Dave Ball, A Table Tennis Player and The World

Dave Ball’s video was based on an inscription “The players and the wall/world”, thedump.net: October 21th, 2006

For me, creation is a bit like tennis: if one plays with oneself, it is the wall/world that sends the ball back, more or less in a good way.

If, during a meeting, one finds oneself facing an accomplished player – one who sends back well, seeks out weaknesses of defence or attack, doesn’t hesitate – then, like a miracle, one plays like never before.

The  worse case, for me, is when there are absolutely no bounces. The ball is sent out but never comes back.”

At first glance this work was a realisation of the thedump.net idea. However, the artist made many subtle shifts. The video showed a lonely player against the background of a huge block of flats. The table tennis player took positions to return the balls but the balls were hit past her, landing on the grass together with many others. Maurice Benayoun’s concept was about table tennis as a metaphor for the process of creation. Dave Ball set his work in an urban environment using an existing table for table tennis. The player, in contrast to the surrounding blocks of flats, is alone, no one else is passing by, there is no other sound to distract her. The picture is accompanied only by the monotonous sound of a hit ball with the background noise of public transport.

Dave described the creation process as an image of an individual alienated in an urban environment. The video encouraged the spectators to interact; some frozen frames showed the player ready to hit the ball in front of the spectator, provoking a reaction/activity.


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