The Knowledge Management Research Group

The Pythagorean Mutiny

By the middle of June (12/6) there was an important meeting at Apple in Kista. Bjarne, Bosse, Peter Becker, Jorge, Rikard, Katarina, Klara, Kristina were present. Yngve and Kenneth were prevented to attend. Within the DIL-project group we had been discussing different possibilities - broadening the horizon of possibilities all the time - but now we had come to the point of having to take some hard decisions as to what we were really going to put our efforts into. The students and designers were enthusiastic about the possibility of being able to work within the GOK-project as I have outlined it above.

Following a rather long introduction by Jorge, I presented our idea of project 'Garden Of Knowledge (GOK) - supported by my overview-map of Pythagorean philosophy and the birth of the rational project. I mentioned Katarina's idea of the garden restoration game, and discussed the GOK concept as a way to illuminate the relations between phenomena and concepts in general. In my presentation I tried to paint the same kind of 'holistic perspective' on knowledge that hade managed to captivate the students a few weeks earlier.

My talk lasted for about 15 minutes, and afterwards I had the feeling that it came across as a bit too short and 'disconnected'. It was clear that the project was encountering strong opposition from the part of Apple, i.e. Jorge. "It must not turn into some kind of multi-medial playground" - was one of his comments. The most positive reaction I got from Peter Becker, who was the only one that expressed his undivided support for the 'history-of-ideas approach' to the subject. The rest of the DIL group kept a rather low profile and had no really explicit opinions as to the relative merits of the proposed approach.

After the meeting the students were completely disillusioned. "Its not going to happen- they didn't like the idea" was the general reaction. I had to devote a lot of energy into convincing them that it wasn't as bad as it looked. "I think they're going to let us have a go at it, you just wait and see" - was my optimistic attitude.

And indeed. In a meeting with Yngve a few days later, we 'cleared up some misunderstandings' and got an OK to go on working with our concept of the Pythagorean garden of knowledge. En emerging project group was formed, where Kenneth Olausson and I would function as idea-generators together with a group of students and graphical designers (Katarina, Rikard, Klara, Kristina)

I would propose an overall conceptual structure for the garden, and Kenneth and I would propose various forms of content from the fields of music respectively mathematics. Later I was given the title of 'overall garden architect', and Kenneth and I were appointed musical and mathematical gardeners - responsible for the content of the corresponding knowledge patch.

The rest of the group would function as a sort of 'interest-filter'. Whatever seemed to be interesting and intelligible enough would be developed further. Moreover, each member of the team would have their own independent functions. Klara and Kristina were to work with the graphical design - as 'estetical gardeners', and Rikard - as a 'programming gardener' - would take on the coding of the prototype sketch that we planned to put together with the use of Director®. J remember that Rikard - rather reluctantly - let himself be persuaded into this by Yngve, since he did not think that he had enough programming experience to take on a project of this kind. According to Yngve, however, Director was 'no match to learn' - and he referred to all the successful programming projects that had been carried out in this environment as a part of various forms of esthetic multi-media education at GI and Konstfack.

Katarina, who was very enthusiastic about the project as a whole - but found it more difficult to envisage her own role within it - was finally persuaded to act as the 'coordinating gardener' of the GOK-project.

It was further decided that we were to work during the summer, and towards the middle of September we would evaluate the project, and decide if - and in that case how - to proceed. I remember expressing some anxiety concerning the possibility of working together during the summer, but we arrived at the conclusion that it would work out if everybody gave the project some 'reflective thought' from their own respective angle of things - and then we would 'calibrate' our thoughts later.

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