In Hoogeveen, Drenthe, Dutch designer duo Tejo Remy and Rene Veenhuizen designed a place made of painted steel for primary school children to sit down that can also be used as a gathering point for annual class pictures. The artists claim that their work was inspired by children, but is by no means a playground. In fact, painted metal when wet can be very dangerous.
A seven-year-old girl hurt herself so badly on the art that she was rushed to hospital and now her parents are holding city hall responsible for her injuries. City hall replied that art is not a playground and denies any responsibility. Local residents and parents want the thing removed and have started a Facebook page.
Of course kids will play on it, that was to be expected unless you’re from Mars. Kids hurt themselves on normal playgrounds, even with adult supervision. The assumption that kids won’t play on it because it is not for playing is city hall’s argument and that’s really stupid. Parents telling their kids not to play on the art is useless because unless you’re from Mars, kids do stuff when adults aren’t around. There is a general assumption that placing the artwork there was safe, and city hall could be to blame.
I think some building codes should be reviewed. Putting anything with sharp edges near children and expecting them not to hurt themselves is stupid. Blaming artists for designing something that meets all building requirements is fruitless. The decision-makers in Hoogeveen were stupid in placing something so close to children with sharp edges and expect nothing bad to happen.
Put the art work elsewhere, Hoogeveen gets free publicity when the moving happens and praise from the parents, ask the artists’ opinion about the move and they get free publicity, too, everybody happy and safe. Next!