Battlefields in the Playground. A group exhibition exploring the interest of artists in several aspects of the creativity of play, from children's inventiveness and adventure to artists who use new media to explore the area of computer games. While play has developed into a sophisticated means of simulating war it has also become a method of peaceful protest against war and other injustices.
Battlefields in the Playground
Curated by Jonathan Carroll
Yael Bartana (IL), Ralph Borland (ZA/IE), Joost Conijn (NL) Gintaras Makarevicius (LT) and Axel Stockburger (DE)
Imagine the folly of allowing people to play elaborate games which do nothing whatever to increase consumption. It's madness. Nowadays the Controllers won't approve of any new game unless it can be shown that it requires at least as much apparatus as the most complicated of existing games. Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, 1932.
Play Safe is a group exhibition exploring the interest of artists in several aspects of the creativity of play, from children's inventiveness and adventure to artists who use new media to explore the area of computer games. While play has developed into a sophisticated means of simulating war it has also become a method of peaceful protest against war and other injustices. In an increasingly regulated society, play is one of the few remaining arenas where scenarios can be tested without risk of censure. Play Safe encompasses play from the innocent play-acting of children to adults who return to a form of play as a political tool.
Notes on the participating artists in Play Safe Israeli artist Yael Bartana's Wild Seeds (2005) is a two channel video and sound installation of teenagers (Israeli left activists) playing a game they call 'The Evacuation of Gilad's Colony'. The video was filmed in the Occupied Territories and is based on a real and violent confrontation between the Israeli army and Jewish settlers. Bartana's work is finely balanced between the political and the playful.
Irish based South African artist Ralph Borland will display and demonstrate Suited for Subversion (2002) a protective suit which projects the wearer's heartbeat from an inbuilt speaker. The suit draws on the protective-wear worn by activists at large-scale street demonstrations around the world.
Dutch artist Joost Conijn's video installation Siddieqa, Firdaus, Abdallah, Soelayman, Moestafa, Hawwa and Dzoel- Kif (2004) features a group of seven Dutch children living in a squatted site near Amsterdam. The protagonists in Conijn's video are seemingly abandoned in the world. The carefree joyful children appear to be shipwrecked in a 21st century urban environment where they do as they please- playing, exploring, eating and sleeping without adult supervision.
The children in Lithuanian artist Gintaras Makarevicius' Vaskichi devise their own logical rules governing war games played in the backyards of their homes in Vilnius, complete with wooden guns of various imagined calibres. Makarevicius' documentary film starts with a children's game for choosing opposing teams. There is a sense of nostalgia for the simplicity of means the boys use to act out ever-present acts of war.
German artist and theorist Axel Stockburger interviews teenage computer gamers in a video entitled Boys in the Hood (2005) where they explain in vivid detail the experience of playing. These normally quiet teens react with lucidity when discussing the virtues and norms of the online world.
Play Safe is also supported by the Mondriaan Foundation and Goethe- Institut Dublin.
Opening 26th July 6pm
Project Arts Centre
39 East Essex Street - Dublin