PLAYING UP: A Live Art Game for Kids and Adults

Sibylle Peters


Make clothes out of food, lie on top of cars, dance with animals, try bagism, make a ketchup fight, follow a random passerby through the city, remote control your parents, invent your own Live Art form of sports, search for miracles, walk through London with a map of Paris, invent an alter ego of the opposite gender, deconstruct electrical devices, and build what-happens-next-machines!

PLAYING UP is an artwork by Sibylle Peters, exploring the potential of Live Art to bridge generations. Drawing on key Live Art themes and seminal works, PLAYING UP takes the form of a game played by adults and kids together.

View the Playing Up dedicated website.

Read Guardian review by Lyn Gardner

Read Real Time article by Madeline Hodge

Players are presented with a pack of cards, organized using six different categories which cover different strategies of Live Art. Each card references a specific Live Art piece or event followed by an instruction to be carried out by the players. Players select a card and then follow the given instructions. 

Artists and artworks referenced in PLAYING UP:
Mammalian Diving Reflex’s Haircuts by Children, Santiago Sierra’s Person Saying a Phrase, Mad for Real’s Soya Sauce and Ketchup Fight, The Guerilla Girls, Marina Abramovic’s Freeing the Voice, Tehching Hsieh’s Rope Piece, Dennis Oppenheim’s Two Stage Transfer Drawing, Jana Sterbak’s Remote Control, Marcel Duchamp’s Rrose Sélavy, Curious’s On The Scent, Judy Clark’s Issues, Harold Offeh’s Covers, Showcase Beat le Mot’s Blind Football, Situationist International's Psychogeography, Vito Acconci’s Following Piece, Chris Burden’s Trans-Fixed, Mike Pearson’s Bubbling Tom, Aaron Williamson’s Barrierman, Theatre of Research’s The Search for Miracles, Marcia Farquhar’s Acts of Clothing, Joshua Sofaer’s Name in Lights, Jeremy Deller’s The Battle of Orgreave, Forced Entertainment’s Tomorrow’s Parties, Barby Asante’s Barbys Karaoke, Lone Twin’s Beastie, Yoko Ono & John Lennon’s Bagism, David Weber-Krebs & Maximilian Haas’s Balthazar, Valie Export & Peter Weibel’s From The Portfolio Of Doggedness, Bobby Baker’s Cooking the Sunday Dinner, George Brecht’s Drip Music, Eva Meyer Keller & & Sybille Müller’s Building After Catastrophes, Martha Rosler’s Semiotics of the Kitchen, Bow Gamelan Ensemble’s Concrete Barges, Stephen Cripps’ Roundabout for a Crashed Helicopter, Zoe Laughlin’s The Performativity of Matter, Peter Fischli & David Weiss’s The Way Things Go.

The PLAYING UP package includes a box, 37 cards, stickers and textbook.

From the PLAYING UP textbook:

Introduction for adults:

PLAYING UP is an innovative resource for cultural education. It is meant to introduce children to Live Art and thereby to foster their creativity, confidence and imagination, not to mention their strategic skills.

Introduction for kids:

If you read the introduction for adults above, you’ll see that we told them PLAYING UP was about your cultural education. That’s part of the trick. Actually, PLAYING UP is a device for you to navigate Live Art as a means to make adults do the most unbelievable and funny and silly and adventurous things. You will see, they are ready to do anything when it comes to your cultural education.

Example of PLAYING UP’s Live Art categories, pieces and card instructions:

Category: Beings & Things

Piece: Bobby Baker, On Cooking the Sunday Dinner (1998)

‘Don’t play with your food!’ Does this sound familiar? In Live Art you can forget about that. In fact, loads of great things can be done with food apart from eating it. The artist Bobby Baker turned all the ingredients of a traditional Sunday roast dinner into an outfit. She strung large cabbage leaves onto elastic threads and wore them as a bonnet. She tied carrots together in a row and wore them as a skirt. Finally she turned slices of meat into a bra and used dishes of food as shoes.

Instruction: Find your own way to make clothes and accessories out of food. Display your design as if you are on a catwalk. Take photos.

Note: Many artists have experimented with dinners as very special events. So, how about bringing some Live Art to the next festive dinner you are invited to? 

“Kids are explorers of the everyday. For them to light a match can be something extraordinary that needs focus and time and creates an experience. The same is true for everyone who practices Live Art. For us kids are perfect accomplices. And in return Live Art can provide something that is essential to all of us, but especially to kids and their well being: the acknowledgement of their action and their thinking, the reassurance that everything counts, that everything can make a difference, the frame of beauty and reflection and the experience that we can set it up anytime and anywhere we want. PLAYING UP is a playful, hands-on introduction to Live Art for everyone.” Sibylle Peters.

PLAYING UP has been conceived and created by Sibylle Peters of Theatre of Research (Germany) and designed by David Caines. PLAYING UP is produced and published in a collaboration between the Live Art Development Agency (LADA, UK), FUNDUS THEATER / Theatre of Research (Germany), Tate Early Years and Family Programme (UK), Best Biennial (Sweden) and Live Art UK, with the generous support of the Goethe-Institut LondonPLAYING UP forms part of LADA’s contribution to the Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme (CAPP) supported by Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.  

ISBN: 978-0-9935611-0-8

Live Art Development Agency, 2016. 17 x 22.5 x 4cm.

Trade orders: Central Books. Find the details on Unbound Trade Orders and Distribution Information page.

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