Public Borders

Body Border

What limitations contains the public space? During the work lab "Public Borders" a group of children, aged 7 to 11 years, search in a ludic way for the meaning of borders in the public space of the city. What boundaries do children experience in public space? — On their way from home to school, library, park, playground, store? — When they are alone, in groups with other children or with an older companion? While walking public space, they explored their physical limits, the ones that are visible or audible expressed as well as mental limits imposed by rules and laws. What is the importance of safety? And, to what extent are limits imposed by adults? What does freedom mean and how can we appropriate freedom in an urban context?

The workshop was a process-based research, experimenting with methods inspired by situated learning; learning a social process whereby knowledge is co-constructed by learning in a specific context and embedded within a particular social and physical environment.

The children experimented with creating new ways to bend often restrictive actions, associated with these limits, to a more playful behaviour in public space. The outcome of the work lab was a choreographed performance guided by a visual manual, linking new playful behaviour with existing restrictive borders in the city. The aim of the work lab was to stimulate children to find a creative appropriation of the city and its boundaries; to create a new kind of freedom where rules and limits can be reinterpreted in a playful manner and to finally initiate a more playful behaviour in the city.

The work lab was accompanied by Anke Rymenams, illustrator, and hosted at WIELS, Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels.