Ping Pong Pang Diplomacy

Outside the Box by Maloco Collective proposal for the Belgian, Dutch and Spanish pavilions at the 16th Biennale

The proposal addresses the open call request for a temporary installation that would create a physical dialogue between venues and a metaphorical dialogue between nations. It is a prototypical installation that brings people of all ages and origin together, celebrating exchange, cross-pollination and architecture.

Ping Pong Pang Diplomacy
Sire Plan

Ping Pong Diplomacy emerged in the early 70s as a way to create a channel between the People’s Republic of China and the USA, which did not have diplomatic relations beforehand. People from the two countries met indeed around ping-pong tables, rather than traditional negotiating tables. The first US citizens to officially visit the People’s Republic of China were indeed table-tennis players, who open the way for more formal relations between the respective Presidents.

Ping Pong Pang Diplomacy
Image © Maloco Collective

Ping Pong Pang Diplomacy is a path that connects the three pavilions of Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands and that leads from one to the other through trials. It is meant as an iconic piece to highlight the pavilions presence and as a social catalyst, an activator of collective interaction through movement, playfulness and fun, crossing all ages and nationalities. It is composed by a main linear path and a great three-sided tri-national ping-pong table.

Ping Pong Pang Diplomacy

The path is constituted by 5 multicolored ping-pong tables. In order to move along the path, one has to measure him- or herself up with another person. What counts is to measure oneself up with others. The ping-pong tables work as diplomatic devices insofar as they allow to produce a “communication between diverging parties, without anything in common” (Isabelle Stengers). They are indeed tables around which different people can gather and know one the other by a challenge.

Ping Pong Pang Diplomacy
Concept Diagram

They provide trials and thus knowledge – of the self and others – through an exchange. The great three-sided and tri-national ping-pong table is the ultimate trial and object of interaction. It is the symbol of collaboration, sharing and knowledge across borders. It is meant not just as a different kind of game, but as a different kind of stage and venue for talks and events. Source by Maloco Collective.

Ping Pong Pang Diplomacy
Image © Maloco Collective

Location: Biennale’s Giardini, Venice, Italy
Architect: Maloco Collective
Project Team: Margono Hadiprodjo, Lorenzo Mattozzi, Cosimo Scotucci
Status: Proposal
Year: 2018
Images: Courtesy of Cosimo Scotucci

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