Ideographies of Knowledge/Session 2
A symposium unfolding from the intention to reflect upon the legacy of Paul Otlet and his work from the perspective of today's knowledge archives.
Saturday, 3 October 2015
Mundaneum, Rue de Nimy 76, Mons, Belgium
"Once one read; today one refers to, checks through, skims." – Paul Otlet, 1903
Session 2. Files of the World – The Politics of Documentation and Classification
11:15 – 12:00 H
A document describing and representing objects of the world is itself another object. Classifying documents is a process of balancing between fiction and reality, between ideal forms and singular objects. What is the relation between a thing and a document and between a document and a class?
Moderated by Tomislav Medak.
Video by Stefan Piat.
Matthew Fuller – Daniil Kharms: The Red-Haired Man
This short text is a kind of literary Zeno’s Paradox. It works through problematizing the object-predicate relationship, and handily, shows the power of fiction over reality.
Geraldine Juárez – Google Documents Iraqui Museums Treasures
With this video i want to mostly ask: Would Google had started their cultural agenda by digitizing Iraqui "treasures" if the US intervention in Iraq had never taken place?
Matěj Strnad – Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.15/01)
This document's complexity (don't even think of printing it, but feel free to use either English or French version or both) perhaps too clearly overshadows any bona fide motivations there might lay behind it. Its structure and long history (cf. version of 1977 with only 13 pages – but with 437 kB in size + notice the instability of filenaming at unesco.org) offers a possibility to compare and track the evolution of systemization and classification of what might be the most unsystemizable and unclassifiable. Further and perhaps the main link to Otlet is of course universality (and the obvious UN etc.).
Note: personally I am quite familiar with how the concept of "authenticity" evolved with UNESCO, also through the documents included in the Guidelines (Nara), but the actual inner workings of the WHC are just a bit too much for me.
Michael Murtaugh – Loco (Educational game for kids)
Answers to multiple choice questions in a booklet are answered by placing tiles (numbered in accordance to the question) in a grid whose (where positions correspond to the answer). Once all the tiles are placed, correctness is checked by inverting the tiles and looking colored graphical symbols printed on each tiles reverse side; correct configurations are indicated by graphical patterns that form recurrent patterns. At once a simplistic reduction of pedagogy to multiple choice, the game resonates with aspects of the utopian search for harmonious arrangements of knowledge, while at the same time suggesting a view of knowledge as a kind of diffraction where many combinations exist simultaneously rather than as a singular correct configuration.