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Pop-up picnics



Auteurs / Authors : Alice Neveu, Floriane Jan, Janike Fourie, Juliette Autin, Marie Fricout, Victoria Wigzell, Zakara Raitt

Description : Série de Pique-niques urbains

Axes de recherche / Research axes (Play/Urban)  : Body politics, Theater of operations , Generate audiences, Public space / common space, Play/Game


In situ
Type de pic-nic 1
médium : corps / couverture / nourriture
genre : observation longue et stationnaire / présence / repérage
concept : occupying space (occuper l’espace) / tactique de présence
participants : étudiantes wits/esad (jeunes femmes blanches)
durée approximative : 30mn/1h journée
ville/lieu : parc, place et trottoir Joburg
Type de pic-nic 2
médium : corps / couvertures / cartons et boîtes / craies / barrière / papiers / tissus / dés /crayons
genre : action / dispositif participatif / jeu (play) ou jeu (game)?
concept : occupying space (occuper l’espace) / game/play // on/off space // rencontre
participants : étudiantes wits/esad (jeunes femmes blanches) // passants
durée : 1H30 journée
ville : parc et place Joburg (à spécifier)
Questionnements :
– Est-ce que le fait que le jeu soit au sein du dispositif transforme le ”game” en ”play” ?
– Définir on/off space ?
– Comment on occupe l’espace public du parc?
– Quelles sont les effets induits de la présence d’un groupe de jeunes femmes blanches dans un
environnement urbain majoritairement noir ?
– Quelles sont les effets induits par les ”jeux” proposées aux enfants (facilité/innocence) par les
jeunes femmes blanches ?



médium : corps / couverture / écrans plats sur pied pour vidéo&son / cartons et boîtes / craies /
barrière / papiers / tissus / dés / crayons
genre : installation ”praticable”
concept : reconstitution / documentation
participants : public ? visiteurs ? spectateurs ? spectacteurs ? activateurs ? (s’approprier l’espace / engage with space)
durée : 5 heures soir
ville : Salle d’exposition de Vansa et King Kong Joburg
Questionnements :
– Quelle est la différence entre une restitution, une reconstitution et une trace ? comment qualifier
un déplacement d’espace ? transposition / documentation ?
– Définir différence entre public, visiteurs, spectateurs, et spectacteur ?
– Nature de l’implication des visiteurs de l’expo par rapport à votre espace ? Objectifs ?


Analyse critique / Critical analysis : Projet touchant une seule tranche de la population : les enfants. Tendance au projet artistique à caractère social.


Protocoles (collectif) d’action / (collective) action protocols : Recréer une aire de pic-nique à l’aide de tissus attachés entre eux dans différents parcs de Joburg et inviter les usagers du parc à partager un moment sur cette aire.



Juliette Autin / Dés (photos Jc Lanquetin)


Making a picnic will work as a traveling tool for us, in order to orientate ourselves in different places. The blanket is a visible way to inhabit a space for a moment. The picnic is also a symbol of certain lifestyles, which are at times present, and at other times not present within the locations where we have chosen. It is a place of meeting, sharing and testing. In our artistic practice, it also becomes a place of discussion, observation and conceptualization. It will act as a starting point for us, from which we hope to create other interactions with the space. At the same time this object acts as a finishing point- around and within which our findings are located.

We would like to have picnics in a variety of locations- parks both within the inner city and the suburbs, as well as open/abandoned spaces, and ’secure’ spaces such as museums or shopping malls (or parking lots of museums or shopping malls).

As one form of output (restitution) we will produce a small book of a collection of stories, observations, thoughts and experiences.


Attwell gardens was closed so we ended up having picnic on the pavement
the second picnic has taken place in “the peacefull park”





for the third play>urban event we decided to invite people to an indoor picnic in order to discuss with them about this way of occupying a space








on saturday we went to different places tahts could interest us in order to focus only on two parcs. we had a vote, a talks and finally choose to work on David Webster park in Troyeville and Jouberg parc in the CBD.



sunday we had a talk with Anthea who helped us going forward



today came the idea of making a stretchable carpet



On tuesday 18 took place the first picnic performance, at David Webster Park. Floriane came first, puting one blanket then another then another… Zak arrived with big cardboard sheets and built a tunnel where childrens begun to play in, Juliette seated next to it and started gumbling with seeds with childrens. Vicky came in with fences that she kept moving around, also helped by childrens, Marie was building spaces with cardboard boxes, Janika writing and drawing with choalks, Alice sending coloured paper planes everywhere in the park. At the same time Planet Lindela was playing music and this moment became an ephemeral and unexpected magic playing time.



