Free: Play Ping Pong at a Museum

The family-cute event includes a tournament and a sound-cool dimension.

If you know the work of Machine Project, the Echo Park-located art collective, you know that simply saying the group’s artworks are “offbeat” doesn’t quite encapsulate the surreal, sensory-cool experiences.

It might be more apt to say that the people behind the collective are constantly asking the viewer to engage with their senses in unusual ways. You may recall the recent program that pondered how a UFO might smell, or the Underwater Art Show in Santa Monica. (Yes, it was underwater.)

So your next question on the quirky sensory experience quiz is this: What does a Ping Pong ball sound like as it comes into contact with a table?

Parents may be putting that unusual question to their kids, and vice versa, on Sunday, Oct. 23 at the Hammer Museum when “Sound piece for the Hammer Museum by Machine Project,” which includes a Ping Pong table, is made the fun focal point for a family-centered showdown.

The event is called “Game On: What Does Ping Pong Sound Like?,” and visitors are invited to ponder exactly that (families, in fact, “are invited to engage with the sounds of the tournament through drawing and movement activities”).

Ah yes, there’s a tournament that’ll go down, in addition to the art-focused listening afoot. It’s the Hammer Kids Ping Pong Tournament, a “first-ever” for the Westwood institution, and families’ll meet on either side of the net to spend late Sunday morning, and the noontime hour, showing off their skills. 

The free program is designed for kids who are 7 and up, and their grown-ups. (Parking under the museum is six dollars, do note.)

So, what exactly does Ping Pong ball connecting with a table or paddle sound like? Is it more of a thwack or a thump? Is hearing it an important part of enjoying the beloved game? And what other impressions might be gleaned from an offbeat outing like playing a time-honored pursuit inside a museum?

Question, questions. Play in the tourney, have a ball, and, on the ride home, discuss just what sound a ball makes, and see how many varied descriptions you get from your crew.

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