Catastrophes and Simulations


The first preparations for disaster we experience on the children playground: swings, slides, climbing frames or ropeways are not that much different than the tools used in case of fire, floats or earthquakes.  

The times are changing, so do the catastrophes: shootings in shopping malls, climate change or Brexit! The instabilities of the current times are not connected to a single political enemy. They come from an undefinable black box of unforeseeable events which are striking unexpectedly – more dangerous than ever before.


I used the playground as a testing chamber to speculate about the preparations for contemporary disasters. I investigated into modern fears and how they can be encountered from an early age through playful formats. As a result, I created new types of rituals and toys for the upcoming disaster:

Object A

Disruptive Sandbox

Without warning and randomly the sand in this sandbox comes to life: Air from an air compressor streams trough the sand, making it behave like a fluid. Suddenly, child’s play has been turned upside down and the participants need to find new ways of play. Perhaps in the future, this will give the precious skill of quickly adapting to the ever-changing environment in which modern humans choose to live.


Object B

Black Swan Fishing

The Black Swan is the disruptive power of surprise: It is a symbol for a most unlikely event, which can happen at anytime, anywhere. First without anyone noticing, but then it strikes with great impact.
With a magnet attached to a fishing rod, children can fish for different abstract geometrical forms. One of these objects, however, contains a rare black swan figure. Eventually, the magnet on the rod triggers a small explosive. The game will be destroyed and teach children how to deal with risk and unknowns.

Object C

Armageddon theater

In a birthday party the famous Hollywood disaster blockbuster ‚Armageddon‘ will be re-enacted, step by step: Constructing a spaceship, picking a straw or eating astronaut food. This new celebration rituals will hopefully give the children a glimpse of the importance of friendship and the need to embrace modern technology, but also the influence mainstream media has on how we tackle disaster.



Camera: Gosia Lehmann
Editing: Gosia Lehmann
Voice-over: Sean Anderson



Special Thanks To:
Catharina Dörr
Su-Yen Hennings
Nils Hoepken
Gijujin Lee
Melissa Aguilar
Benjamin Jacobi
Antonia Jacobi
Lena Jacobi
Stefan Schwabe
Gabrielė Sergejevaitė






Rufus, Ella, Carla & Elias