After World War II the ruins of bombed-out areas of London were converted into community-built rickity parks called Adventure Playgrounds. Artist and Adventure Playground researcher Nils Norman, describes the incredible origin of these spaces for free-play:
“Adventure playgrounds, or junk playgrounds, as they were known, began life as occupied building sites, wastelands and bombsites that had been colonised by city children looking for interesting and adaptable spaces in which they could play in relative privacy away from adults.”
Along with interventionist public artist Michael Cataldi, Norman is reviving the spirit of this phenomenon in a summer-long utopianist experiment called the University of Trash. Occupying the Sculpture Center in Long Island City, Queens, the University will be a free space for dozens of events and projects circulating aroud the themes of ecology, pedagogy, and transformation of Urban misery. The diverse list of radical projects currently scheduled events include a Free Skool, pirate radio broadcasts, guerilla architecture discussions, a Das Kapital reading group, and there’s plenty more to come. Among their more out-there missions is to recreate the sorely missed Tompkins Square Park Bandshell, a structure that was the public center of Lower East Side counterculture and revolt, and whose 1991 demolition was, for many, a symbol of the neighborhood’s dying identity.
Visit any day except Tuesday or Wednesday from 11am to 6pm. Bring a $5 donation if you have it.