The Beauty of 1:1.618
Meet The Validation Junky
What you call sexy or attractive is what evolutionary biologists might term genetic strength. We have evolved (along with the popular culture that guides our behaviour) to subconsciously direct ourselves towards opportunities affiliated with good chances for the continuation of individual selfish genetics. One of the characteristics being the underlying attraction to the physical features that fit to the golden ratio 1:1.618, a mathematical concept of beauty that is agreed on worldwide across genders and ethnicities. The proportion is used by plastic surgeons to re-shape noses and by companies dealing with aesthetic-driven design like Aston Martin and Apple. The ratio has become unanimously associated with beauty due to its direct reference to physical features on the human body that illustrate ‘strong genes’, such as good child bearing ability (female hip-waist ratio), or of capability to provide & protect (male shoulder to hip ratio). These attributes that our ancestors had once used to outpace opposition in the survival of the fittest could now be argued defunct in our democratised, post-industrial society, as the reality of todays post-industrial man is sitting, breathing and existing 10 hours a day at a desk.
Break Down the Game
I believe that to be a relevant designer nowadays means ignoring rules of existing disciplines, structures, systems, behaviour and definitions of beauty. Instead responding with astute observation to form intelligent strategy to frame how to approach a design opportunity and social issue. I think that the borders between design and art disciplines are being broken down by not only contemporary design problems but also the changes and challenges in today's society. Informed, challenged and disrupted by on one end the consumer and on the other end science and technology.
My MA graduation project ‘The Validation Junky’ (2016) was essentially an architecture project, but instead of designing a building, I designed a mechanism using my architectural skills to observe and re-frame how the human brain perceives beauty, status and attractiveness using theories found within psychology and human evolution, exploring the discourse on ‘taste’ or aesthetic sensibility.
The Validation Junky speculates how artificial intelligence can be programmed to acquire aesthetic intuition, an editorial machine to define and explore the parameters around what someone might 'like' and why it is aesthetically relevant now and in the future. A research with fashion trend forecasters and academics developed towards connecting taste or aesthetic sensibility with constantly changing social-political conditions and technological algorithms.
The project addressed the idea that we are still attracted to the physical qualities associated with hunting, gathering, providing and protecting that our caveman ancestors 44,000 years ago gave us - and is now being out - evolved by rapid technological development. It framed a critique of how technology might be better conceived for today’s real human aspirations.