Berliner Festspiele - Berlin, Voruiit - Ghent, Arts Admin - London, COP 21 - Paris
The world’s largest disobedient action-adventure game took place online and in the streets, during the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. It was inspired by a first occurrence in Amsterdam, where teams used an interactive website to try and blockade a coal fired power station.
Bringing together gamers, developers, designers, artists and activists over a series of hackathons (i.e. weeklong workshops) in various European cultural institutions throughout 2015, Climate Games expanded on the concept. Thanks to a dedicated website, people could anonymously register their team and identify “play grounds” (i.e. direct action targets) anywhere in the world (including online) and/or post reports once they had carried out their game. Each team could nominate other teams for a series of prizes: the most audacious action, the funniest one, that which showed most solidarity, etc.
Despite the state of emergency that the French government imposed after the terrorist attacks in November in Paris, 124 teams took part and more than 200 actions were taken against climate criminals: from coal mine blockade in Germany to chaotic intervention in a VW branch by the Ensemble Zoologique de Libération de la Nature (EZLN), the replacement of more than 600 ads at bus stops with specially commissioned ones by BRANDALISM to the installation of a temporary pirate radio atop the Eiffel Tower.
In parallel, the crew collaborated with Tools for Action to produce dozens of massive silver inflatable cubes that would serve as mobile barricade during the Red Lines action.
Elaborated for months with the Climate Coalition and aiming to surround the conference centre to prevent delegates to come out until they had signed a genuinely serious agreemeent, the action had to be redesigned because of the state of emergency. Thousands took to the streets in the centre of Paris to embody the red lines that should never be crossed to avoid tumbling into climate chaos.
Selected Media Coverage
The Climate Games aren’t just activist stunts, they’re politics beyond the UN an interesting analysis in The Conversation 9.12.2015
Climate Games challenge Paris protest ban with peer to peer disobedience,a brilliant interview with Selj, co-inventor of the Climate Games and adorable friend of the Labo 11.12.2015
Interview with JJ and Isa, before the November attacks in The Inrockuptibles. (in FR)
Article by T.J Demos looking at the role of playful protest during COP21
AJ+ news piece about creative actions at the COP21.