Screams, the creative design blog, explores Michele Durazzi’s graphic design of surreal minimalism in relation to a 2,000 year old idea from Ancient Greece: Ataraxia
Unbeknownst to most interior designers and architects, minimalism is an idea over 2,000 years old. Epicurus, an often quoted but little understood Ancient Greek philosopher, shared the life goal of achieving ataraxia. Referring to sustained tranquility – while you may have ups and downs in life, you tend to return to a base line of happiness – Ataraxia is the result of reducing peaks and troughs (perturbation) and raising the base line. As Hiram Crespo explains in Tending The Epicurean Garden,
‘It generally translates as tranquility or equanimity, and it’s the telos or the goal of all wholesome ethical philosophy. Pleasure is our ultimate goal, but it’s defined in terms of not having perturbation. Therefore, pleasure and ataraxia are tread as one and the same. The entire system of Epicurus’ teachings is meant to cultivate this quality, which makes perturbation (defined as mental disquiet, disturbance, or agitation) the enemy of the philosopher.’
Epicurus taught to categorise desires as necessary or unnecessary. ‘He also discerned between dynamic (kinetic) versus abiding (katastemic) pleasures. That is, active pleasures (whose that are experienced when we engage and participate in an activity) versus passive pleasures (those that derive from satiation and absence of pain)’, Crespo writes.
Here we find a link with Buddhist Zen meditative practice. The idea of Zen meditation is to focus on the simplest of pleasures: the air you breathe and your surroundings (read The 61-Point Meditative State Induction Technique). Minimalism extends from these philosophies and Michele Durazzi‘s creative design is a direct result of this millennia old thinking.
Michele Durazzi is an Italian creative designer based in the beautiful city of Firenze (home to the best wine makers in the world). His surreal minimalist creative project made with 3ds Max and Photoshop captures a surreal and futuristic take on ataraxia, water and white space everywhere.
It reminds me of a few things: my first semi-lucid dream of a house folding in on itself before a white Matrix-like space; the film Equilibrium; and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (UK). Part II of a series called Was ist Metaphysik? (see Part I here), man is dwarfed seemingly by his own creations.
The creative design project is certainly beautiful and inspiring of awe, but the abstract surrealism gives an alien element to the work. There is no bauhaus principle here. Pure, dream-like creation.