THE MAZE OF KNOWLEDGE 2015, Jan Raes, MAT, Joint Research Centre

30 x 30 x 20 cm: wood, glass, print, MDF

In human history things get lost and we are left with memories of things that (might) have existed.

If we are lucky it is more than a memory: it is a description, a drawing, a photograph, a copy, a model of (what might have been) the real thing.

Among those lost things is “The Maze of Knowledge”, also referred to as “The Maze”. It is (was?) a work created for an exhibition in Milan (*). According to some photographs in the catalogue of that exhibition “The Maze” must have been a cube of 4 or 5 m, with inside a labyrinth that brings the visitor past a quasi-infinite amount of scientific data.

The catalogue describes “The Maze “ as follows: “the Joint Research Centre continuously creates posters to present the results of its scientific work to policy makers and the general public. Here hundreds of these posters have been put together in a maze, to reflect the difficulty in making sense of all that newly acquired information. The maze further reflects the fact that information is not “open” enough, not readily available to those who might need it.”

According to some testimonies, “The Maze” was produced in Belgium. It came to Milano in one truck, was loaded into another truck after the exhibition, and disappeared. Rumors have it that the “The Maze” was considered too embarrassing for the Joint Research Centre.  

The catalogue also refers to the following quote: “If we succeed in creating a truly open environment for research and innovation, we will fulfil our obligations to catalyze the new Renaissance and improve our species’ chances of survival. If we do not, if we fragment into competing disciplines, industries, nations and regions, we will miss our historic responsibility to Europe and the World.” (European Commission)

(*) The exhibition was the first in a series called “RESONANCES” in which the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission tried to communicate about an important issue (FOOD in this case) by mixing the languages of science, art and politics. RESONANCES I took place in Milan (IT) 13-14 October 2015. So far it was followed by further editions in 2017 and 2019.