Crosswalk Soccer

by Bernie DeKoven on October 25, 2012

Sylvan Steenhuis, co-author of Urban Cap Games, writes of his further adventures into “urban hacktivism” while co-leading a workshop with artist and co-hactivator Florian Rivière. He explains (I’ve taken some minor liberties with the text, forgive me Sylvan, I was only trying to make it a little more, well, vivid):

“…we managed to inspire the participants, first by Florian’s work, then by my theory. Florian finished the presentation by showing pictures of locations in the surrounding area and a few simple ideas we’d come up with at those places. We then asked the participants if any ideas had popped up and if they found a certain location to be exceptionally inspiring. We had a nice conversation and people were filled with ideas, a participant went straight ahead to create a sort of golf court soccer goal, where the ball would be launched into the water.

The idea participants were excited about from the get go was ‘crosswalk soccer’: We’d find crosswalk with a lot of people and wait for the light to turn green. A referee would then run onto the street, blow his whistle, and a pop-up soccer match would begin.”

“The idea was a success, all the participants were excited and we managed to raise a lot of smiles in our audiences. Even though the interventions didn’t actually involve the audience in the ludic activity, it was a great way for the participants to get a feel for the concept of ludic interventions in public space. And did they!

A keen participant proposed to do the same intervention on a different stage. A European championship soccer match was playing that evening. Every street corner in Berlin, being the street-life city that it is, had a big screen TV where people were watching the match. We’d do the same interventions, with audiences already in their seats. Again, it was a great success. People were cheering at us and laughing out loud.

I think this iteration of the idea worked even better to convey the underlying message of the workshop: play! anywhere, anytime. For the participants this became more and more apparent as they were creatively thinking about the subject.

When you, as a maker, live by this design philosophy it will resonate in your work and it will travel into your audiences..”.

The post goes on, and I heartily recommend reading it in its entirety. It reveals some very deep insights into public play and culture and life and stuff. Here, again, is the link.

I added my comment, as I am wont to do.

Like this? I love this. I love that you were able to engage people in creating a new, and demonstrably absurd game. Yes, the games were conceptual. Yes, they were more flashmob-like than true public play events. But they transformed the environment and established a permission to play that I think will remain with those people for many years. My congratulations and delight.


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