As part of the Tate Modern’s Hyperlink festival in 2013, several artists and collectives were invited to respond to six artworks from the Tate collection, before creating a series of workshops for the public.
In response to Anthony Caro’s 1965 sculpture Yellow Swing, we devised the ‘Architectural Croquet’ interactive experience, a game that sought to engage participants in the architectural issues affecting Londoners between the ages of 15-24.
The rules of the game were fairly simple. We displayed a series of unique architectural croquet structures around the Tate’s dedicated performance art area, The Tanks. On each structure we posed a question or provocation, challenging game players to respond through the medium of a quick architectural model, produced with the Blue Peter-style materials provided. Participants were encouraged to write their name, age and where they live onto the paper model, before selecting a job that they envisioned themselves to be working in the year 2040. These ranged from organic farmer and space tour guide, to personal robot mechanic and experimental therapist.
These models were then added to the Architectural Croquet course, where a road or circuit passing under each of the structures allowed players to race each other with a remote control car. On-board Wi-Fi cameras attached to the cars enabled us to project an ankle-high view of this new collaborative vision for London onto the walls of The Tanks.
Meanwhile, displays challenged participants to imagine alternative solutions to repurposing existing urban structures around London, such as transforming empty floors in the Gherkin into apartments, the space under the railway arches at Southwark Park Station into homes, and building an additional maisonette atop a house to rent for extra income.
By engaging in a process of participatory led design, this workshop explored how users’ needs, wants and desires play an important role in shaping the places we live, work and play in the city.