Fuchs, M. (2001) Expositur – A Virtual Knowledge Space (Theory). Retrieved May 25, 2008 from Syl.Eckermann website http://syl-eckermann.net/expositur/theory.html
I came across some additional information written by Mathias Fuchs about this project that raised a few more ideas worth quickly sharing.
Fuchs discusses the power and nature of games and how they approached the purpose of the project.
“Umberto Eco proposed to investigate certain works of literature as ludic machines. These texts would work as structural units, whose purpose is, to get the reader involved in a game of words. The activity of reading would therefore resemble the process of playing a game – as opposed to the more teleological task of understanding a story. It seems that computer games, too, can be understood either as narrative devices or as ludic machines”
“Ludites state that the act of playing the game is an activity which is often driven by joyful improvisation. Especially when the elements of chance and vertigo… are predominant in a game, there is no need for a narration. Throwing the dices or going on a roundabout are such games. New media in general and computer games in particular inherited the twofold nature of games. They contain narrative aspects and ludic aspects at the same time.”
“When we started working on a computer game about Viennese museums we visited many museums and tried to find out what a museum-goer is actually doing. Does he learn about a scientific field? Is he led by a narration? Does he randomly drift through halls and have his eyes wonder around amongst miraculous objects? Does the visitor always want to keep a sense of orientation? What is the potential use of loosing orientation? Is predictability the death of the marvel?”
A few quick responses – I’d say that narration and play aren’t mutually exclusive and narration offers motivation to progress through the game by bringing greater emotional connection. (Not always of course)
I like the term “joyful improvisation” – it seems to embody the concept of “play”
“Even though the virtual museum “Expositur” tells about objects and processes, even though there is a semantic framework and an underlying logic structure our knowledge space leaves ample room for alternative readings, it encourages the user to define their private paths away from the main roads. It requires the visitor to set up his personal speed, pace and rhythm for the access to information, for contemplation and for sheer surprise”
Contemplation/reflection is also something I haven’t thought much about yet – this I guess slots well into constructivist approaches (as do large chunks of this project even though I choose to associate it more with cognitivist theory given the deliberate designing of information to be more processable. )
On the homepage of this section of this website is a nice summation of the intent of this project:
fuchs-eckermann: ‘We are looking for something which Friedrich Nietzsche labelled “Gay Science”, [“Fröhliche Wissenschaft”] a mode of experiencing knowledge in a joyful as well as thoughtful manner. Nietzsche thought that you can only come across important insights if you discover them when “dancing”. And that’s precisely what the users of our computer game have to do. They have to move in order to find out facts, they have to dive and swim to get deep into certain areas of knowledge and they have to dance around to discover unexpected aspects of a topic.’
Following this methodology, the user of the virtual museum has to jump into a water zone in order to hear about the extinction of an ancient fish once populating the Danube River. The user has to operate triggers and barriers to learn about the dangers of machinery provided by the Technical Museum. Or he/she has to walk to down a spiral staircase to reach the hall of Sigmund Freud’s subconsciousness [“Die Traumdeutung”]