Play Time - King's Cross
Central Saint Martins, King's Cross, London
A half sawn ping pong table sits on a busy thoroughfare just outside the Central Saint Martins building in King's Cross. Half the table is placed inside of the building with a video of me playing ping pong against an unknown 'opponent', the other half is separated by a glass wall and can be accessed by anyone on the street. A ping pong bat and ball are left on the table as an invitation to play ping pong with me.
The building and it's surroundings are tightly managed by the property agent, Argent, and while the space is technically outdoors and unfenced, there are round-the-clock security cameras and guards patroling for any potential 'misconduct'. As the King's Cross area becomes increasingly gentrified, areas designated as 'public' space have become more restricted. Activities permitted in the area are usually only temporary in nature or must be formally approved by Argent, for instance, profitable luxury eco-markets on the weekends, large convention-concerts held by multinational corporations, high profile fashion and art campaigns.
When there isn't a snazzy show on, the large foyer of the compound is filled with several ping pong tables, courtesy of Argent, as a public gift to those willing to come all the way down there. Often, the ping pong tables are the only place where one can spot anybody resembling a 'public', most other times the only people coming through are there on invitation.
The table I installed was, suprisingly, not removed abruptly by security for the several days it was attached to the glass wall. I felt like I finally had chance to play with passerbys, who would find a moment of pause and joy, in a place where it seemed impossible.