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Berliner Festspiele | Radical Playgrounds: From Competition To Collaboration

Kunstparcours At Gropius Bau Opened In The Presence Of Minister Of State Claudia Roth. It challenges rules and discovers new playing fields.

The parcours Radical Playgrounds: From Competition to Collaboration, curated by Joanna Warsza and Benjamin Foerster-Baldenius, opened in the presence of Minister of State Claudia Roth. International artists are transforming the space beside the Gropius Bau into an artistic fun fair where visitors can train for eleven weeks to challenge rules and play freely with each other.

From April 27 to July 14, 2024, the Berliner Festspiele project will focus on the socially educational dimension of play and will combine a labyrinth of large-scale artworks, performances, workshops, talks and an exhibition on the history of playgrounds prior to and during this year's European Men's Football Championship. Opening hours are Wednesday to Sunday from 11:00 to 20:00 h.

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Claudia Roth, Minister of State for Culture and the Media and Chair of the Supervisory Board of the EURO 2024 Football & Culture Foundation: “Football can be a means of cultural exchange and understanding – we want to make this energy, which is inherent in the sport, particularly tangible this summer at the European Championships. With the cultural programme, we want to bring football and culture together and encourage participation and dialogue. Radical Playgrounds is an important part of this accompanying programme. It is about playful and experimental exploration of community, accessibility in public spaces, minimizing barriers and, most importantly, communication. The extraordinary art project 'Radical Playgrounds' creates open playing fields where new forms of community can be tried out in a very informal way.”

Matthias Pees, Artistic Director of Berliner Festspiele, and Jenny Schlenzka, Director of the Gropius Bau: “With their 'Radical Playgrounds' project directly in front of the Gropius Bau, Berliner Festspiele are demonstrating their shared focus on performative and interdisciplinary formats. We are creating a public space for everyone that activates the senses and encourages exchange. In addition to the opportunity to discover art in a playful way, 'Radical Playgrounds' critically examines the commercialization of top-class sport and seeks creative and artistically inspired alternatives. For the Gropius Bau, this is a wonderful start to the new program, which focuses on the theme of play: In the fall, a permanent play venue designed by artist Kerstin Brätsch will open at the Gropius Bau. We are looking forward to turning old rules upside down for eleven weeks with 'Radical Playgrounds' .”

Curators Joanna Warsza and Benjamin Foerster-Baldenius (raumlaborberlin): “We see 'Radical Playgrounds' as an invitation to redefine more spaces in the city as play spaces by crossing existing boundaries, ignoring traditions and challenging rules. Visitors should experience a free space of collective learning and unlearning that is open to the exploration of a variety of activities in a radically non-competitive environment. On every swing, above every ramp and under every carousel exists a world of engagement and values that the artists represent.”

17 international artistic positions for a play in which everyone can win

Yet most of us probably remember instances, perhaps as a child, of not being part of a game. The artist Céline Condorelli has had a long-standing involvement with the topics of play, work, leisure, and exclusion. In her large public art installation “Play for Today”, she asks why human beings always invent reasons as to why others cannot play. As visitors walk into the installation by Agnieszka Kurant, they encounter a map of various game-related objects, such as domino pieces, a jump rope, or a ball, as a tribute to collective intelligence, which knows no other author than the whole of humanity.

The Playground Project is an open-air exhibition as well as a research project initiated by urban planner Gabriela Burkhalter. The projectexplores the playground as a place where histories are negotiated, as well as the tension between rules and freedom, the familiar and the unknown, boundaries and transgressions, the present and the future.

At the invitation of Edgar Calel, we can build and rebuild an incomplete Mayan pyramid, whose parts were taken away to European museums, including those in Berlin. Inside the secret garden lies a sandbox-cum-excavation site by The School of Mutants, which refers to the very basic act of digging, linking it with the colonial history buried underground. It is here where the first Ethnological Museum of Berlin once stood.

On the sky walk outside, visitors come across a mural by Irad Verkron, presenting a fusion of a mathematical drawing and a story involving the search for a lost childhood playmate. Nearby, visitors can use a swing designed by the Sámi architect Joar Nango for a playground in Jokkmokk, or enter a dysfunctional carousel by Mariana Telleria, which embodies the impossibility of going back to one’s childhood. Florentina Holzinger presents her first skate ramp, carried by two cards, invites visitors to skate, slide, climb or run.

Ingela Ihrman offers the audience wearable costumes to play “Love Me Love Me Not”; Tomás Saraceno makes us shake on a playground that offers a tangible experience of how spiders and planets vibrate. In the vicinity, visitors find a city oasis called “The Fountain of Knowledge” by Raul Walch and self-powered bikes by the late artist Martin Kaltwasser. Meandering around the space is a long, fabric-based labyrinth by Vitjitua Ndjiharine, which brings the past and the present, the serious and the funny, the high and the low together.

Navigating between game and play, on 7 and 8 July a two-person reenactment of the football match between East Germany and West Germany from 1974 is performed by Massimo Furlan (as Sepp Maier), together with the footballer-activist Tanja Walther-Ahrens (as Jürgen Sparwasser). Its setting is at Niederkirchnerstraße, where the Berlin Wall once stood. The piece uses movement, muscle memory and the original radio commentary to navigate a shifting terrain, both in terms of current asymmetries as well as femininity, queerness and “weakness” in football.

“Radical Playgrounds” will gradually grow through a series of open workshops, additions, talks, walk-throughs and Dance Gatherings by Alice Chauchat in the eleven weeks that follow. Together with architects, artists, playworkers, thinkers, neighbours and visitors, the Gropius Bau parking lot transforms into a multidirectional public space of encounters, including a summer garden at the Beba restaurant, and a closing event with a stand-up comedy on the healing power of humour and play in July.

­Radical Playgrounds: From Competition to Collaboration
Ein Kunstparcours am Gropius Bau

Curated by Joanna Warsza and Benjamin Foerster-Baldenius
Architecture: raumlaborberlin

With Edgar Calel, Alice Chauchat, Céline Condorelli, Massimo Furlan, Florentina Holzinger, Ingela Ihrman, Martin Kaltwasser, Agnieszka Kurant, Joar Nango, Vitjitua Ndjiharine, The Playground Project, Tomás Saraceno, Mariana Telleria, The School of Mutants, Irad Verkron, Raul Walch

“Radical Playgrounds” is a project commissioned by Berliner Festspiele, funded by the EURO 2024 Football & Culture Foundation, and the German Federal Government on the basis of a resolution passed by the German Bundestag with funding from the Capital Cultural Fund (HKF). The outreach programme is funded by the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (bpb).

27 April – 14 July 2024
Opening hours: Wed – Sun 11:00 to 20:00
Address: Parkfläche am Gropius Bau, Niederkirchnerstraße 7, 10963 Berlin

Free admission
Registration for workshops and performances required:

Organizer: Berliner Festspiele

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