believe you? They might say you are out of your mind or drunk. That’s pretty much what happened in the days of the Gospel and sort of how it has been going ever since as far as I can tell. People walking around staring at a little flat shiny object in their hand or just talking to the air, take your pick. It all seems about the same.
The gospel and UX
transformation of the traditional command line to a point & click ok interface
The New Testament Gospel of Christ is arguably a user-centered design approach built atop a foundation of a solid but less user-friendly command line interface. Like Windows running on DOS (or Mac on Unix, etc.) the old system never fully went away. we were simply given a friendlier means for engagement, more forgiving of errors, with up to 70x70 levels of undo,
Other similarities include heavy use of analogies, parables (story telling) in particular, to convey abstract ideas / spiritual concepts via the familiar and tangible. Metaphors galore, though determining what is or isn’t metaphorical can be somewhat problematic with varied opinions and debate as I mention on the metaphor page. Perhaps the most obvious commonality is the development and routine use of iconography over time and its becoming an integral part of the fabric of our culture.