Kom je buitenspelen? | Playingsessions in Public Space | 2022

Playing sessions are a way to investigate ways for adults of playing in public space. Together with different groups of people I organised a playing sessions. We played on the simple agreement of playing for exactly 60 minutes. Between April  and June 2022 I organized 4 sessions. The sessions helped me to understand the difficulties to play for adults. It made my own awareness grow. All sessions are documented and brought together into a publication, order by mail. A brief summary will follow underneath.

The first playingsession was an exploration on on playing posibilities in the public space of Kattenburg en Wittenburg. This exploration I did one on one with Gijs Velsink. Gijs Velsink is specialist in play in his work as a visual artist, radiomaker for Radio Noord and employee of the Gemeente Amsterdam. He knows a lot about the Homo Ludens of Johan Huizinga and didnt unlearn to play himself. Together we explored role play, founded objects as playing tools and how architecture helps to involve others in public space. Acspecialy the highchair we found in the trash helped us play. We created a fiction, we were seated on top of the bridge as bridgekeepers, blocking the way for passers-by. Asking them friendly to pay money while crossing the bridge. This playingsession formed the foundation for a dramaturgie developed in the following sessions. 

The second session was hold in collaboration with three professionals in play who didnt knew each other beforehand: Marina Kaptijn, Sandra Deningman and again Gijs Velsink. This session we researched how we could focus on playing together. I structured the path we took beforehand. Again roleplay and found object were used to play, but also competition and games were part of the session. 

In the third session I worked with a bigger group of family members. The group consistes of civel servants, bankers, a mathematician and a pedicure. I new them well before hand because they were my family. Playing with them was the most challenging. In this session we started with a more traditional game and only the playground we ended our session helped us to play slightly.

The fourth session was part of a public event. Most people didn’t know each other. People weren’t specificly invited but joined out of curiousity. In this last session I brought everything together that I learned on play so far. For example the translation of the word ‘movement’, of waves of dancing, is in some languages the same as the word for play. So i started the play with walking, quicker and quicker, until participants were running, jumping in the air and hopping playfully.  

About the research

The playing sessions serve as a research tool in my ongoing research into play. 
 How as adults we could play more in this over structured and ruled society. What we could gain of art as a space to play. And how this space is related to an object, an environment or an attitude in our head. The research consists out of a theoretical and practical layer. During workshops in the neighborhood house I research play in relation to the neighborhood. During presentations in the Culture Club I share my research into play to get inspired by others.

This research started in 2021. It was made possible by the Art & Society Program of the Amsterdamse Hogeschool van de Kunsten. A postgraduate program for AHK alumni researching the connections between art and society. I’m continuing the research at my residency spot at primary school de Vindplaats. I will work from here till July 2023. 

Special Thanks to Kim Krijnen for capturing sessions 2 & 3. 


Photo by Kirsten van Santen