Theoretical education at an art university poses a challenge to scientific theory and practice, since it is nothing other than testing their possible relevance to practice. Scientific foundations of design are therefore not an end in themselves for the promotion of art and design but represent a kind of bridge between non-reflective product design, unconscious genius aesthetics and the scientific ivory tower. Therefore, it is necessary to continue to develop a specific form of scientific work as a pragmatic theory for art and design. This will probably be oriented more towards the scale of a complex problem awareness than the normative idea of a binding canon of the academic content of design. This is exactly what has been tried often enough in the history of design and has always failed.
The study of “Aesthetics” at the Muthesius University of Fine Arts and Design should first critically summarise the individual theoretical fields of art and design studies, i.e. art and design history, communication and media theory, supplemented by general aesthetics and the sociology of art. In addition to introductory events and basic seminars, an attempt is made to consider current questions from design practice. The goal is the equal reflection and justifiability of individual student projects, as well as the competent assessment of one’s own creative work. The teaching aims at the competent handling of results of different reference sciences, without suppressing the meaningful difference between design or creative thinking and academic modes of access. At the university, the offer is to be supplemented by a regular seminar on media theory for all study courses. Topics range from media philosophy, the history of photography and film to the aesthetics of new digital media.
Prof. Dr. Norbert M. Schmitz
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