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Peter Benz



Designing Experience: ‘The Ballerina on the Elephant’

International Academic Conference for Experience Design from 27 to 29 November 2014 at Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong

“Certain forms of so-called low-brow art, like the circus tableau in which the elephants stand on their hind legs each carrying on its trunk a pretty ballerina in a graceful pose, are unintentional arch typal images of the very same truth we try to decipher in art. Much can be gleaned from such ostracized forms about the intractable mystery of art…” (Theodor Adorno)

In academic and professional discourse the commercial purpose of Experience Design and the cultural practices of the arts are commonly sharply divided; yet this tends to get confused with the methods of shaping and making sense of experience. In practice artists can be – maybe have to be – just as coercive as designers when it comes to manipulating audience response. On the other hand many purely commercial events have, even inadvertently, created shared experiences that lodge deeply in the popular memory.

At the Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University, we investigate current practice and scholarship in the new field of ‘experience design’. We now wish to expand our explorations by inviting a wider circle of practitioners and scholars to enquire into the ways in which slippery notions of ‘experience’ are shared, commodified, theorized and politicized across the spectrum of contemporary visual arts at an international, interdisciplinary conference to be held in Hong Kong from 27 to 29 November 2014 in association with Hong Kong’s Business of Design Week (BoDW 2014).

The conference’s Programme Leaflet is available here.

More information about AVA’s activities in Experience Design can be found here.