INSTANT [play]GROUND is a portable pedestrian-scale gameboard which fits in a suitcase and activates alleys and other neglected sites.
“Changing what is real, events that disturb the “socio-urban and architectonic myths and rites”, all aim to create a temporary crisis in the structure of use and fruition of the city and its’ architecture, altering its responses to those of the expectations of its users, interrupting the system of anticipation of user, who is blocked by stereotyped rules. ( Orlandoni, Vallino 77)
Urban games are strategies for place-making. INSTANT [ play]GROUND is a portable GAME to activate forgotten sites. By subverting pre-established urban functions, the users /players open up to new scenarios where the normative use of public space is transformed in a (play)scape in flux. The “ act of playing “ constructs a dynamic, active scenario in continuous fluctuation where users, aware of the rules, are actors in the production of a temporary community. I [p]G is an instant prototypical tool for place-making where citizens are active participants and actors in the “game field”. I [p]G is a portable urban catalyst to instigate relationships between the individual action of the players and the interim collective space.
I [p]G is a portable instant game that can fit in a suitcase and travel to different sites. The project will be located in vehicular corridor areas , “ alleys “ of different scale between buildings that usually are not completely pedestrians. I [p]G will travel to four sites during day 1 and day 2 to become an instant game board to engage the players and the public audience at the same time. The game is installed on site in max. one hour, users start playing and after several games, I [p]G is placed back into the suitcase and travel to another site. The area is instantly transformed into a play zone.
The project incorporates three layers: the (play)GROUND ( constructed and existing urban floor), a GAME BOARD ( rule set ), and micro-CANOPY ( interim and instant). I [p]G is spatially developed through a FIELD (ground) and a set of RULES that combined generate a COORDINATE SYSTEM within which the players locate themselves.
1. (play)GROUND : The existing urban floor is augmented or modified by zones of added floor tiles. The two will be part of a single-continuum horizontal ground system. This layer is the physical infrastructure in which the other two layers are plugged-in. It consists in thirty consecutively numbered tiles arranged in a “path” with a starting and ending point.
2. GAME BOARD: The game board is a system of rules which gives instructions to the players’ performances and interaction. The game board is inscribed onto the (play)ground and each tile has one specific instruction to activate the players.
3. micro-CANOPY: The instant micro-canopy is deployed and activated when the players begin to play. It is embedded onto the (play)ground through a plug-in telescopic pole and it opens up as an umbrella. As the game unfolds , according to their advancement in the game, players open up the pop-up canopy by constructing a space in continuous flux.
Two teams of max four people can play at the same time. Upon entering the (play)ground, people will receive instructions on how to play the game. To begin the game, the first team throws a dice and moves to the numbered tile according to the throw. In each tile, the team has to perform a specific ACTION ( as instant public performance ) in front of the audience. Each action type ( recite, sing, mime, dance, …) is an instruction inscribed on the tile. If the action is performed and if the team has reached the goal, can open the micro-canopy as an indication of the “ conquered “ territory. If the action is not performed, the team has to move backwards. The game continues by alternating the throw of the dice and advancing toward the end. The first team that reaches the end is the winner.
The game sets up a system of relations between the players and the audience. The narration of the game and the competition between the two teams, allows to instantly create multiple micro-STAGES within the game field. As response, the micro-canopy is activated and at the end of each game, the interim canopy is spatially configured. Every time that the game is played, the canopy is configured differently. When the game is not “on”, people can seat and relax on the play( ground).
Each game will be recorded by a stationary WI-FI station and instantly uploaded onto a website that will function as a live-feed index of the interim (play) communities. Each time the game is played, a different team, audience, actions and resulting space is mixed together; the recording of each game is the only trace that is left at the end of each sequence. The website is a permanent repository of the temporary (play)scape produced. When the game is over, the WI-FI station will stream live the games already played, giving to the audience a continuous streaming of the multiple spaces produced.
INSTANT [play]GROUND is a strategy to create through the “act of playing” a temporary community in flux during the Urban Prototyping Event. The portability of the project informs the potential of global replication and adaptability while being a model to test urban response.
Project by Anesta Iwan, Cesar Lopez, Mona El Khafif and Marcella Del Signore