May 2014

Arts Council England Awards the Arts Council England Exceptional Award to Disaster Playground!

Disaster Playground’s production is co-commissioned through Broadway’s Near Now Programme.

About the Arts Council England Exceptional Award:  

Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England said:
“The Exceptional Awards programme is a chance for us to invest in really remarkable ideas of national importance. Disaster Playground definitely falls within this category. Taking space exploration as its inspiration it will be a fascinating and cutting-edge production that audiences can enjoy as a live experience.”

Mathew Trivett, Producer behind the Near Now programme said:
"We are proud to have worked with Nelly on Disaster Playground from research and development through to now its production. Nelly Ben Hayoun's practice, represents one of the nation’s brightest artistic talents, a fearless and passionate provocateur who has regularly been described as an ‘manufacturer of the impossible’."

Nelly Ben Hayoun and her new project Disaster Playground won the Arts Council England Exceptional Award. Co-comissioned through Broadway's Near Bow Programme,  Disaster Playground is a creative platform investigating the design of emergency procedures in the space programme, with world renowned space experts at NASA, the SETI Institute and an all star team of composers, writers and international collaborators.

WELCOME to the real "Armageddon” where technology and humans can beautifully ‘fail’ and in turn, cause us to reflect on the making behind our discoveries. Disaster Playground presents the frustrated dreams of space exploration in NASA raw and nostalgic offices with the key actors of the Space Agency (From the reception desk to the United Nations).

Disaster Playground investigates the design of emergency procedures in the space programme. A sensitive issue, it aims to reveal the design systems that  support decision making pressures within the scientific community. Disaster Playground acts as a catharsis for the space community and a critical platform to question the future of space exploration. The project exposes the inherent adversity and risk experienced by scientists in their quest for the limits of human exploration. Taking Baudrillard's text 'America' as a starting point, Ben Hayoun interrogate the role of the American Dream and the need to reach the final frontier in the organizational psyche at NASA.

From meteor showers to extraterrestrial signals, from frogs escaping experiments on board of the International Space Station and worms surviving the Challenger explosion to a volcanic eruption on Jupiter’s satellite, Disaster Playground documents the edge of space fiction.

Disaster Playground follows the successful International Space Orchestra, which is a ground-breaking collaborative project that Ben Hayoun is currently directing at NASA Ames Research Center and the SETI Institute in California. It is an experiential and hybrid research laboratory, where space scientists have been invited to implement, deconstruct, perform, sing, mix, modify, and design musical acts in various scientific setup. It is a provocation to action: a call to imagine and disrupt future human relations to science;to adapt science to our creative needs. It involves leading space scientists – including the Deputy Director of NASA Ames and astronaut Yvonne Cagle, and composers such as Bobby Womack, Penguin Café and Beck have already collaborated on the project. In January 2013, the International Space Orchestra feature film had its world premiere at the Rotterdam International Film Festival where it was acclaimed by the critic as a “masterpiece” (Independent Cinema Office, ICO), a “real achievement” (DOMUS),”as thrilling as watching a rocket launch” and “Spine Tingling” (The Guardian).

The Project will be released end 2014, for updates please look at the dedicated project website: