PLAYGROUND(S) AS AN EVERYDAY CARNIVAL

Published on: June 14 / 2024

The playground is a microcosm of contemporary society, demonstrating its hopes and despair, its behavioral practices and the path it evolves.

The adventure playground is a kind of parable of anarchy, a free society in immature, with the same tensions and ever-changing harmonies, the same diversity and spontaneity, the same unforced growth of cooperation and release ofindividual qualities and communal sense, which lie dormant in a society whose dominant values are compe­ tition and acquisitiveness. But having discovered something like the ideal conditions for chil­ dren’s play – the self-selected evolution from demolition through discovery to creativity   why should we stop there? Do we really accept the paradox of a free and self-developing childhood followed by a lifetime of dreary and unfulfilling toil? Isn’t there a place for the adven­ ture playground or its equivalent in the adult world?’ 
The Child in the City
by Colin Ward

The origins of the project can be traced back to discussions in the Pedagogies of Care room led by Andris Brinkmanis — in particular, his meeting with the Contrafilé group. Based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Grupo Contrafilé is an art-politics-education production group that focuses on encounters with different people and communities—always from a cartographic perspective—whose  primary medium is the performatization and observation of urgency. 

This project is currently being developed in a hybrid format. Firstly, online, as a room at the Museum of Care: a resource which everyone can use and contribute to. The room features a collection of materials about playgrounds, both real and fictional. 

Secondly, offline, as part of the upcoming Discussion Circles program arranged by the David Graeber Institute in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The first event dedicated to the general introduction and planning will be held on June 22nd (Saturday), facilitated by the David Graeber Institute and supported by the SVG Community College. More details follow below in a separate paragraph.

ON THE PHENOMENON OF PLAYGROUNDS

The playground is a political space that mirrors social changes, showcasing our views on public welfare, education, and play.

Playgrounds vary widely: some depict space travel, while others advertise products to kids and their parents. Some designs encourage performance art, while others promote segregation between classes or even races. As government funding for public projects fluctuates, and as society becomes even more bureaucratized and securitized and less freer and safer, so too do the aesthetics and designs of our playgrounds evolve.

On June 22nd the David Graeber Institute is arranging a Discussion Circle which will have the phenomenon of playgrounds as its focus. 

JUNE 22nd
Discussion Circle/Workshop
Playground as an Everyday Carnival

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