Architectures of Play: The Will to Act

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Playful Environments

Presentation Title:

  • Architectures of Play: The Will to Act

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Abstract:

  • Can architectures of play disrupt our behavioural patterns and produce new forms of social interaction in urban space? How can play help us transform our often quasi automatic quotidian actions (Bourdieu)? Can responsive environments produce new bodily movements or challenge the established ones (Mauss) ? From the hidden group events in grottos, follies and labyrinths of Italian and French gardens to open activities of Fun Palace project, architects understood the spaces of play as opportunities for exploration of phenomenological and social experiences. The uncertainty of play allows us to probe new behaviours, to poke the boundaries of subjectivity and to engage into new becomings together with people, things and systems participating in play. This opportunity to reinvent the world through play has been the source of various artistic, architectural and theatrical projects. Through analysis of the latter this essay explores how the design of material context (intangible and tangible one) and responsive technologies embedded in architecture may foster playful activities in public spaces, particularly those forms of play which enable us to critically embrace and transform our everyday life. Paper will discuss how theoretical ideas and practical proposals of artists and architects such as R. Schechner, C. Price and J. Littlewood (Fun Palace) provide foundation for creation of contemporary responsive playgrounds.

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