Copyright 2021 © The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
‘Play is not an act of diversion, but the work of working a system […] Fun is not the effect of enjoyment released by a system, but a nickname for the feeling of operating […] it in a new way’.
Ian Bogost, Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games, 2016.
2020 will be remembered as a year of great uncertainty and challenges, only overcome through collective and unconventional (inter)action. Physical distancing and the use of online communication tools have stripped interactions of messy, visceral, nuanced, and unpredictable aspects, removing the potential for play and serendipity. A response to such challenges, The Playground creates a hybrid world, physical and digital, playful and serious, critical and affirmative, where seemingly arbitrary constraints form a framework for experimentation. The designers’ shared identity ‘The Monads’ integrates their collaboration into performances, music, poetry, and a coproduced costume.
The Playground invites players to embark on a journey that re-evaluates social interaction and notions of shared space. It questions what it means to be together when not physically close. Over time and collectively, users construct a shared environment through messy, unpredictable interaction. This is no diversion, but a profound act of fun operating to engender change.