What does “Playing in the Street” mean today?

  • by Stefan Fellechner

Pupils from the Otto Wels Primary School designed an outdoor exhibition in Kreuzberg as part of the URBAN NATION Museum’s new educational project.

Mädchen springt von einer Skulptur
Playing around at Kastanienplatz, you can discover interesting places. Photo: Victoria Tomaschko

For ten days, pupils of the class 5c of Otto Wels Primary School asked themselves what playing in public areas means today. They were guided in the URBAN NATION Museum’s educational project by the art mediator and photographer Markus Georg. As the children photographed and documented their own current playgrounds in the neigh-bourhood, they also learned more about the past of former playgrounds. As part of a photo search game, the class was given historical pictures of playgrounds, streets or playing children from the archives of the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Museum – these scenes had to be tracked down and then recreated with their smartphones.

A selection of the photos can now be seen around Kastanienplatz, in the Wassertorplatz neighbourhood of Kreuzberg from 27 November 2020 to 31 January 2021. With the help of a neighbourhood plan, which is available at certain locations in the neighbourhood and which was created and designed by the pupils themselves, you can discover the photo-graphs and various play opportunities in the “Play Street” area.

Junge auf einem Spielplatz betrachtet ein Foto
Is this the playground shown in the photo? Pupils from Year 5 of Otto Wels Primary School are in the search. Photo: Victoria Tomaschko

The concept of “Play Street” was developed as part of the current exhibition Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures at the URBAN NATION Museum. The series Street Play (2005) published by the American photographer shows children playing imaginatively in New York City and concentrates on the creative spirit of city children who explore places inde-pendently and develop games too. Most of the pictures date back to the 1970s and draw a link to the question asked in the “Play Street” educational project about the topicality of play outdoors.

Play Street’ is a project that exemplifies the URBAN NATION Museum’s approach to art education. We work together with partner schools in the Gewobag districts on artistic top-ics. The creative work of the pupils starts with the creation of photos and media formats and ends with the production of a flyer or leaflet about the project itself. The children are enthusiastic about the project and proudly present their results to the public,

says Jan Sauerwald, Director of the URBAN NATION Museum.

“Play Street”

Outdoor exhibition

Duration: 27 November 2020 to 31 January 2021
Place: Around Kastanienplatz in Kreuzberg

The children’s photographic works are exhibited in the form of banners at the following places around Kastanienplatz in Kreuzberg:

Prinzenstrasse 97
Bergfriedstrasse 22
Wassertorstrasse 61
Wassertorstrasse 65

Thanks to the financial support of the Berlin Project Fund for Cultural Education and the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district office, as well as the Stiftung Berliner Leben, a founda-tion of Gewobag, the educational project was successfully implemented.

“Play Street” is one of the URBAN NATION Museum’s new art education projects.

Markus Georg and Jan Sauerwald are available for interviews. If you are interested, please contact us at pr@urban-nation.com. You can find royalty-free photo material at urban-nation.com/de/urban-nation-presse/.

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(Museums management: Jan Sauerwald)