Pixel Puppet Playground

[This text was originally published in AREA Chicago #14 in April 2014]Stills from Pixel Puppet Playground by Chelsea Cossu

See the video here

While expecting their first child, Chelsea Cossu invited her partner Stefano to experiment with the playground equipment in their neighborhood play lot. She then videotaped the shadows cast by rubber balls rolling across the playground equipment  projected on the rubber turf below, creating the illusion of a pixelated screen. There is more to this image than nostalgia — we recognize that “play” is socially defined and mediated by specific technologies. The playground, like the screen, becomes a space of play and creative adaptation, as well as a space of highly regulated activity, built in constraints, and commercial activities. Chelsea submitted this video for AREA’s online special projects, with the following short description: “Soft recycled tire ground, pre-constructed tower platforms, and a sunny day made our shadows look like pixels from early animated games. The playground is very different from those we remember, we guessed that the games we remembered were very different now too. As childless adults we were alone there, misusing the tower made for climbing, and the ground made for soft falls, into a pre-constructed game from our childhoods, making the playground look like an animated video game of hands rolling balls.”

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