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Words by Emily Gosling, Design Week, 10th June 2014

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Designer and artist Nelly Ben Hayoun has something of an impressive – and undeniably surreal – CV.

She’s created home volcanoes; created the International Space Orchestra for Nasa; became We Transfer’s head of experience and is now focussing her attention on Disaster Playground.

The Disaster Playground project, with Broadway as its executive producer, has just received a £200,000 Arts Council England Exceptional Award through its commissioning and artist development programme, Near Now.

This means it can now crack on with the serious business of its goal: investigating the design of emergency procedures in the space programe.

Working with Nasa, the SETI (Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence) Institute and a team of composers, writers and international collaborators; the project will use re-enactments of high-alert situations to ‘question what the space programme could be if members of the public were to share its human condition – the dilemmas faced by scientists over discovery and decision-making under pressure’, according to Broadway.

It’s hoped the results of these investigations will be used to create a series of live events, featuring films shot on location at NASA Headquarters, SETI, and Disaster and Emergency Response training facilities across the USA.

Ben Hayoun, who is acting as Disaster Playground director and designer of experiences, says, ‘In Disaster Playground, I have brought together an incredible team, and together we are creating a critical platform that investigates the political judgment of scientists, and the public’s apprehension of what space science and art should fulfill.’

For more information visit www.disasterplayground.com