Title: What is Knowledge?

Features: Hip Hop Huis, Rotterdam

Medium: Educational Game

Year: 2020

Collaboration: Anniek Tromper, Divyangi Shukla, Pontus Hoglund, Viyanti Sewdajal

Bodies in Spaces exhibition at Hip Hop Huis Rotterdam

Bodies in Spaces exhibition at Hip Hop Huis Rotterdam

What is Knowledge?

What is knowledge and who is deemed knowledgeable? These are the core questions this game examines.

In our experience, knowledge is often a result of struggle: a setback in life leading to a moment of reflection. Contrary to this, is the notion of comfort: a life of ease that is rarely called into question; a breeding ground for ignorance and intolerance.

Within the ‘safe space’ of play, we try to imitate these dynamics and how they appear within the real world: those affected and suffering most from hardships are rarely in the position to truly control their situation, but rather in the hands of others.

This contradiction is what defines our game and is conveyed through the gameplay of Moksha Patam, commonly known in the west as Snakes and Ladders. Players who experience getting bitten by a ‘snake’, our metaphor for pain and hardship, slow down but, gain more insights than others. However, these insights are not deemed as valuable since these players are most likely not winning the game. On the contrary, players who experience a faster playthrough by climbing ‘ladders’, our metaphor for shortcuts and comfort in life, will most likely reach the end of the course first. This forces the game to end for everyone.

To conclude, we aim to provoke a discussion about knowledge and learning. To question ‘What is knowledge and how is it valued?’ as well as ‘Who is the actual winner?’: Is it the player with the most experience of the game, or the one finishing the game first? We leave that for the players to decide.