Film program: Adventure Playgrounds

with Esmé Valk

Wednesday 15 November 2017, 17.00 - 19.00 hrs
Location: Stroom, Hogewal 1-9, The Hague
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Language spoken: English

Followed by: 20.00 - 21.30 hrs
Lecture The Playground Project
by Gabriela Burkhalter

Between the two events (19-20 hrs) we will serve soup and a sandwich. When making a reservation please let us know if you want to join us for dinner.

Esmé Valk presents her research into adventure playgrounds, illustrated by a series of unusual films. Adventure playgrounds are places where children can use all kinds of materials like planks, pallets, car tires, stones, pieces of plastic and other junk, to play with. They can play freely and unrestrictedly. They can do whatever they want. They can build something (or to tear it down). Adventure playgrounds were a reaction to the asphalt playgrounds with their rigid play-structures like slides, swings, seesaws and sandboxes.

On the basis of selected film clips Esmé Valk wants to discuss the following questions: "What kind of personal autonomy does a user have in relation to a designed environment?" and "How can a playground design contribute to (or hamper) a child's figurative margin for manoeuvre?"

One of the films shown is the The Land (2015) by Erin Davis ("a horror film for helicopter parents"), a short documentary film about the nature of play, risk and hazard set in The Land, a Welsh adventure playground. Here children climb trees, light fires and use hammers and nails in a play-space rooted in the belief that kids are empowered when they learn to manage risks on their own.
There will also be a screening of The Voice of Children by the British collective Assemble (winners Turner Prize 2015). This film questions the amount of autonomy we give to children.

The research project of Esmé Valk is made possible in part by the financial support of CBK Rotterdam.

Part of program Stroom School: Céline Condorelli: Proposals for a Qualitative Society (Spinning).

This program is made possible through the generous support of the Mondriaan Fund, BankGiro Loterij Fonds, BPD Cultuurfonds and the City of The Hague.

'The Land' (Erin Davis, 2015)
photo: © Erin Davis
Assemble, 'The Voice of Children'
photo: courtesy the artists
An adventure playground
photo: Nancy Rudolph
design: The Rodina