Global Player 2008 and ongoing

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brighton

Blind Ditch project

“The Global Players stop and open their table. A crowd gathers, the queue forms and a public walkway comes to life with a memorable game of table tennis. People enjoy themselves as witness or participant in a place they otherwise wouldn’t spend much time in. They look at each other across the table.”

The idea of public space as an inclusive theatre of surprise and community construction is only sometimes achieved by town planners, developers and architects. Modern purpose built urban landscapes tend to limit what’s off purpose – and it is in that sense that public access and community ownership are two entirely different concepts.

Global Player was developed in response to the increasing corporate ownership of city centre space in Britain and the changing sense of what is permissible and acceptable behaviour in a range of public environments. Made from recycled bicycle parts and fitted with a towbar for easy pulling, the Global Players stop with the specially designed table at specified places in each city, offering to play a game against willing members of the public then moving on.

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Setting up the table always feels like a big statement, putting the four legs down is like staking out a territory however mobile we look. A new and unknown spot often feels like in an ill-fitted suit, a bit exposed and maybe even dangerous, but with the space evolving over time it becomes all ours and that of the people who play us. Once we are rolling people have to queue for their game, and often they stay around for ages even after they have played. The concept of colonising a space is taking a form in this performance.” Blog entry from our 2008 tour.