“It is easier to imagine the end of the world than an end to capitalism."
Imagination is not information, neither is it equal to the consumption of fantasy in the form of entertainment. Imagination lies at the core of our perception of reality, and is perhaps one of our mental faculties most difficult to explain, along with the mystery of consciousness itself.
Memory and imagination are closely linked. With all information accessible at any time, we are changing the very neural structure of our minds. As a result, our knowledge of the world may be comprehensive, yet often shallow. Our ability for deep understanding requires an essential element of imagination, which may be a threatened faculty these days. The journalist Jason Louve has likened what he calls the desertification of imagina-tion to the disaster of real life deforestation.
Before the invention of printing, books were incredibly expensive, rare and heavy. To be able to appropriate knowledge, intellectuals would practice the now forgotten Art of Memory. In carefully visualized sequences of inner halls, called Memory Palaces, they would create images representing the information of the book. To recall the information they would mentally walk through the rooms and reconstruct the coded information easily and with high precision.
The ability to internalize a great array of advanced and perhaps contrasting ideas, showed to be a fertile ground for the imagination, as can be explored in the artistic heritage of the renaissance when use of the technique was at its peak.
Our present day workstations can be likened to the memory palaces of the past, potentially superfueled by incredible technical tools and splendid interior design. At Elementa we are convinced it may be tremendously fruitful to give as much effort to exploring the subtler dimensions of our inner imaginative space as we do to the design of our tactile and digital dimensions in office design.
What would a workspace that that actually catered for our imagination look like?