Paper Playscapes is an on-going project by Artemis Papageorgiou and Gabriella Mastrangelo. It was the winning proposal of the competition organised by the Victoria & Albert Digital Programmes and was commissioned to take part at the Elephant & Castle Mini Maker Faire in London 2014. Its’ offspring LumiChairs is a game designed for the purpose of the commission. Since, Paper Playscapes has participated at Make: Shift: Do, organised by the Crafts Council UK, and has taken the form of an educational workshop for youth at the Onassis Cultural Centre. Next, it will take place as Publicscapes, a workshop exploring participatory design in public space as part of #AddNoise, a side project of Athens Video Art Festival which will be hosted at Traces of Commerce in February 2015.

Paper Playscapes is a landscape in the making, a participatory space for dwelling together for a few moments, in order to learn, make and play. Its represents a landscape-in-movement, one made and played collaboratively by the designers and the visitors. We invite people to participate in the creative process by adding their personal and collective imprint in space. The blueprint is a module, the truncated tetrahedron, made out of cardboard. By embedding paper electronics, hand-drawn circuits and a simple interaction we create a cell that propagates in space to shape a spontaneous, responsive structure that lights up when approached. The game designed for the installation, LumiChairs, adds more light, play and interaction in the space.

The design is inspired by the 1960s and 1970s movements Op Art and Arte Concreta, and in particular Bruno Munari’s game Aconà BiconBì, which we use as starting point for the architectural form. Instead of Munari’s triangle we use the truncated tetrahedron. We invite people to step in and co-create a landscape-in-movement, as Gilles Clément would phrase it, by following a simple process: assembling the cardboard modules, drawing the circuits and fixing the modules within the installation space. The final outcome of the piece depends on people’s engagement. 

Module & installation
The module is made out of corrugated cardboard, a sustainable cost-effective material that is easily assembled by the audience. We have kept Munari’s circle as the core of our module by turning it into a switch. Each cardboard module is designed to react to proximity and contact by emitting light through a number of LEDs on its’ surface. Each sheet is pre-cut and the circuit is marked on the surface. A simple circuit is mounted and a capacitive sensor is drawn on one surface. The circuit includes an ATtiny micro-controller, a couple of LEDs and ink!

The installation remains open-ended, an ever-transforming landscape and an interesting experiment on ephemeral architecture. The more people involved, the larger the installation. The final shape is unpredictable, yet there is a suggested framework to work with. For the Elephant & Castle Mini Maker Faire the installation was situated on a hexagonal space marked by six fixed stools on the corners and a pvc floor indicating the area of ‘construction’. The six stools form the pillars of the installation as they constitute both the starting point for construction and the play elements of the LumiChairs* game. People can construct around them creating bridges and connections as long as the outcome is free-standing and solid.

LumiChairs was integrated in the space of Paper Playscapes. We used as reference the traditional game Music Chairs, where people have to sit on a set of chairs at the end of a music round, which are less than the players. In LumiChairs two teams of three people compete for the last seat that remains lit. The winning team is the one whose member remains the last seated. Six different rounds are triggered by the players through a black switch on each stool. Rounds are accompanied by 8-bit music. Each stool contains a DMX par can that sheds light outside. In the first three rounds the players try to avoid flickering and switched off lights, while in the next three rounds they need to interact with the stools in different ways in order to ‘survive’.

About Artemis & Gabriella
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