Ludic Method Soirée – Simon Huber

A Playbook of Knowledge Visualization
The Orbis sensualium pictus, written by Jan Amos Comenius and printed 1658 in Nürnberg, is a curious object. In this ludic lecture, we’re talking about a tiny, illustrated encyclopedia that shares a whole world vision in 150 short chapters each referring to a simple woodcut.

For readers today it’s not only an intriguing glimpse into life of the Europeans of the early modernity.

A closer look reveals that in its layout the rules of reading are re-designed. This way books become a ‚graphical user interface‘ to the „wisdom“ to be transmitted. Knowledge is no longer text to be read and memorized. Rather it is situated within a world as a virtual learning environment. It can be navigated only by playfully flipping pages. While managing knowledge with this simple operation the Orbis pictus aims at a new target group: children, who were no humans yet as they are lacking the capability of reading and learned reasoning. Therefore it sets a new standard, that is still at work today — not only in explicitly didactical school contexts, where Comenius laid famously ground for. This rigid principle of clear and vivid visualization of knowledge is ubiquitous in our recent ludic culture, and therefore can be traced forth to any game that lets its players acquire knowledge within an emerging story world.