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Nick Tobier and Roland Graf: Red Crossing at Somerset House, London

Image of Somerset House, a large manor in London

Red Crossing, a project created by Stamps faculty Nick Tobier and Roland Graf, is one of a selection of physical playable structures to be shown at Somerset House in London in the 2022 edition of NowPlayThis. This year, the NowPlayThis festival of experimental game design is focussed on the relationship between game design and democracy. With aspects of democratic systems such as decision making, resource and power sharing, protest and activism, NowPlayThis invited Graf and Tobier’s project to envision different ways in which we can organize ourselves as communities and societies.

Red Crossing was designed to create physically intelligent structures to facilitate cooperation, emotional release and transcend the expectations of infrastructure as fixed. Emboldening viewers to become participants, the experience of building is part of the installation. Red Crossing grows in magnitude with participation, displacing passive spectatorship but associations with cooperation and dynamism.
Red Crossing grows in magnitude with participation, displacing not only passive spectatorship, but also and with particular resonance today with associations of international aid, of mobility, cooperation and border crossings. Our Red Cross(ing) is one of mutual aid that begs the questions of how more public spaces and spheres could be continually in formation, built and re-fashioned, not only by municipal authority and not solely for efficiency, but rather for a flexible and welcoming dynamism.
In London, set against the dramatic backdrop of Somerset House and its adjacent riverside terraces, Red Crossing challenges the assumptions of human movement and flow through public space. It transforms utility and municipal authority into buoyancy and collective action through continuous formations and re-formations of its bouncing surface, its surrounding supporters, and the performers moving across it.

NowPlayThis and Red Crossing begin this year with a 6 day design camp on April 1, followed by a public exhibition April 7 – 10.