Hyperenvironment

The hyperenvironment is a research project in progress at the Arts & Design Institute of the Federal University of Juiz de Fora, which proposes a hypertextual way of using any physical space in order to simultaneously promote fun, creativity and learning. It’s poetically designed to be one of the hypersupports of the Incorporeal Project. The research also intendeds to establish methodological premisses for educational applications in workshops and disciplines.
The occupation of this space – which can be a classroom, an exhibition room, a laboratory, a library and so on – begins with an installation, initiated by the facilitators, that presents the theme of the narrative. Each participant receives an Incorporeal Kit with a printed book, a DVD with digital files and the login to the moodle website which gives online support to the activity. Then they experience an interactive story in table top RPG format (role-playing game). During the activity and in-between sessions, the participants must present a creative production based on what they have experienced in the story. This production is not to be only about what they´ve experienced, but a creation from what they experienced! It must go beyond merely illustrating it and it can be presented in any language (verbal, visual, musical etc) and material (printed, online, solid etc).
The participants will insert their production in the installation, in the format of a collective and narrative Merzbau (a cumulative installation of everyday objects, by Kurt Schwitters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cF2Qb4bNm0&feature=player_embedded). Hence the “hyper” of the environment: a space that becomes immersive and hypertextual, mainly through the act of organizing each inserted material as a link that can open to something beyond, expanding that space. The project then follows our research lines of TIN (Techniques for Interactive Narratives) to use interactive stories for learning purposes and of Poetic Design in which the configuration of artifacts leads to a reconfiguration of the subject. In accordance with the principles of flexible learning, the pedagogy of autonomy by Paulo Freire, the mimetic process postulated by Paul Ricoeur and Roland Barthes semiology.
Being flexible and interchangeable, the hyperenvironment becomes impermanent, although its virtual permanence persists since it becomes part of the Incorporeal Kit. The same material is also inserted in the hyperbooks and the digital supports of the kit, becoming part of it. Therefore, the kits that the next participants will receive will not be the same as the original ones, since they will have incorporated the production of the previous participants. This state of open work in constant evolution of the Incorporeal Project can be followed by all participants in the moodle website, the virtual environment created for this purpose.
We believe that the capacity to articulate different information in critical and creative ways to build significant knowledge is a fundamental one to face the challenges of our world nowadays. To achieve this, one must acquire the competence of working with analogical and digital thinking to be able to have an ample and systemic view of reality, facilitating cooperative work and more effective measures. The traditional school environment has been finding it difficult to generate such competence in its students and needs to be rethought in its physical, social and cultural aspects.
The first experiment focus was on Muiraquitã: the Survival of the Legends setting and it aimed to develop an hyperenvironment for it during a concept art workshop with the undergraduate students. At the same time, we tested the TIN and Poetic Design steps of this workshop to achieve the most productive sequence for didatic purposes.

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