This time we popped-up in Joubert park. As we expected some childrens came again to play with us, first attracted by the cardboard castle of Zak. Other people were standing up, around us, watching what was going on there. We all of us just carried on on our actions while juliette seated apart gambling, also with children. In order to end up we had a little nap on the giant blanket… and then we packed up and disappeared.


In order to get away from typical park environment we chose Mary Fitzgerald Square, an open huge large piece of concrete ground ! It presented more a challenge for two reasons : one there wasn’t being a natural already audience, and second the security guards came to us to ask authorisation (which we didn’t have). At the time we were finally aloud to set our playground there children began to join us and play with us. Juliette gambled with adults this time, the blanket became a snake pathway from one end of the square to the other, cardboard boxes were piled to form a participative tower. We ended packing up gradually.



After a series of picnics in different places we finally chose to act in three different locations. For each of these locations we would announce three “Picnic Times”. “Picnic Time” is a moment of experimentation. It’s the moment when we arrive in an open area, and we put down a blanket in order to demarcate our space. We then begin different “Picnic Actions”. These are a series of games; that physically take place in the space. They are quite visible and become an invitation to each passer by to interact with us.

Since our games, and objects were naturally childlike, the majority of the participants were children. This was not a coincidence. We created snapshots: these created through improvised and ephemeral playgrounds. Each element playfully reflects on the wider context of Johannesburg itself, while allowing anyone the opportunity to freely manipulate this environment- from the moment of its appearance to that of its disappearance.




How to transform a raft into a submarine? par marielle agboton • 13 septembre 2012

Pic nic / 12 th of september

Sitting on this small square of fabric, as on a raft I observe the crossings on lawn. This small square of white and visible girls on the grilled lawn plays the tarot and smokes. The children spotted them and offer small spicy red balls, they climb on the raft. After a few minutes, I feel the raft of lawn being transformed into submarine.
We just disappeared.


“Our group, made up of all females decided to use the idea or act of a ‘picnic’ as an entry point or vehicle in discovering/uncovering certain things or aspects about the city. The group was to decide what the ‘picnic’ was to be, to possibly establish rules for the proceedings of the intervention. A number of questions became apparent due to the nature of working within a public space and ultimately creating a spectacle. The group was to discuss the role of the artist and the viewer and how they interlink, how to negotiate the inclusion or exclusion of the viewer, the viewer becoming apart of the performance, to answer the question of why the viewer would participate, and whether the group wanted outside participation.

As a result a number of ‘test’ picnics were to be conducted, in order to establish how the picnic would operate as a production of knowledge. These initial picnics were conducted in the traditional sense of the picnic; a blanket was laid out where each group member was to bring an item of foodstuffs to contribute to the shared meal. From these ‘tests’ each member was to replace their foodstuffs with an ‘artistic’ contribution, which would shift the picnic into an artistic intervention apposed to a shared meal in public. The notion and presence of the ‘picnic blanket’ would be the only aspect of the traditional picnic to be carried out in the interventions/performances.

The group thus decided on three public sites where the artistic intervention would occur, the sites chosen being spaces of recreation and leisure where a traditional picnic could happen. The first being the David Webster Park in Troyville, the second in Jourburt Park and the third in Mary Fitz Gerald Square in Newtown. The ‘picnic’ was to be conducted in a specific way where it was to have a start and end time, where the picnic would progressively grow and then disappear leaving only a small trace. The result of these interventions/performances was that there was an influx of participation from the audiences, mostly consisting of children due to the playful nature of the works. Due to the mass scale and the degree of spectacle that the interventions encompassed, there were points in the duration of the performances that were interrupted by city and park officials. As the works were not overtly political or offending in any way, officials merely wanted to know what was going on and why we had chosen the specific site.

The result of the interventions/performances of the unorthodox picnics was that they invited the question of what is public intervention and how play can be used as an entry point for public participation, for each group member this meant something different and could thus be applied in their personal work. ”


Marie Fricout / aspect formel du picnic


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  1. […] PICNIC IN PARKS / MAGIC CARPET by alice kaukoken, floriane jan, janike fourie, juliette autin, marie fricout, victoria wigzell, zakara raitt […]