Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Article 31.1 - The Universl Right to Play

This Summer sees the Olympic Games come to London and the other day I saw a Chinook land in Victoria Park. How weird it was to see the park in which I've played every year since birth militarised in an instance. They were, presumably, running drills ahead of the Olympics.

Taken by Shalena Darwood
Parks are rare places. Places where, pretty much anything goes. Where you go to bun a zoot, play ball or just chill, doing what you like. So, to see them instantly taken over by giant helicopters synonymous with the implementation of rules was disturbing. Ironic that we owe the visit of this machine of death to an event which includes "game"in it's title - they are not playful.

The Chinooks' visit to the ends raises wider questions of space, ownership and freedom. London is increasingly privately owned. Private owners, dictate the rules and impose them by security guards - usually the police or those sporting SIS badges.

In the case of the Olympics, the owners are LOCOG and their security is the military. The Olympic site is surrounded by an £80m fence. It seems like we can only play in spaces in which we are allowed to play.

Matthew Schnickens
When you are a child, your "right to play" is enshrined by the UN. That right is designed to ensure a child's freedom. There is no such right when you are an adult. Play is deemed to be integral to the development of a child, so should you stop developing just because you got older?
Article 31.1 propose a Universal Right to Play inspired by Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. By extending this right to all occupants of the city and raising a collective, social and institutional duty to provide equal opportunities to play for all we offer a vision of a more playful city against which our own can be measured.
On Friday 22nd June, Article 31.1 open an exhibition documenting the playful acts of adults in a converted shop, just off Broadway Market. Some of the acts documented within Workshop 44, take place on the limits of what is deemed acceptable, and some simply ignore the rules imposed on them. 

BNTL play hard. We stretch the limits of what is deemed appropriate and embrace stuff that says "fuck rules", so it's no surprise that a few local faces are part of the show. 

Over the course of the week, I'll be bringing you a glimpse of what Article 31.1 at Workshop 44 has to offer. Hopefully you'll not need much convincing to play hard. 

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