Where has Professor Goffredo gone?

November 15, 2018
Maximus Nobes
7 min read

As the clock struck quarter past, all the students asked, “Where has Professor Goffredo gone?”

He’d never been late -  indeed he often lay in wait, so obviously this event carried some weight.

So the students sat in sadness, and most of them feared they would have no-one to teach them, as Goffredo had not appeared.

With this terrible thought the class grew deathly silent, for on Goffredo they had been reliant.

In the silence that followed, the student minds began to wander, as they had nothing to do but sit there deep in ponder.

But lo! They could only think of Wayfinding as they all found it so spellbinding, and so all of the students sat round sharing their thoughts...

A young lad named Martin, who had just left kindergarten, piped up that he knew where Goffredo had gone.

“The last time I saw Goffredo, whose word is law, he was outside the door which says it is no more.”

The other students turned and asked of him, “What do you mean?” And so Martin proceeded to set out the scene:

“There is a strange door, leading out of the Arts Centre. It is like any other you may have come across in your travels, since it has four sides, a handle, and works as a divide. But upon it sits a sad old mysterious sign, the origin of which is rather blurred, but likely sublime. For even though the door works like any door you might find, the sign informs all that it is not in fact a door. Instead it pushes back and denies its existence, as the sign upon it informs all that “this is not a door”. It actually reminds me of a piece of art by René Magritte” Martin began to whimsy “in particular his painting of a pipe, beneath which is written “This is not a pipe.” Make what you will of that one. Even though the door works as effectively and efficiently as one may ever wish, the sign in front of it poses a conundrum. Perhaps this door is for security? Or perhaps it is for air conditioning? In any case, why does that door exist, and why does it deny its existence?” Martin concluded: “I think that Goffredo is there now, standing outside of the door, trying to figure out if it does in fact yaw”

The students were all awed. “That must be where Goffredo is!” they exclaimed. But one at the back, Martin's explanation ignored.

A young girl named Gauri accused Martin of being inflammatory: “There’s no way Goffredo could be as confused as he is in your story!”

“The last time I saw Goffredo, whose word is law, he was acting berserk in front of the fire exit which does not work.”

The other students then turned and asked of her, “What do you mean?” And so Gauri proceeded to set out the scene:

“The fire exit is right next to our classroom, but it contains within it one fatal flaw. For when people run through it with a great force (not walking calmly as they are supposed to) they are pushed by it to the other side of the corridor, and in the process become trapped under the stairs on that side. This really is ridiculous, for it poses a serious risk to its users. The designers obviously didn’t follow a user-oriented framework” Gauri correctly noted “Had they simply changed the direction the door opened the users would simply be pushed further down the corridor, and not trapped under the stairs. Yet for some reason nothing has been done. I suppose Goffredo is there now attempting to fix the door himself.”

The students were all awed. “That must be where Goffredo is!” they exclaimed. But one at the back did the explanation ignored.

A young woman named Mina accused Gauri of playing to the arena: “There’s no way Goffredo could be standing there, dumb as a hyena!”

“The last time I saw Goffredo, whose word is law, he was circling the hallway, looking for lost students upon whom he could prey.”

The other students did turn, and asked, “What do you mean?” So Mina proceeded to set out the scene.

“The shape of the Arts Centre does not encourage easy navigation. Narrow corridors, with even narrower sight lines, mean that once users enter they find it hard to orientate themselves. From the outside, the building’s shape gives away nothing that would aid navigation; instead the inner corridors are impossible to visualise from the outside. As a consequence you are forced to walk aimlessly around until you reach your desired destination. Worse still, at a cursory glance all of the corridors look the same. There are also no large open spaces from which one can orientate oneself. Worst of all, there are few maps, and the few which are in the atrium only give clues as to what hides behind the different performance spaces, and aside from the few there, you are pretty much lost once you are in the corridors. I suppose that visitors to the university don’t necessarily need to walk around the different classrooms, and they only need colour vision to understand where the “Red Theatre” is located for example. If you are a student or a professor, however, good luck finding your classroom! Even with the offices upstairs, the numbered system is pretty hard to navigate, and not all of the offices are on a straight corridor - some of which are in odd places. I think our professor is simply wandering around trying to find the classroom.”

But then, lo and behold, just as the second hand approached 16, Professor Goffredo arrived onto the scene. He had a coffee in one hand, and they all knew where he’d been. So their class was to begin!

Then the students resumed learning all the Wayfinding knowledge for which they’d always been yearning.


Header image source: René Magritte's The Treachery of Images


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