Personal experience provides a ready store of strong associations for inclusion in designs. With sufficient development, the creator can draw the audience into her life. She can recreate environments and emotions. She can move the hearts of the audience, and bind them together. She creates a world in which the user can immerse themselves.
The creator's own experience of the phenomena has already organised the details, sifted and rationalised them into a pattern readily apprehensible by another mind. That pattern bears the traces of the creator's personality. Those traces of the human, and the organised nature of the patterns tends to attract the user, but it is the associations, the emotions, ideas and realisations that make the associative design so powerful.
Exploration of personal associations is the basis of "art therapy" and "art for the self." By exploring artwork that builds on their associations, the creator/user attempts to understand what those associations mean in the greater scheme of their life. Additionally, these creator/users have associations built up with the particular pieces from their time creating the piece.
The user's personal experiences are normally stronger than abstract cultural or universal associations. This leads to a tendency for the user to an explore environment "on their own terms," and to see if elements "speak to them." This is part of the attraction of abstract art, where the user's experiences are the only concrete elements available for interpretation in the environment.
Document Name: tc.assoc.personal.htm
Copyright (c) 1997 -- Mike Fletcher
Reproduction for other than personal use prohibited without express written permission from the author.