This article was written by THNK's Director of Education and Research Johan Hoorn.
As THNK’s Director of Education and Research, I am very happy to have helped lay the foundations of this school, hoping it will provide to others what I could only achieve the hard way: being your complete self while trying to help others by offering all of the creativity that is within you.
My first big dilemma in life was related to whether I would go to art school or to university. My style of painting and drawing at that time was figurative and not at all en vogue in the mid-eighties. Additionally, the way in which artists were speaking about art was quite confusing to me. This lack of being able to follow their thinking made me decide to go to university, assuming this would mature my mind. I went off to study Modern Literature, while taking extra courses in the philosophy of science, logics and formal semantics hoping to teach my associative and quirky brain some thinking discipline.
From here on out, a series of seeming detours characterized my academic life. I got into psychology and learned how to do brain measurement. A PhD track followed, focusing on psycho-physiological responses to reading literary metaphors. When I—inevitably—became frustrated about the fact that psychological theory still assumes many implicit parameters, mechanisms and variables, I became interested in computing to try to counter this. This allowed me to come into contact with people from computer science, working in the field of software engineering and interaction design.
Wanting to complete the picture of creative content, empirical verification, and logical consistency, I eventually wrote a second Ph.D. thesis on the design and redesign of large information systems. A lot of the related research was done within the corporate world, which allowed me to become acquainted with quite a number of businesses. The engineering part of this new work brought me back to my old love for the arts because these people called themselves designers and had great taste for look and feel, aesthetics, creativity, 3D multimedia, and virtual reality.