Commentary on “Design and The Play Instinct”

Here Paul tries to draw an analogy between teaching Art and solving a Problem. The basic concept of this article lies on the fact that constraints and limits are more likely to yield a novel solution. Though constraints limit the possible solution, it provides a direction to think. This is essential as for teaching art it is necessary to arouse some curiosity in a student. It is this constraint which holds a students attention and thus the student engages himself in this creative faculties.

One of the very good examples that Rand talks about is the Cross word puzzle in which the major constraints are the number of alphabets and the synonyms. It is these two constraints that finally lead us to a solution.  In the Chinese toy Tangram the constraint is the shapes of the tans. However in this case the output may vary from student to student depending on his self imposed constraints.

The Author also suggests that it is better to set some constraints and learn the basics of an Art before thinking out of the Box. This will lead to perfection in art. This was illustrated in the example of having imaginary grids which jotting down a Chinese character “tan”.

However there are a variety of examples that the author puts forth in this paper to suggest that Art is an outcome of Discipline, Simplicity and Restraint. Some very good examples mentioned in the paper are the African art forms which uses the earth color, the ones that uses the ice from the polar region and more. The Chasen created from a Bamboo and a simple tiny pen-like tool is also a good example of the same.

Rand not only draws an analogy between an Enigma and study of Art but also suggests that the solution and final outcome depends mainly of two factors i.e., the kind of problem chosen to study and the way the problem is posed.

-Anuja Chockalingam


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