Sandbox Berlin

workshop, public intervention

The Sandbox is a place available to all inhabitants of Second Life as a test platform and experimental field. Each user can produce and programme new objects with their own individual textures. The Sandbox is a clash of cultures – of digital and analogue clichés – a place of interaction in every form.
Sandbox Berlin translates this field of experimentation into public space in Real Life. In a three-day workshop, production of custom objects in a spontaneous and collaborative process will be tested in Real Life. Everyone is invited to join us on a deserted area, formerly part of the Berlin Wall, in the Mitte district, to build whatever they want. Tools, wood and other materials will be provided by Sandbox Berlin, so that flexible groups can quickly design and materialize objects.

Let’s test the Sandbox as a collaborative field of interaction in Real Life! Which phenomena will find their way into reality from the digital world? How will digital and physical space interact? How will the city react to a Sandbox?


The Sandbox in Second Life

The concept of the Sandbox originates in information technology. Programmers test new or work-related software in a safe, closed environment, the sand-box, without risk of damaging the computer system.

The Sandbox in Second Life is a place where all conventions are abandoned. It is the real wild west of the already untamed Second Life. The Sandbox is like a three-dimensional sketchbook. Every day, thousands of users leave their tracks here: abstract forms, digital building sites and house-car-plane clichés form a collective surrealistic dream scenario. In a world without rules, inventive users programme swarms of screaming Sponge Bobs which other users pursue. Anti-gravitational bubbles or whole fields of alarm sirens impede concentrated work. The Sandbox is a kind of black market emporium of digital objects and their programs.
The formal chaos and absurd situations generate a particular atmosphere of digital roughness and originality that can only be found here.


What can you do in Sandbox? A selection of typical Sandbox phenomena:

– Without needing programming skills, each player is able to produce an object with just a mouse click. For this reason, dice, balls, pyramids and cylinders have a standard size of 50x50x50 cm throughout a Sandbox. The basic geometrical shapes in various sizes form a solid formal element in each Sandbox.

– The standard surface of each new object in Second Life is a texture resembling pine. This wood-like surface is also found on most of the objects in a Sandbox, whether round, angular, curved, spherical or hollow.

– Apart from the “wooden building sites“, there are also readymade constructions, vehicles, plants, furniture and objects of all kinds in a Sandbox. Often they are so-called Freebie objects which can be copied and passed on to other users. Freebies are very popular and are distributed arbitrarily throughout the Sandboxes.

– Each Second Life user has an inventory of an unlimited number of digital objects. Since one cannot necessarily tell the appearance of an object from its filename, the player must see the objects they want to bring into the 3D world. This often leads to accumulations of thematically similar objects if a user has materialized [rezzed], for example, a folder containing furniture.

– Because building in Second Life is not subject to the laws of gravity, floating plateaus, so-called Skyboxes, are very often built. This results in bizarre floating worlds of flying houses, ships, churches and other objects, so extending the Sandbox into the air. In contrast to the restricted “earth`s surface“, a user can build in a Sandbox up to a height of 800 metres.


Call for Participation

Everyone can take part! If you interested in helping to write the history of Sandbox Berlin, please register by e-mail. Spontaneous participation and visits to the workshops are welcome, completely in the spirit of Second Life.


Lecture & discussion
Sandbox: Phenomenon and Culture, Aram Bartholl
3 October, 7 pm,

Sandbox Berlin
Two-day workshop in the public space
4th – 5th October, 10 am – 7 pm
Skulpturenpark Berlin

How will the city react to a Sandbox?
6th – 14th October
Skulpturenpark Berlin

Opening and workshop wrap party
5th October, 7 -10 pm, Skulpturenpark Berlin



Alexa Shopping Center, 2. Stock
Alexanderplatz 4, 10178 Berlin

Skulpturenpark Berlin
Former Berlin Wall area opposite Bundesdruckerei (Federal Printing Works) Alte Jakobstrasse 45, on the corner of Kommandantenstrasse. 10969 Berlin



A project by:
Aram Bartholl –

Funded by:
Senatskanzlei / Kulturelle Angelegenheiten, City of Berlin

Project management:
Susa Pop / Public Art Lab –
Gordana Jovetic

Supported by:
NewBerlin –
Creosa Interior –
Renolit –
Celing –
PVC-Plus –

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