FIELD OF LINES - 2021 - on site installation commissioned by the Biennale Architettura Venezia 2021 curated by Hashim Sarkis "How Will we live together" - "How will we play together"
This project started by looking into sports games and playfields from ancient Mesopotamia to Egypt and ancient Britain under the Roman Empire – hopscotch, senet, croquet, running, sprinting, Chinese cuju, and other ball games. It draws a collection of such fields and games by overlapping them, oversizing or under-sizing, and sometimes scaling some of them; fragmenting them to create a new field of games and plays. Rules to be yet invented.
In the installation at the Biennale Architettura 2021 in Venice, the field is flat, lines in polished reflective steel are materialised on the ground. Space holder sculptures in steel and concrete by artist Sonia Leimer are located within the field. Such sculptures are urban space fragments isolated in an abstract context; they are potential indicators of pauses, actions, construction sites, and shifting productive geographies. Manufactured as assemblages of urban remnants such as asphalt, metal, and plastic, they denote an interruption in the spatial continuum of the metropolis. They allude to spaces that are occupied for the moment and that are not accessible. These objects function on a collective unconscious that defines the everyday use of urban ground. Like a chessboard of urban phenomena of power and control, they set the stage for a reflection on urban space and its changes, as well as a reflection on its purpose as a place of emotional investment, of possible political militancy, and of flânerie.
In times characterised by unprecedented displacements, permanent crises of both environmental and political natures, and also by a shift toward post- globalisation, the question of how we may imagine a new possible space for provisional communities becomes more pertinent. Especially when for many people change is the only constant and the very notion of belonging – to a country, to a geographic area, to a community, to a defined gender – is so fluid. How may we negotiate new rules? Bruno Bettelheim noted in his article ‘The Importance of Play’ that ‘A child, as well as an adult, needs plenty of what in German is called Spielraum [. . .] “free scope, plenty of room” [. . .] to experiment with things and ideas at [their] leisure, or, to put it colloquially, to toy with ideas’. (catalogue Biennale Architettura 2021)