Tako, Nagi

Nagi Tako

Nagi Tako responds to the question: What is the relationship between personal experience and knowledge?

Object 1: B Clarinet and Soprano Recorder

These instruments are what I used to play in my junior high/primary schools. Both B♭ clarinets and soprano recorders are common instruments within the clarinet and recorder category. However, for most people who are not exposed to these instruments, clarinet is something that they may struggle to distinguish from recorders even though these two are completely different instruments. Furthermore, it is an example that exhibits how much our experience can answer questions from our own knowledge.

These two objects can enrich the exhibition as they prove the fact that people recognise and distinguish objects based on their knowledge coming from experience. Although everything, from its number of keys to its structure of making sound, is different, its difference can only be recognized by people who have a deeper experience. From my experience, I have noticed that some clarinet players, especially in Japan where we use recorders for primary school music education, would not be happy for clarinets being categorized as same as the recorders. The clarinet players have pride in their instrument, and for them, the clarinet is a unique and difficult instrument to play, just as trumpets are so for trumpets players.

These are interesting for this exhibition also because they examine the existence of questions, which stems from the knowledge gained through experience, but cannot be answered by further experience or knowledge. For example, the clarinet and recorder shown in the above image are both made of plastic to save prices, whereas the originals are both wooden. This brings up the question of whether these plastic instruments are real or not, but this doubt which only comes to people who recognize the authentic form of these instruments is difficult to answer even after having further experiences or knowledge, compared to questions asking how to make a certain sound. Although the experience of playing these instruments has given me practical knowledge, the question led by this knowledge cannot be answered by experience.

Object 2: 3DCG application Blender and an image of two glasses created by me using Blender

Blender is an open-sourced free application used for various creative purposes, such as 3DCG creation, video editing and 2D animation creation. However, its existence is very much unknown, even though it should be reachable for any people. People who have experience using this app will have a strong base of knowledge that allows them to draw a clear border between 3DCG and reality, which should be essential for the virtual future.

One reason this digital object can contribute to the exhibition is that it shows people’s knowledge is based on their experience depending on their interests, and that knowledge and experience are in a cycle. Even though Blender is a free application, it is only known to people who have stepped into this field and search about it, which is very much limited. In fact, my encounter with this app was also when I was a beginner searching for a 3DCG application. This means, depending on individual’s personal experience, the area of knowledge differs. You can also see how personal interest provides knowledge, in this case through the whole process of learning about the application, gaining experience by using the application, and obtain even further knowledge by the experience.

Another reason is that it shows experience can cause unconscious changes in recognition other than technical or academic knowledge. Including Blender, knowledge built up in the digital field will be remarkably valuable in the future world. However, this development can blur the border between reality and virtuality. For example, immersive vertical reality has more risk of addiction than conventional flat gaming, because of its pleasure that players feel invincible as if they are game characters. In contrary, as shown in the image, Blender enables creating such realistic images, providing not only the technical knowledge, but also structuring a fixed premise that technology is man-made and allows creator’s interest to focus on the insider structure, regardless of its appearance. This is not consciously built by the creator, but it is something unconscious that comes before the knowledge.

Object 3: Graphing Calculator

This is my graphing calculator which I bought through school when I was grade 10.  All students are requested to purchase this calculator mainly for their future math study, and it has various functions that are compatible with most calculations. However, it could be controversial as it can be used even for calculations that students are taught to find answers through hand-calculation methods.

This object can contribute to this exhibition, as it shows what different experiences affect your skills. Graphing calculators are usually considered as a tool to simplify the procedure, assuming students are understanding the procedure. However, practically, students cover areas where calculator usage is on the premise. If a calculator is accepted in mathematics as a process, not as a catalyst, this means education programmes without calculator calculations are providing unequal educational setting to students in the same age group. The difference in academic knowledge could create some disadvantages for those unprivileged to adapt in the future.

Another reason why this object can enrich the exhibition is that it proves how knowledge and experience are different, based on an example of regional characteristics. Where UK schools prioritize the ability to reach the answer, Japan or many eastern Asian countries expect them to show the whole process without calculators. In fact, some equations that I learnt in Japan are not taught in the UK, as those can be easily done on the calculator. This demonstrates how knowledge differs from experiences. UK students and Japanese students both “know” how to solve an equation, but as their experience differs, their practical ability to solve an equation will be different. This object can contribute to this exhibition, as it shows what different experiences affect your skills and knowledge.