Holiday from Rules
Toffee Park Adventure Playground
2 August – 30 September 2019
Toffee Park Adventure Playground, Ironmonger Row, London, EC1V 3QS
Toffee Park is open Monday to Friday from 10.30-5.30pm during the school holidays. These play sessions are free for children aged 6 and over. There is no need to book, but children need to be registered to attend. You can pick up a registration form at the playground or access the form anytime to complete, print and hand in to the playground – use the Open Access form in the Registration Forms section here.
During Term Time Toffee Park is open Tuesday to Friday after school from 3.30-6.30pm in term time. Every Term Time Saturday Toffee Park is open between 12.00-5.00pm including families and younger children.
In a political landscape where spaces of play have become contested territory of urban development, ‘Holiday from Rules’ relocates the child-initiated space of adventure playground as a site of artistic, educational and emancipatory activity. With commissions by Anna-Sophie Berger, Adelita Husni-Bey, Rachel de Joode, Nils Norman & Matt Brown and Finbar Ward, ‘Holiday from Rules’ brings artworks which operate as play objects and a series of artist-led workshops to Toffee Park Adventure Playground, London EC1, throughout August and September 2019.
’Holiday from Rules’ will be experienced most fully by children playing in Toffee Park (open access for age 6+, during holidays Mon–Fri, 10.30–17.30) and can be explored by the public during the opening night (2 August, 6.30–9pm) and during scheduled open days.
‘Holiday from Rules’ takes its inspiration from the history of adventure playgrounds as reclaimed urban spaces that developed out of post-war London’s rubble. Originally referred to as ‘junk playgrounds,’ these abandoned bomb-sites came to embody a spirit of collective ownership, pointing to an inherent social need for spaces of play. At the same time, adventure playgrounds have championed the importance of free play – unstructured, imaginative and child-initiated play – in children’s development.
By inviting artists, children and play-workers to work together in creating the commissions, ‘Holiday from Rules’ tests the potential of artistic practice to conceive the play-space as a uniquely malleable, aesthetically oriented site of group activity and collective formation.
Central to the project is a reflection on the idea of ‘affordances’ – the sum of potentialities contained within an object or environment, implying that humans don’t understand their surrounding as matter in space but in terms of the ‘action possibilities’ it affords. The multiplicity of play affordances within an adventure play environment endorses the playground as an open-system which allows space for interpretation, identification and experimentation. ‘Holiday from Rules’ converges art making with the ethos of free-play – by creating structures without centre and stimulating actions without purpose, the project foregrounds the freedom, indeterminacy and unproductiveness of play, and strikes a close comparison of play with art practice.
‘Holiday from Rules’ is a collaboration between Islington Play Association and Kunstraum, curated by Kunstraum’s Associate Curator Camille Houzé.
Anna-Sophie Berger’s work ‘It won’t rain’ was commissioned by Cell Project Space for Anna-Sophie Berger: A Failed Play, April/May 2019