Nelly Ben Hayoun. Disaster Playground, 2014
Co-produced by Z33, Disaster Playground by Nelly Ben Hayoun is a platform investigating future outer space catastrophes and the design of procedures that allow us to manage these catastrophes and assess the risks involved.
Working with experts in NASA Near Earth Objects (NEO), Disaster and Rescue Assistance Team (TEEX) at Disaster City, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute (SETI) and with an all-star team of composers and writers, designer of experiences Nelly Ben Hayoun collected disaster mitigation responses, unexpected failure systems and instances of adversity in the space program: those points exactly where technology and humans could beautifully ‘fail’ and cause us to reflect on the making of and the actors behind our discoveries.
The feature length documentary Disaster Playground (released in March 2015) follows the real-life procedures in place in the event of an asteroid collision with the earth. Through interviews, reflections and re-enactments by a team of casted space experts the audience is introduced to the main players in a chain of command that runs from the SETI Institute and the NASA Headquarters to the United Nations. Hollywood relied on Bruce Willis and a jumbo drill to save the world in Armageddon, but who are the real-life heroes seeking to save our civilization from the next major asteroid impact?
An exhibition version of the film Disaster Playground is presented in Future Fictions at Z33 House for contemporary art, in dialogue with a landscape of sets and props essential in the procedures deployed in the event of a space emergency. Taking Baudrillard’s text ‘America’ as a starting point, Ben Hayoun investigates the role of the American Dream and the need to reach the final frontier in the organizational psyche at NASA.
‘Disaster Playground’ is co-produced by Z33 House for contemporary art, and was originally displayed at exhibition ‘Future Fictions – Perspectives on World-building’ at Z33 in Hasselt, Belgium, on 5 October 2014–4 January 2015. The documentary ‘Disaster Playground’ premiered at the SXSW Film Festival 2015 in Austin, Texas, USA.