Estimated start date: Nov 15.
Week 1-3: Research Phase 1 - research pre-modern thinking interfaces and knowledge organization paradigms.
Week 4-6: Research Phase 2 - research thinking interfaces from the 20th century onward.
Week 7-8: Analysis & Synthesis - extract principles and outline "design guidelines" for thinking interfaces.
Week 9-12: Writing & Review - write essay / whitepaper on thinking interfaces, their evolving history and importance, and Are.na's place in that history.
Essay / whitepaper — publication platform to be determined in collaboration with Are.na team.
Today, our main computing metaphor is paper. Documents, files, and folders structure the digital spaces in which we live and think. But people don't think in isolated documents; they think in ideas with fluid boundaries that interweave and connect, containing and producing knowledge.
I believe Are.na can be thought of as an early prototype for an entirely new file system paradigm, enabling new ways to work with ideas and produce knowledge. In order to understand and develop this further, I propose to research the interfaces and tools that thinkers in the past have created to map knowledge and think new thoughts. What DNA does Are.na share with these efforts?
In artifacts like Ramon Llull’s ars combinatoria, early encyclopedia, Quilian and Collins’ mind-maps, and recent efforts like Ted Nelson’s Xanadu Project, I hope to find hints that can guide us towards an infrastructure for thinking.