Play Ground

Boujdour Saharawi Refugee Camp, Algeria


November 2014

Play Ground is a piece build in the context of Boujdour refugee camp (near Tindouf, Algeria). The camps have been set up in the late 70’s for Sahrawi refugees fleing from Western Sahara due to Maroccan colonisation. It has been a very long conflict which results in Western Saha-ra being today the last colony in Africa, with one of the longest wall and the most concentrated amount of antipersonal mines in the world. The situation in the refugee camps - becoming long lasting villages - is extremely precarious.

Nevertheless, the residency ARTIFARITI proposes artists worldwide to stay in Boujdour for 10 days to produce an art piece or/and conduct a workshop. Indeed, an art school has been built with the hope that art can create a social and political change. The proposal is challenging and each invited artist participated the best they could with a very limited amount of time and ressources and tough geographical conditions.

Play Ground is a sound installation that suggests a ludic use. The metal pipes are recycled from a landfill used exclusively for metal: mostly rests of tanks, buses, trucks and other military items.

My aim was to create a sculpture that will invade the ground without being visually noticeable. It assimilates into the apocalyptical landscape as well as at the same time triggering curiosity due to its peculiar shape.

Several pieces of metal pipes are put together to create a 6m long underground line that conducts sound. The pipes being perfectly connected, it is therefore possible for two persons to communicate and have perhaps the opportunity to deliver a private, intimate or secret message. But it is impossible to speak and listen at the same time. Play Ground forces the two potential users to start a slow and minimal conversation.

I first wanted to extend the pipes by making it available for use to a larger amount of people. But during my stay at Boujdour, I could notice and feel the lack of intimacy and the omnipresence of the group, predominant for everyday life actions and decisions in the community. Therefore, I decided to create an isolated space that would fit in between the feeling of akwardness and solitude; in between one word and another.

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