I created this blog as a home for my design activities and a place where I can post my ramblings outside of the Facebook echo chamber. Not sure where this is going but right now I’m enjoying it! And off we go …
A quote from Robert M. Pirsig’s book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” came to mind when I started working on this page:
This divorce of art from technology is completely unnatural. It’s just that it’s gone on so long you have to be an archaeologist to find out where the two separated. Rotisserie assembly is actually a long-lost branch of sculpture, so divorced from its roots by centuries of intellectual wrong turns that just to associate the two sounds ludicrous.Robert M. Pirsig
I’ve had lengthy discussions about this topic with one of my professors while studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at my alma mater. In my mind there is beauty in mathematical formulas and in printed circuit boards. But my professor thought that Systems Theory and Electrical Engineering have nothing to do with art. Nevertheless I’m not alone. Steve Jobs once had an argument with one of his engineers about a printed circuit board for an early Apple prototype.
I fully understand where he was coming from.
Steve started critiquing the layout on a purely esthetic basis. “That part’s really pretty”, he proclaimed. “But look at the memory chips. That’s ugly. The lines are too close together”. Andy Hertzfeld
George Crow, our recently hired analog engineer, interrupted Steve. “Who cares what the PC board looks like? The only thing that’s important is how well that it works. Nobody is going to see the PC board.”
Steve responded strongly. “I’m gonna see it! I want it to be as beautiful as possible, even if it’s inside the box. A great carpenter isn’t going to use lousy wood for the back of a cabinet, even though nobody’s going to see it.”
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, a statement by Leonardo DaVinci which is not specifically about art or engineering, has its value in both disciplines. I used his Vetruvian Man as the cover image for this post because he truly was the incarnation of an artist, designer, and engineer.
It may be that the left brain – right brain association is the reason for the artificial separation of art and engineering. And only if both sides of the brain are equally developed art and engineering can live in harmony.
I’ll keep pondering these ideas to see where it gets me. I’ll probably share more of those ramblings here.