Projects

In the Field of Players

witte de withstraat Rotterdam, Jan 2004

Duration: 25.01.2004 - 31.01.2004
Location: TENT.Rotterdam
Participants: 106 through casting, 260 visitors of TENT.
Number of Events: 9 (6 castings and 3 game:sets)
Additional Presentations: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; ArToll Labor, Bedburg-Hau; Ludwig Museum, Budapest; Witte de With, Rotterdam; Keg Expo, Schijndel, Art Amsterdam, Amsterdam; Constant vzw, Brussel.

The exhibition 'Friendly Fire' in the Rotterdam exhibition space TENT. was curated by Edwin Carels as part of the 2004 International Film Festival Rotterdam and invited the public to think about the notion of 'Power:Play'. At the time the TENT. site was still in use as a school, the central area of exhibition space functioning as a playground for the children. Together with artist Marten Winters, Van Heeswijk developed a 'game:set'. In cooperation with graphic designer Roger Teeuwen they marked out a set of lines and fields on the floor. Just like in a sporting venue, these lines had no meaning until they were used by the players. The relationship between the players is revealed by the rules of the game.

Designer Arienne Boelens created special game cards that were handed out during the festival by the performance artists Bliss. Both Bliss and the cards turned up all over the festival and could be found at every hot spot or special event. Through these game cards people where invited to fulfil the various roles in the game - like 'Round Miss' (the girl who walks around the ring holding up a numbered card at the start of each round at boxing matches), 'Man (40+) in (high) cultural position', 'Teen girl with star ambitions', 'Vital 65+'. But there was also 'Whisperer', and even 'Audience' was a specific role. During the film festival players were selected through a daily casting process at the Doelen venue. The crisis centre, where only professionals normally hang out, was also open to the general public. After the selection there were three game:sets on 25, 28 and 31 January in TENT.'s central area. The audience members who had not been cast also become participants: eventually they were the ones who defined the underlying relationships of the players, their positions and the unspoken rules of the game. This fostered a tension that said something about the complex processes of social relations. Even the cameraman filming all three events had a specific role and was only allowed to move along the line set out for him. The specific character of each of the three game:sets was captured in a video installation, displaying how the audience sets the mood of the game and gives it a meaning. The video work was shown in exhibition in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, the Ludwig Museum and Witte de With, among others.

related essays

In The Field of Players

Mar 2004


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