Sunday, 4 July 2010

The NEXT PLAYWORKS workshop...

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

The last PLAYWORKS workshop...

Motley Stories_03_04_2010


Sunday, 28 March 2010

The next PLAYWORKS workshop...

Motley Stories_03_04_2010

Saturday, 13 March 2010

The Fantasy Atelier_13_03_2010

Workshop Introduction (in detail)

Playspaces & Playscapes

The aim of the introduction was to discuss and challenge traditional ideas about what a playspace or playscape could be, whilst encouraging children to think about real and imagined environments for play, how they could feel or what they could be made of. 

The aim of the workshop was to explore how play can be integrated into the fabric of the architecture through the medium of drawing and projecting, using the the existing environment of the ICA as a testbed.

The (powerpoint) introduction began with changing the name of the ICA to 'The Institute of PLAY/WORKS', as we were going to create a conceptual refurbishment of the existing building into a fantasy playscape for playing, discovering, pretending, climbing and relaxing, hiding, reading (the list goes on...)

We discussed a few examples of what a playspace could be, using examples showing inside/ outside, natural/ man made, preconceived and impromptu playspaces.

We asked the question 'what would you do in your playspace?' by discussing all the different things people were doing in this picture- climbing, staring, eating a scotch egg, doing make- up, chatting, jumping up and down on a see-saw... This was followed by asking the question 'what would you put in your playspace?'

We looked at Susan Hoffman Architects' interventions, at how they can have non-specific function, yet still encourage many different types of activity. They are look outs, dens, nooks, crawl spaces, hidey holes... When asked what the room in a house designed by AB Rogers (below) was, one child said it was a 'playroom' (not a bedroom as it was designed).

We then asked the question, "what could is be made of?", looking at building made of fabric, ice, trees and even clouds, such as Diller and Scofidio's Blur Buiding.

I then explained the format of the workshop: 

"We will be hijacking three spaces in the ICA by drawing over them to transform them into a fantastical playscape. Firstly, make an acetate collage from your ideas, secondly, project it onto a large poster of the room of your choice (the ICA cinema, theatre or cafe), and lastly draw our ideas together directly onto the larger poster by tracing the OHP projections."

The intention was that each time we changed the acetate collage over on the OHP- the person who created it had to explain to the others what they were thinking of when they were drew it, so they could draw it together.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Fantasy Atelier_13_03_2010


1.    Intro: Looking at Playspaces and Playscapes. 
Where and what can we play in and on? Fantasy Environments. Look at children's previous proposals from previous workshops & my own ideas, including how I created my 'storied projection drawing'.

2.    First exercise: Drawing propositions
Children draw with pens onto A4 acetate, tracing over photos of the interior and exterior of Carlton House terrace,  in order to transform it into a extra ordinary place to play (similar to play panorama from drawingPLAY workshop in November).

3.    Second exercise: Collaging ideas
Children can add collage elements from photos and images (photos of the ICA, dens from buildingPLAY workshop, the fandangos and the play panoramas from previous workshops etc.) that have been printed onto acetate before hand.

3.    Third exercise: Projecting & collaborating

Three poster-sized photos showing different interiors of the ICA will be on the wall in the theatre and then using 3 overhead projectors we will project the children's acetate collages and drawings onto the the photo posters.

The spaces we will be looking at:




In groups we will trace over them, directly on to the photo posters- creating new hybrid drawings, playing with the ICA's interiors through a sort of evanescent graffiti. For the older kids it may be about more realistic (yet fantastical) proposals and for the younger ones it may be about creating patterned and coloured worlds.


A warm up activity as people arrive would be that one child draws a scribble and passes it to his friend who has to turn it into a drawing of something (a game I used to play with my dad). This would help them to get used to working over someone else's work, co-authorship and collaborative design. Similar to how architects have to pass their drawings to and from consultants, a process known as 'redlining'.  Also the nature of 'refurbishment' and working imaginatively within the constraints of an existing building.


We will be overlaying the childrens' proposals from previous workshops onto my photos/ drawings of the interior of the ICA- transforming it into a 'playscape' or imaginative place to play, i.e. literally 'projecting' their ideas onto the spaces of the ICA to make new architecture conducive to play designed, drawn and imagined by the children collectively.

The idea for the workshop came from inspired by the cinematic concept of 'phantasmagoria' and early projection devices such as the magic lantern. I think it will be exciting because the projections will be very immersive and the results very unpredictable, the kids will be drawing with light and colour as well and pens- not something they could do at home.

Monday, 1 March 2010

The next PLAYWORKS workshop...

The Fantasy Atelier_13_03_2010

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

The Fandango Foundry_ 13_02_2010

1. Consequence Creatures
We began the session with drawing 'consequences creatures', using the format of the game 'Consequences' in order to create hybrid monsters amalgated from bits of other animals. We gave them new names made from the names of the monster's constituent animals (e.g. alien + pig = alig).

2. Discussion & Intro
In order to understand how we could make a Fandango,
we talked about hybrid animals, nonsense poetry and looked at objects & buildings that are made from other objects & buildings.

3. Fandango Collages:
Next, we did a tour of the ICA and the children took polaroid photos of objects, surfaces quirks and details of what they were interested in. We then made collages in order to hybridise their ideas into 'Fandangos' (Please read earlier blog entry to find explanation for the workshop and what a Fandango is...)

4. The Fandangos!
From their collages, the children then went on to spatialise their ideas through making Fandangos.

Friday, 12 February 2010

My Fandango...

