Maria L. Vidart-Delgado, Department of Play/MIT;
Katarzyna Balug, Department of Play/GSD-Harvard

Posted: September 7, 2015

Department of Play promotes play as a public infrastructure for civic engagement and public debate. We create temporary play zones (TPZ) in public spaces in areas where diverse groups meet. These TPZs encourage people to step out of the everyday and play out imagined worlds. In play, participants envision alternate futures, share life experiences and different kinds of knowledge, collaboratively create artifacts, and negotiate different ways of relating to each other beyond established norms. Through play, for a brief period of time, residents suspend their conceptions of ‘community’ and ‘belonging’ to find new ways in which they can relate to each other. Inspired by ideas of political agonism that value disagreement and difference as necessary aspects of public life, and informed by STS and anthropological literatures on public-making, participation and knowledge production, we see play as providing a space where different people come together to disagree but also collaborate.