This is a short and admittedly slightly random post based on a collection of observations about table tennis/ ping pong: I saw an exhibition in IMMA yesterday by Mark Clare and it seems that table tennis is the mode du jour to address geopolitical issues. Very zeitgesity.

There is a pleasing symnetry to it when you start to see it in an epic,East versus West, Communism versus Capitalism kind of way. After the jump, a short anthology of culturally important moments in table tennis. Contributions welcome…

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1. An impoverished ping pong table collapses in the midst of a game among youngsters at Santa Anita assembly center for evacuees of Japanese ancestry, California, 1942. Image held here

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2. US table tennis players at the Great Wall, dated Apr 26, 1971 dons the cover of the US Time Magazine. Image held here

3. Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger took up a table tennis bat with Vice Premier Li Lanqing in Beijing on March 19, 2001 (thirtieth anniversary). Image held here
4. John Butler writes about the sublime aspects of table tennis and various cultural intricacies vis-a-vis the Irish male.
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5. Artists Clark and McDevitt make Tisch Tennis Tisch, a public concrete tennis table in Dublin. Commissioned for the Communism exhibition at Project Arts Centre. (The reference here is not Asian but the public ping pong tables of the former GDR). Image held here
6. Artist Mark Clare makes a ping pong table from reclaimed wood to revisit the polticial dynamics of the Chinese/US ‘ping pong diplomacy’ mentioned above in a contemporary cultural context.

 

 

 

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