Work in Progress – Group 6

Students:

Panagiotis Panagiotakopoulos
Adam Hewgill
Veronika Mutalova
Matthias Trager
Rebecca Woods

Tutors:

Prof. Yvonne Dröge-Wendl
Karl-Heinz Einberger

Report by Group 6:

The project began with familiarising ourselves with the city and people of Bologna, trying to develop some unique insite and inspiration. We set up challenges that required the necessity to speak to the local people. Asking for help to cook a cup of pasta took some of us into local homes and allowed a glimps of the ‘real’ Bologna. We tried to keep our explorations and challenges lively and witty.

The primary form of creative process for us was long bouts of discussion followed by eventual actions taken on part of those concepts discussed. Part of the process was also to document every day of the process. The first day we spent in introduction, and the decision was made to not make a solid idea for the first few days, so as to avoid the typical pitfalls and common ideas.

The major climax of our process was the introduction of dozens of ping pong balls in the Piazza Maggiore square at the center of Bologna. This visually and physically activated the large open space. It also worked as a social experiment to see how the people in the square would react to such an object being introduced in the square. It had amazing results. Suddenly people who were individually going about their business as usual, stopped and watched the balls, picked them up and played with them. Young and old were suddenly connected in a brief shared experience. Everyone had fun, and the ping pong balls gradually disappeared entirely into the city. We made a video documentation from this process to use it in the final presentation.

Another important aspect of our project was a plain household stool. While working in Piazza Maggiore we observed small gatherings of people who were there to openly discuss political issues. The stool was used as a way of chairing the meetings, with each speaker standing on the stool in turn. We used this system as part of our performative presentation at Front of House.

Various ideas for interactive work involving the stool and the ping pong balls were explored in the space at Front of House, but it was difficult to find a solution that carried the same sense of excitement and physicality that the original experiments had.

Eventually we decided to present the original video of the ping pong release in the Piazza Maggiore alongside a live feed video of the opening night exhibition launch which included a surprise ping pong launch. Once again the balls had a terrific impact on the crowd who were delighted by the event and ‘interacted’ with them all evening, activating the space in the courtyard at Front of House.