ENTROPIA: The tree of life of communication and of knowledge
This very impressive artistic exhibit sought to represent a tree of knowledge bearing images and texts attached to it . The choice of a tree is explained by its symbolism: it exists in all cultures and represents life and communication which is a basic component of life in society or in any group. Its roots reaches deep into the earth. Just as Information & Communication Sciences (ICS) in France is an interdiscipline that draws from several disciplines, the tree trunk represents the common heritage of this interdiscipline while its branches represents the subfields of the ICS (communication, media studies, journalism, information studies, documentation and library science, cultural studies, etc). The branches with their coloured autumnal leaves represent knowledge alreay accumulated by our predecessors. To engage the participation of visitors, each visitor was asked to choose a balloon from a bag. Each ballon contained a piece of paper with a quote or an image on it (see image gallery below). Visitors were then required to pierce the balloon, take out the piece of paper and determine where the image or the quotation might fit on the tree and then stick it there. The tree is thus gradually populated and enriched with knowledge elaborated recursively, each new visitor being inspired by the images and verbal quotes already on the tree placed there by preceding visitors. Through this artistic design, the students sought to illustrate the importance of Norbert Wiener's cybernetic theory in our human interactions: our decisions and knowledge are often guided by those of our predecessors, thus through feedback that we receive from our environment. Overall, this project illustrated Shannon's information entropy, Wiener's feedback and the Palo Alto's interpersonal communication theory which emphasizes the global nature of communication and its links with Wiener's cybernetics. This is explained in this short video by the students who prepared this exhibit (in French, bien sûr!).
The photo gallery below show pictures of some of the other arts projects designed by the students in this 2018 winter course.