The Project

OurCollnnectiveMinds is a game/theory-reflection/art piece, at the crossroads between cognition theory and research-creation, which invites the participants to experiment with collective and discursive thinking,within a low tech, live, three dimensional artefact.

It has been inspired by wiki socio-cognitives structures, the Glass Plate Game, Mind Maps, and Open Space.

In an interview with Ward Cunningham, the inventor of the wiki artefact, we realized that the wiki was inspired by the hypertext principle, itself inspired by a theory of a connective mind, which suggests that we think by making connections between concepts and categories. Here is  a representation of Xanadu, an hypertext project that was imagined before the invention of the web. The invention of the wiki artefact was first a hack to html (the hypertext markup langague structuring the web). It was the first  artefact to allow users editing and organizing public web pages.

The Glass Plate Game, is a conversation in the trappings of a board game. Pieces are used to map, against a mosaic, the conversation as players find and discuss connections between ideas represented by various regions of the mosaic. In the sets there are "idea cards" for composing the mosaic, then numbered cubes and colored transparencies for pieces tracking the conversation. On this photo, Dunbar Aitkens (white beard, the  Glass Plate Game inventor) is playing with wiki users, including Ward Cunningham (red shirt, the wiki inventor).

Minds map are diagrams used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea. They help to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing. The proxemy software prox is a 3 dimensionnal exploration of mind mapping that inspired us a lot for this project.

Open Space Technology (OST) is an approach for hosting meetings, conferences, corporate-style retreats and community summit events, focused on a specific and important purpose or task—but beginning without any formal agenda, beyond the overall purpose or theme.
The approach is most distinctive for its initial lack of an agenda, which sets the stage for the meeting's participants to create the agenda for themselves.
It has been used a lot to organize wiki events such as Recent Changes Camps .

The OurCollnnectiveMinds installation consists of a giant cube, made of bamboo pieces, allowing participants to hang concepts on hanging pieces. It supports Participation, Editability, Linking, Discussion, Tracing.

It is aimed at adresseing these different questions:

1. How do game-­concept­-discussions embody the collaborative spirit and illustrate abductive methods of reasoning? We want to understand, compare, play and extend the “Wikiway” and its inherent principles to other devices.

2. What is distributed cognition and how is it expressed at wikis, wiki­like activities? Our hypothesis is that there are different ways of presenting this extended way of thinking. Some devices and discourses would represent a silently consensual practice (reinforcing the determination of the structures or of those who would talk a lot) whereas some others do the contrary, pushing forward argumentative thinking and a critical mind (including justification, explanation and negotiation).

3. What do cognitive tools do to cognitive processes ? What is the difference between process and product?

4. And a very self-reflective question, on the ability to use the “WikiWay” to question itself. Or, even, the necessity of doing so. Wikis carry a culture, and a world of change, of daring, of mixing, of remixing, of volunteering, and so it is only natural to also change, dare, mix, remix, volunteer. So, how can this type of ‘experiment’ be considered research within new formats (format/content)?