My 'fandango' is a hybrid architectural object, inspired by found elements of the ICA. It is a fantasy amalgam made for the ICA's front desk, conceived as a combined desk tidy & a mug heater (for keeping tea warm). It also includes a 'pipe mic' for PLAYWORKS announcements, paperclip store, a 'stove' that slides out (with a pseudo-extract) and is placed on a plinth constructed out of a bad romance novel.

Much like nonsense poetry, it ‘looks like it works’ but it doesn’t quite... it is an object of fun.

An earlier iteration.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Just stumbled across this wonderful project by Readymade Projects, Mogollon and Daniel Hakansson....

New York designer Stephen Burks of Readymade Projects has collaborated with art directors Monica Brand and Francisco Lopez of Mogollon, and photographer Daniel Hakansson to create a limited edition of posters depicting hybrid creatures.

It is called The Hybrid Project, the images feature assemblages of found objects that have been photographed and collaged together.

Here’s some information from Readymade Projects:

"The Hybrid Project

What is a Hybrid? In a word, it’s a mix, a mongrel, a collaboration and a contradiction. It’s an impossible juxtaposition of cultures, beings and objects. It’s the moment, the blur, the hapa, the half-breed – erasing borders, combining forces, re-thinking our mission on the planet.

Stephen Burks of Readymade Projects came back to Brooklyn after working trips to Africa, India and Europe and discovered that globalization was right at home in his studio – from the trinkets and handicrafts he brought back, to the objects he’s collected on his travels and his own prototypes. Hybrid is more than a buzzword, it’s the remix and the layers of culture that influence us today and that will continue to inform our future on the planet.

The Hybrid project was conceived as a collaboration amongst Burks, art directors Monica Brand and Francisco Lopez of Mogollon and photographer Daniel Hakansson as an ongoing exploration and illustration of cross-disciplinary process, cross-breeding of projects and the cross-pollination of ideas.

The first collaboration of the project is a series of colorful assemblages – anthropomorphic creatures of uncertain origin who have a life of their own – a Hanuman astride an African basket with lightbulb legs and a wiry protective cage, a vase with powerful arms of beads wrapped around its chest, clips attached to its frame. From there, the “monsters” – as so many half-breeds are called – were photographed and collaged and given graphic treatments creating posters that are works of art on their own.

The tangible result? A limited edition of offset printed and silk screened posters to be sold exclusively on the upcoming Readymade Products website Declare your unity with pluralism. Be one with diversity. Are you a hybrid?"

This project has made me think that using an 'animal' or living thing to express ideas may be a good concept for the PLAYWORKS workshop. The children may find it easier to create ICA 'monsters' or characters, that are borne out of the building and its paraphernalia. That perhaps expecting children to make hybrid 'objects' with hybrid functions is a step too far for 5-11 years olds? Need to work on this one.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Planning the next PLAYWORKS workshop...

The Fandango Foundry


>> Inspired by the British tradition of amphigouri and literary nonsense, we will conduct a tour of the ICA, looking for quirks, details and curious objects in & around Carlton Terrace. Following this we will temporarily transform the Fox Reading Room into a Fandango ‘foundry’, where we will concoct PLAYWORKS ‘Fandangos’- miniature nonsense objects that tell tall tales about the building.

These images depict an inspiration behind this workshop- London Design Committee’s ‘Plastic Fandangos’, conceived as non-sense products; visions of quotidian items from a parallel universe that parody and expose the oddness of our own familiar gadgets. I am interested in how they have coalesced and juxtaposed manufacturing techniques in order to learn about the materials themselves, but also to create curious beautiful objects.
Domestic Viewfinder, 2008

Plastic fire alarm base, plumbing fixing, pink toy rolling pin, dolls’ house window, cork knob, resin peg,wind-up mechanism.

The ICA has become an architectural palimpsest as a result of its continual and fragmentary refurbishment. In response we will be making our own hybrid 'thingymajigs', using the paraphernalia of old and new objects, surfaces, spaces and functions of the ICA as our palette.

We can either re-imagine and hybridise real uses or things we have found, or create a new fantasy amalgam. We will use our imagination as well as factual reference for inspiration.

By making critical selections about what intrigues them and interpreting that information into new objects, children (and myself) will ba able see the building and its spaces, surfaces and functions in a new light. The intention is to discover how 'architectural objects' can inform new architectures.

Once our nonsensical hybrid objects are made, they will be used as centre pieces in the cafe for the rest of the day, causing curiosity and bewilderment amongst customers... and thus stir intrigue about PLAYWORKS among those who discover them.

Fandango: n.
  1. A lively Spanish dance for two people, typically accompanied by castanets or tambourine.
  2. A foolish or useless act or thing

Brendan Lee Tang describes himself "playing with looking at how history is really malleable and how it can really shift. We almost think that history is this kind of static story that's unchanging, but it's not.”

In his Manga Ormolu series Tang enters the dialogue on contemporary culture, technology and globalization through a fabricated relationship between ceramic tradition (using the form of Chinese Ming dynasty vessels) and techno-Pop Art. The futuristic update of the Ming vessels in this series recalls 18th century French gilded ormolu, where historic Chinese vessels were transformed into curiosity pieces for aristocrats.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Playful language
Nonsense Verse & Wordplay

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
Lewis Carroll

Technically termed amphigouri, ‘Nonsense verse’ is the poetic form of literary nonsense, normally composed for humorous effect, which is intentionally and overtly paradoxical, silly, witty, whimsical or otherwise strange. It is particularly common in English, due to the typically absurdist streak in British humour. It is playful in its disregard for conventional use of language, and spawns a new ‘nonsensical’ lexicon of its own with new meanings and associations.