Parrhesiastic Play

Parrhesiastic Play 

Freedom of speech and public space can be addressed according to Krzysztof Wodiczko (inspired by Michel Foucault) through the concept of the Ancient Greek Parrhesia, meaning to speak boldly. In the antiquity, only few privileged individuals, the Parrhesiastes. had the right, obligation, but also the strength to act the freedom of speech and to speak the truth for the others. Wodiczko suggests: 

“Contemporary Parrhesiastes should be the people who are least privileged, who have things to say which nobody wants to hear. From that group there should be born Parrhesiastes who should reprimand society and address the situations of authority’s unjust treatment or misunderstanding.” 

How can we create conditions in public space for the contemporary Parrhesiastes to open up and speak freely? What are the platforms for the true-tellers to communicate the crucial issues that others need to know? How can they disseminate these ideas to the others? 

Parrhesiastic Play is a performance architecture for public space that acts as communication platform for NYC citizens. Parrhesiastic Play is an alternative urban scrabble, a set of spatial elements that are both urban chairs and sculptural letters available to be arranged in different forms, and phrases by New Yorkers. Parrhesiastic Play can be positioned in multiple locations that are currently surveilled. By linking the physical space to the live webcams network, Parrhesiastic Play offers to people a stage to perform in front of the cameras, and disseminate their message to a larger audience while addressing surveillance through play and spectacle. 

In collaboration with Vien Nguyen

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