“The YSDT dancers move like this often, tender yet aggressive; tenacious yet desperate. The body subverts itself, becoming both weapon and wound.”

–Cleo Abramian, Hyperallergic

Concept, Design, and Choreography by: Samar Haddad King
Performers: Yukari Osaka, Zoe Rabinowitz, Yousef Sbeih, Mohammad Smahneh

Run time: Installation from 1.5 – 4 hours
Performers: 4-6

World Premiere: July 26, 2013 /si:n/ Festival (Ramallah, Palestine)
European Premiere: October 6, 2018 Nuit Blanche Festival (Brussels, Belgium)

Supported by: A.M. Qattan Foundation and Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center

Pictures © Samar Haddad King

The Playground is a multi-channel video installation and live durational performance which examines the role of games in popular culture to normalize war and violence. Featuring video footage from the American war in Iraq, the US/Colombia ’94 World Cup match, live feed video, and an Xbox gaming station alongside four live performers stationed in cell-like rooms, The Playground reproduces the use of music torture in Guantanamo Bay in a space where spectators take the role of wardens in front of surveillance monitors. Audience members, who can move around as they wish, are invited to question their role as an observer in this context; at what point does their participation implicate them in the action of the game?

“Samar Haddad King’s Playground (2013), a four channel video installation and live performance, created a more confrontational viewing experience at the abandoned Harb House. The beautiful intensity and subtleties of the live torture simulation performances [were] arguably the strongest part of the artwork.” –Shuruq Harb, Ibraaz