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Old 07-14-2009, 08:17 PM   #38
Francis Xavier
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Originally Posted by SPECIAL||PLANS View Post
i'd like to see your definition of "curiously mysterious feel" or explain how something "extends far beyond the confines of the aquarium." maybe you'd realize design is not always about being definitive, but rather its about being entertaining as the viewer discovers and makes conjectures as to what matters. the artist's design comes to life through this active engagement with the composition. your hinting at that at best with your lucid terms and lack of clarity. why don't you offer something of real substance that isnt so subjective. the solution you gave before about the lion pride was much better over this formula based method your describing now.
I'd be happy to elaborate more. I kept the last post short, since I don't want to be hijacking jaidexl's thread, but it at least has relevance to the main post, but I think past the next response we should engage via pm if you want to continue the conversation, unless Jaidexl states that this is an okay medium.

You make a very good point in that design isn't about being definitive - I would argue that it almost assuredly should not be past a certain point. Additionally, you're also correct in that the ultimate goal of this or any art is to create impressions or invoke emotions in the eye of the beholder - indeed Iwagumi is Impressionistic. Hence the relevence to emotional terms used to describe layouts or how you want to design a layout.

The most common question in regards to Iwagumi that I hear, is "what is Iwagumi" or "what makes an Iwagumi an Iwagumi." What distinguishes this art from the cleverly placed stone hardscapes prevelant in items like Malawi tanks?

Well, unfortunately (or fortunately) the distinguishing marks are a set of a few rules that at best are unclear, and oftentimes 'unspoken' rules, aside from the obvious (like putting wood in your tank instantly makes it not an Iwagumi) these aren't always easy to follow. For example, there should be only one main stone (although it is not impossible to pull off a scape with 3 main stones, but in these cases very little, if any support stones are used), and the rest of them should be in a sense, bowing to the awesome greatness that is the main stone. The main stone and main focal point acts as the conductor of the symphony - guiding how the orchestra will play and tying everything together to create harmony on what would otherwise be a random mishmash of sound.

As previously stated, Iwagumi is impressionistic - the impression of the layout going beyond the boundaries of it's glass cage is of importance - by using open space and keeping rock positions "open" (that is to say they aren't all pointed inward), it creates the impression that the scape was simply cut out of a scene in nature and you're only seeing a part of it, the rest extends past the glass box. Another way of achieving this, such as in mountainscapes is by having the edges of the mountains go up to the sides of the glass, planted in such a way that contributes to this feeling. A curiously mysterious feel is just the impression that you don't get to see the entirety of the rocks presented - that there is something more to them just around the bend if you could catch a peak, this subtly invokes interest to the design.

Iwagumi's main layout principles and simplicity and clean upkeep of plants is a direct evolution from Iwagumi as seen in Karesansui (or "Zen Rock Garden"), in which sand is used to give the impression of water, as just one example. So, I suppose you could go as far to say that by 'flow' what's really meant is to give the impression that the scape is in liquid motion figuratively and literally. The rules are important to follow - as in any art, but at the same time this doesn't prevent creative twists and turns (for example, mountainscapes can also be classified on Iwagumi if they meet fundamental rules). Iwagumi is -ALMOST- completely contradictory in it's setup, or maybe that's just because we don't fully understand this eastern art form. I realize there is more I could elaborate on, but as is this has gotten fairly long-winded.
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