"The Sympathy of Things: Ruskin and the Ecology of Design," is a publication by Lars Spuybroek.
Author:Lars Spuybroek Issued: 2011 Type: Paperback, illustrated, full color Pages: 400 Language: English
Dimensions: 16 x 23 cm ISBN: 978-90-5662-827-7 Price: € 29.50 Design:Joke Brouwer
"We have to find our way back to beauty," writes Lars Spuybroek
in the introduction to The Sympathy of
Things. In this book Spuybroek argues that we must "undo" the twentieth
century – the age in which the sublime turned from an art category into a
technical reality. This leads him to the aesthetical insights of the
nineteenth-century English art critic John Ruskin, from which he distils
pointers for our time.
In The Sympathy of
Things, the old romantic notion of sympathy, a core concept in Ruskin’s
aesthetics, is re-evaluated as the driving force of the aesthetic experience.
For Ruskin, beauty always comprises variation, imperfection and fragility,
three concepts that wholly disappeared from our mindsets during the twentieth
Spuybroek addresses the five central dual themes of Ruskin in
turn: the Gothic and work, ornament and matter, sympathy and abstraction, the
picturesque and time, ecology and design. He wrests each of these themes from
the Victorian era and compares them with the related ideas of later
aestheticians and philosophers like William James and Bruno Latour.
Lars Spuybroek is Professor of Architectural Design at the Georgia
Institute of Technology in Atlanta. He is the author of NOX: Machining Architecture (2004), The Architecture of Continuity (2008), Research & Design: The Architecture of Variation (2009) and Research & Design: Textile Tectonics
"We are living through a change in paradigm, in the age of the flexible machine, where the concepts of matter, spirituality and design are under re-negotiation and we need such fearless thought to jolt complacency. If Spuybroek, like Ruskin, does not shake your design and aesthetic concepts, you haven’t understood him."
Charles Jencks on The Sympathy of Things
"The Sympathy of Things is a stirring call to action; an amazing reconstruction of the ideas of the Victorian sage John Ruskin; and, above all, a visionary look at the inner life of things. Lars Spuybroek makes the case that aesthetics is first philosophy, and proposes a radical new aesthetics for the digital age."