Nozhan Aghaee

Nozhan Aghaee

A playground for the mind. Academy of Architecture Maastricht (AAM) (Netherlands)

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The moment of play is the moment of freedom, which is in-between conscious and unconscious. The moment of awareness and spontaneity. Playfulness is a state of mind.

I am from Iran, a Muslim country where Islamic law is strictly observed. You must therefore respect religion, beliefs and norms and be cautious of your behavior to avoid troubles.

For me, coming to Maastricht was like starting over. It is a warm and cozy city, but sometimes I feel people are deep in their comfort zones and have forgotten how to be free and playful. But am I playful myself? I was not free there, and I don’t feel free here. It was the main challenge when I started researching on my topic.

Initially, I was inspired by the movie “Wings of Desire” which shows that freedom is an obsession for both humans and angels, while they are all happy and free in the temporary circus.

Since the beginning of time, the architectural industry has traditionally served to provide a shelter over our heads. I wanted to make spaces as shelter for imagination to provoke playfulness, and hopefully as a starting point to spread in the city like a virus and shaping the city into a playground by using the concept of circus as a model for the society of Homo Ludens (the playing person) by creating architectural interventions to address questions in the mind rather than the answer to them. Bruce Nauman, the American artist, inspired me in the process. He plays with expectations and perceptions. Exploring the human condition by blurring and destroying its conceptual boundaries.

This way of thinking helped me to choose the location for my project which is a left-over bridge of an old highway but it’s not highway or bridge anymore which is playful to me.

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