Make your network mystically attractive like the Cube of Murten

September 26, 2012 | bit-wartung | Learning Elsewhere, SDC Experiences |


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Ernst BolligerThe SDC’s Learning and Networking section could inspire itself from the monolith set in the lake of Murten during Expo’02. Ernst Bolliger from AGRIDEA extracts the symbolic weight of this landart installation and further reflects it on the values and work of networks.   

By Ernst Bolliger

In the warming up sequence of a mid term review workshop
I happened to choose a photo of the Cube of Murten. In the summer season 2002, this rusty steel cube with a dimension of 34m x 34m x 34m was swimming in the lake of Murten (Switzerland) as a part of the Expo’02, the Swiss national exhibition, accessible only by boat. Its designer, Jean Nouvel, a Parisian architect, wanted visitors to get associations and feelings of amazement: “What might be inside? Is this cube full or void?”

Do you remember what was inside the Cube of Murten? You do? Or not?

iron cube murten

In the Expo’02, each of the four “Arteplages” (part of the Swiss national exhibition in 2002) had its theme. In Murten it was “Moment and Eternity” (“Augenblick und Ewigkeit”). Inside the cube three panoramas of Switzerland have been presented. The first floor offered the “Panorama Switzerland Version 2.1″, a multimedia installation with instant shootings from all over Switzerland – animals, landscapes, skyscrapers, playing children – all mixed without a predominant concept. On the second floor the visitors could discover the panorama number 2: A 50cm high trench of the cube opened the view to the surroundings of the cube: The year 2002’s landscape of Murten. On the third floor finally, the same panorama, half a millennium ago, the battle of Murten, the victory of the Swiss against the King of Burgundy … a memorial about the horror of war.

“Impressing, wunderful, amazing”, were reactions of many visitors. Others asked themselves: “Is Switzerland about to rust?” or “Does the cube want to show that nothing is lasting eternally?” or “Should we care more about our values and not let them rust too fast?” One of my lessons after having visited that famous cube has been: “There is not only one Swiss reality – there are many – in space and in time.” The visit at the cube has been an inspiring invitation to re-discover Switzerland.

Back to the Workshop Room

SDC’s Learning and Networking Section (part of Knowledge and Learning Division) and its task to support thematic networks … Why did I (unconsciously) choose this picture? What does this picture have in common with this mid-term review? I remembered many colleagues working at SDC giving remarks such as “What do these L&N people do in their corner?” … “What is their contribution good for?” Suddenly I knew why I had chosen this photo: “L&V team, invite other people to come inside, to discover what is inside, to discover what you do!” And – thinking of the time after the Expo’02 – do not stay within your box, dismantle it and go outside, distribute the content and the steel of your cube to others, let them imitate, start doing their own activities. Reflecting the role of L&N team I recalled a lot of similar comments made by other colleagues at SDC about SDC’s thematic networks: “I do not really know what they are doing!” And I felt a rather urgent need to have a closer look at this situation in the review meeting, for the sake of L&N team as well as for many (all?) thematic networks.

Ten years after the Expo’02 I visited another exhibition in the area of Murten and discovered the “Kaleidoscope” – a glass cube of far smaller dimensions, all transparent. It was funny to be inside at daytime. I started singing, experimenting with my voice, discovering superb echoes. Some hours later, at night – being again inside this glass box – the glass was reflecting lights from back and front, from left and right, from above and below – I could discover connections I did not during daytime … and combine them with other vocal experiments.

Three things I learned out of my “Cube Experiences” near Murten:

1. Learning through interaction: It is nice to have a cube full of wealthy things to share with others. But it is essential to get into interaction with others: Invite others to come to see! Go and visit others to show what you have. And start experimenting together.           

2. One visit is not enough: In my professional life, I have to go back several times, re-visit a “cube” to fully discover, what I can learn. Every more visit brings more discoveries, more insights, deeper contacts, more learning.

3. Make it mystically attractive: It is not enough to have interesting and important knowledge – it must be mystically attractive for others. For me the cube of Murten is a perfect metaphor: Make your network mystically attractive!


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