Ophelia Finke


Pestalozzi Grundschule

Frankfurt, Germany

protected spaces

Photography by Axel Hoedt

“Children are much more sensitive to stimuli than grown-ups.”

Unu O unu teamed up with German artist and Central Saint Martins graduate Ophelia Finke, to work on a project at a school in a distressed area in Frankfurt, with a high proportion of students from an immigrant background. The workshop aimed to teach the 3rd-graders how to build their own tents from scratch as a “protected space”. The children’s tents will be exhibited together with DIY instruction manuals, which explain step by step how to construct a tent.

Ophelia’s work often explores possible worlds that celebrate independence but also offer shelter for the journey. For her latest project Ophelia has spent the winter in Brandenburg in a forgotten industrial park to build an installation with fast cars and wooden huts.

Focusing her unu O unu project on anxiety, the artist used her studies in psychology as a basis to explore feelings of stress and depression. “Last year I started studying psychology to get a better understanding what drives the human being, to learn more about the formation of emotions”, Ophelia says. “Anxiety is a big subject here. They say that too many stimuli – like loss of parents, loss of home, bullying in school or simply the constant consumption of smartphones or TV – can lead to loss of concentration, stress and anxiety. Children are much more sensitive to stimuli than grown-ups. So I wanted to build ‘protected spaces’ with a group of children from troubled backgrounds. We built small tents that they could easily rebuild at home. We used everyday materials like broomsticks and bed sheets.”

Fanzines created for the project feature photographs that Ophelia took during the class, along with the corresponding construction manuals that the kids drew with her, so that children around the world can rebuild them. She worked with photographer Axel Hoedt to capture the finished tents.

Spending time building tents with children was a fun, exciting experience for everyone involved: “The kids were enthusiastic, almost obsessed with the paint and the wild colours. You could feel that they enjoyed getting completely immersed in the painting process and not having to worry about their clothes or surroundings. They also had a little competition going on about who could paint the fastest shark or most colourful cockatoo… I want to continue working with children and potentially grown-ups, we’re figuring out how to make this happen.”

Text by Flora Yin-Wong

Participating children: Razan, Milica, Saarah, John, Luxury, Enis, Yassin M., Yassin, Ahmed, Azzeddine, Chaula, Sara, Franko, Nabila and Stanislav

protected spaces

an interactive experience by Assembly
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Ophelia Finke and Assembly

£24 incl VAT

Ophelia Finke and Assembly

A digitally colour printed zine with 3 staple side binding, containing text, images by Axel Hoedt, Ophelia Finke and childrens drawings.
Designed by Assembly, London. Edition of 50.

20 cm × 27.5 cm

£24 incl VAT