Arts Derbyshire


Step inside, to take a giant step outside into PlayLAND

Step inside, to take a giant step outside into PlayLAND

PlayLAND, a new interactive installation by Derby based Digital Participation Artist John Whall, has opened at Level Centre in Rowsley.
PlayLAND brings the world of outdoor play inside Level Centre building, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the fun, sensory world that John has created. Large scale projection brings the gallery to life with grass, trees and a beautiful blue sky, while calming music and the sound of birdsong fills the space. Kites (which visitors get the chance to create), flutter in a gentle summer’s breeze. And then the fun starts… interactive buttons bring the world to life with bouncing balls, chasing kites and games of hide and seek!

John worked alongside Level Centre’s ‘Level Makes’ and ‘Youth Collective’ participants to create PlayLAND. ‘Level Makes’ are the centre’s creative workshops for learning disabled adults, while ‘Youth Collective’ is a group for young people who are neurodivergent, have autism or ADHD. Maybe you’ll spot them in the installation! PlayLAND continues John’s artistic journey to bring community made artwork to gallery audiences, through high quality digital experiences.

It’s not the first time John has worked with Level. This time last year, his previous installation PlayLAB was on show at the centre. PlayLAB explored the notion of a shared, playful experience, and what creative play meant to individuals and groups. PlayLAND builds on that experience.

John says:
“I try to make work that showcases participant creativity, whatever that means to them. One of the great things about PlayLAND, and my work, is that I never truly know how it will turn out until participants are involved. It makes things really exciting as an artist and always brings something wonderfully unexpected.”

After experiencing PlayLAND, visitors have the chance to create a kite inspired by what they’ve seen. They then have the opportunity to display their creation within the gallery space as part of the installation, or take it home as a fun memento of their visit.

PlayLAND is suitable for everyone including school groups and families. The installation is free to visit, but advance booking is advisable through the Level Centre website. The Level Centre building is designed with access in mind.

PlayLAND is on show at Level Centre until 12 April 2024. For more information and to book, visit:

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