In the standard American edition of Monopoly, Boardwalk is the highest valued property. Created in 1903 by Elizabeth Magie as “The Landlord’s Game”, the game has become part of long-running family traditions and bitter fights around the world.
Board games are never separate from the contexts in which they are created or played. But with time they take on a life of their own. Their narratives and rules, their dynamics of cooperation, competition, control and oppression appear separate from the real world. In this way, critical perspectives (like in the original Monopoly) can be lost, and colonial gestures (as in Settlers of Catan) are blindly reproduced as entertainment.
With BOARDWALK, I’m interested in bringing board games back into a dialogue with urban surroundings. Their presence in the area between Spittelmarkt and Moritzplatz serves as a tool to think about the current organisation of the city.
I’ve selected seven boards, printed them onto concrete slabs and installed them in the urban
landscape. Partially covered by grass and earth, they appear as if they were there all along, as artefacts from a different age.
For each of the game boards, I’ve created new game rules or simple playful instructions that you can find on the back of this map. Interpret them freely! To me, our capacity to invent new rules for old spatial arrangements is cause for hope.