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07 May 2006 @ 05:50 am
Kiloword: Beauty and Use  
Famed artist and designer, Isamu Noguchi, is known for creating beautiful things that were also meant to be useful. He applied this esthetic to everything he made, whether it was a large park for children or a bench sitting in a studio.

In a recent museum exhibit, some of his furniture was displayed alongside videos of Martha Graham. Noguchi designed many dance props for Graham and her dance company. He also designed much of the furniture that sat in her dance studio. Four long benches, irregularly shaped and polished to glassy smoothness, were hung vertically on the wall, their surfaces arranged in such a way as to make them a large three dimensional art piece.

Gorgeous work surrounded by gorgeous work. Except as you came closer to the benches to admire the wood grain, you began to notice drink rings. On a museum piece? With any other designer these flaws would be polished off. Or worse, the pieces wouldn't be shown at all, 'damaged' as they were.

But remember the Noguchi esthetic. Beauty and usefulness. These benches were used by a hard working dance company. They'd move and undulate and sweat. That makes a person thirsty. So you sit, sip, and talk.

Everything of beauty has a flaw. Even your most perfect character. Even your heroes. A lifetime of living in the world, any world, should not leave them untouched. They will have their own 'drink rings', the things that indicate a life of encounters that left marks on them. Often times you won't notice them until you come closer.

What are you character's drink rings? What are the subtle things that nick and scratch the surface of what would otherwise be a thing of untouched beauty? And then remember the esthetic. What is beauty if that is all it is? What is your character's use?

This exercise could result in a list, a drawing, or a fully fleshed out Kiloword.