_ ping | pong

The insertion of a ping-pong table in the Railwayworkers’ Park (Parcul Feroviarilor) proposes another step towards a more domesticated park in a moment when various interests lurk for its exploitation. Re-purposing the meaning of this ping-pong table, now and there, aims to reinvigorate personal memories/histories connected to one of the most popular loisir activities of the Romanian socialist era. The intention to use the available public funds to create a functional "artwork" pays homage to the cooperative labour through which this park has been built.

Choosing this sport’s tool is also due to its fascinating role in the world’s history, starting from its standardization and implementation by the British aristocrat Ivor Montagu, as a method to spread the idea of socialism and communism, until that historic moment when China (through Zhou Enlai) and United States (through Henry Kissinger) began to have close contact in full Cold War. The event has been baptized as the beginning of ping-pong diplomacy, steps that had interfered into the bipolarity and the conflict between the two empires, USA and USSR, thus building the foundation of a bilateral (and global) economy, which effects' still shaking the world today.

The object itself does not have enough ways to point out all the connotations carried by this sports' history, from its very beginning. The questions referring to when and why did the majority of tables have disappeared from the neighbourhoods/districts/quarters, can be partially answered by the objects that replaced them, such as: grey, solid, durable concrete plastic playground slides, houses and castles with the colouring of the national flag. Answers about the state judgement and decisions in building these concrete tables and whether this idea was inspired by this sport and used in a conscious way, or if the ping-pong clubs were founded at the initiative of some factories will be researched and published, so we can cover the lacks of this object's story.

The project was selected following an open call for projects for the Visible City program. The jury members were Diana Marincu - curator, Eugen Pănescu - architect, Oana Buzatu - communication expert/Cluj-Napoca City Hall, István Szakáts - curator, Rarița Zbranca - cultural manager.

The Visible City program is organised by the AltArt Foundation. A project realised with the support of the Klausenburg City Council. The Visible City is part of the larger ”Create to Connect” project, supported by the Culture 2007-2013 program of the EU.

<> Visible City <>