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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10002/831

Title: Gaze and Geometry: comparing two languages of vision from Medieval Eastern and Modern Western visual compositions
Authors: Akgün, Bahar
Keywords: Islamic art,
Seljuk architecture
geometric patterns
deconstruction
visual culture
visual compositions
shape grammars
Issue Date: 17-Oct-2017
Abstract: Islamic patterns from the medieval era are non-figurative displays of repetitive geometric shape relations on architectural surfaces. They are historically created as designs of a particular cultural setting and are said to be representations of infinity. Extensive research delineates elaborate geometric construction processes for these patterns based on a grid of circles, practically drawn using a compass, and lines that emerge from the intersections of these circles. Compositions deliver rich visual fields to the viewer while the application of these geometric constructions on actual materials alleviate the resulting visual effects. The designs can be assumed to reflect how visual fields and seeing are understood in their cultural and intellectual context. Among the rare evidence to corroborate this assumption, Kitāb al-Manāẓir offers a theory of vision based on the geometry of light as early as 1028. Written by the mathematician Ibn Al-Haytham, the manuscript constitutes a backdrop to the geometric construction processes that the Islamic patterns built up from, and provides remarkable insights to gaze at that time. Similar to how artists such as Gyorgy Kepes in early 20th century was inspired by the then-new science of psychology to formulate a “Language of Vision” in art based on basic elements of point, line and plane, and how their spatial relations are perceived, could one correlate Ibn Al-Haytham’s calculations and terminology to the ideation of Islamic geometric patterns as visual designs? This paper aims at formulating a grammar for the geometric patterns based on Ibn Al-Haytham’s calculations and terminology in Kitāb al-Manāẓir in order to reveal their language of vision.
Description: Biography: Bahar Akgün Bahar Akgün holds B.Arch. degrees in both Architecture(2014) and Civil Engineering(2013) from Istanbul Technical University. She received a M.Arch.(2016) degree in Architectural Design Computing in the same university and during her master studies she spent a year studying Media Architecture in Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. In 2016, she started working as research assistant at Istanbul Bilgi University. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Architectural Design Computing program at ITU. Mine Özkar Mine Ozkar is the Coordinator of the Architectural Design Computing Program and an Associate Professor of Architecture at Istanbul Technical University. Collaborating with design professionals, computer scientists and art historians, her research focuses on visual, spatial and material aspects of design computation, and their integration to foundational design education. Her upcoming book Rethinking Basic Design in Architectural Education, in contract with Routledge for 2015, interprets the pre-WWI history of progressive pedagogy of art and design from a contemporary and computational perspective. Her own teaching, of computation theory and studios at both undergraduate and graduate levels, is centered on students’ critical thinking and involved doing. At MIT, Mine completed SMArchS in design inquiry, PhD in design and computation and was a visiting professor for a semester in 2013. Mine’s been involved with SIGGRAPH Art Papers since 2009 and was the guest-editor of the related 2012 Leonardo Special Issue 45(4). She is one of the two editors of Shaping Design Teaching: explorations into the teaching of form (2012) and the author of a chapter in Digital Da Vinci: Computers in the Arts and Sciences (2014). Always an ACADIA follower, Mine’s served on reviewer and program committees for IJAC and the 2014 conference.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10002/831
Appears in Collections:1. Re:Trace Conference - Keynotes, Papers & Posters

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