Ramblings & ephemera

kanso and shizen and presentations

From Garr Reynolds’ “Gates, Jobs, & the Zen aesthetic“:

A key tenet of the Zen aesthetic is kanso or simplicity. In the kanso concept beauty, grace, and visual elegance are achieved by elimination and omission. Says artist, designer and architect, Dr. Koichi Kawana, “Simplicity means the achievement of maximum effect with minimum means.” …

The aesthetic concept of naturalness or shizen “prohibits the use of elaborate designs and over refinement” according to Kawana. Restraint, then, is a beautiful thing. … Restraint is hard. Complication and elaboration are easy…and are common. …

The Zen aesthetic values include (but are not limited to):

  • Simplicity
  • Subtlety
  • Elegance
  • Suggestive rather than the descriptive or obvious
  • Naturalness (i.e., nothing artificial or forced)
  • Empty space (or negative space)
  • Stillness, Tranquility
  • Eliminating the non-essential

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