The Art of Playing

The Art of Playing follows professional skateboarders Douwe Macaré and Nassim Guammaz in the run-up to the 2021 Olympics. While Douwe gives the Olympic route a shot and works up a sweat day and night to qualify for the biggest sporting event in the world, Nassim explicitly chooses not to participate in the Games. Nassim sees the Olympicization of skateboarding as a threat to the pure form of skateboarding and its culture. The film explores the consequences of the Olympic route for the free and playful nature of skateboarding. Will Douwe manage to live up to Olympic expectations?

The Art of Playing is a philosophical essay on the necessity of playing. With Johan Huizinga’s theory of the playing human being (Homo Ludens, 1938) in mind, the film explores the consequences of the ever encroaching performance society. According to Huizinga, everything we humans call culture stems from play and also develops as play. According to him, when the possibility of play is put under pressure by the focus on achievement, the entire culture is at stake. The film therefore explores the impact of today’s performance society on the development of our culture.

“Play is a free act that does not allow itself to be mixed with commerce, political or social propaganda and interests” – Johan Huizinga (Homo Ludens, 1938)

Director: Sven Prince