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Nightmare Playgrounds, Part 2


"QUANTUM SHOT" #415
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Also read Part 1

Manic-depressive creativity

Granted, some playground sculptures shown here may impress a child with their unapologetic weirdness - but most are so tasteless and ugly that it's bordering on insanity.

A multitude of such bizarre apparitions still exists in the former Communist countries - proving that kids would play in just about any environment. A few statues illustrate the elements of Slavic fairy tales, others make do with miserable (decapitated, or worse) animals and evil-looking, nightmarish characters.


(photo by Olga Shvetz)

Dr. Aibolit (his name loosely translates as "Dr. Ouch!") in Moscow Children Hospital:


(image credit: cherski)

Somebody wrote "cadaver-eating orcs" over this endearing Teletubby character (in Moscow) -



Some heinous crime scene, in a village close to Odessa:



Impaled Baba Yaga, who seems to strangely enjoy the experience:





Decapitated monkeys (their bodies are attached to another attraction) -




Poor puppy, nailed to the tree (Rostov-na-Donu):



What's worse, Little Red Riding Hood, ruthlessly bound (though not gagged) -



One half of hippopotamus:



Cow / baths hybrids, spotted in Eilat, Israel:



These Lovecraft-ian snails invade a playground near St. Petersburg:



In light of all the above, the "mosquito slide", found in Germany, looks positively normal:


(image credit: Valentin Laube)

What do you do when the only available material is some plumbing and pipes lying around? Use them to make a modernist slide (with birds standing guard around it)




(photos by Detsky Dvor)

Playground above is actually quite cool, kudos to the inventive artists. Just as the trapped mouse below is also pretty neat (again Eilat, Israel) -




We'll make an intermission now, while you draw a breath to plunge deeper into a maniacal urban art territory:

Again, the locations of these playgrounds are mostly in Russia and Ukraine:
- St. Petersburg
- Komsomolsk-na-Amure
- Astana, Kazakhstan
- Khmelnitzky, Ukraine
- Lvov, Ukraine

LOTS of imagination required

This is a ship, got it? -


(photo by Katryuk Dvoeglazova)

That thing does NOT rotate:



Get a (never-ending) exercise:



Giant vegetable thing (St. Petersburg) -





Mysterious little monsters in Stary Oskol, Belgorod region:




(photos by NordProd)





At least this little guy is recognizable as "Cheburashka":





This must be a hedgehog:



This lovely lady even got some make-up:


(photo by Aleksis1978)


If it's monsters you seek, then monsters we got!
Here is a stunningly bizarre group of sculptures (supposedly for kids) in the middle of Starokonstantinov. I like this one... can see myself playing there.








(photos by Archiverba)

See more pictures of this "zoo" here


Let's increase the "freaky factor" again... (I wonder if any impressionable parent would "blow a fuse" at this point) -



Certainly a "perfect" sculpture to beautify any kid's playground:


(Kid's playground in Rostov-na-Donu)

And we finish with a stunning rendition of a character that will haunt you for days (just keep looking at it) -



Sources: Detsky Dvor, English Russia, Exler

READ THE PREVIOUS PART HERE

Read the rest of "Architectural Horrors" series! ->

CONTINUE TO PART 3! ->

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YOUR COMMENTS::

35 Comments:

Anonymous * Miss Universe said...

JEEZ..

How will some of them grow up in a few years
kids today really have a short childhood

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Anonymous alanocu said...

Thank you! Great article!

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Blogger pipo said...

#6 looks a lot like Dennis Hopper

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Blogger Fuxoft said...

"Dr. Aibolit" talks to the animals and is known as "Dr. Dolittle" in the western world.

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Anonymous Andrew said...

And we wonder why so many chidlren of today have 'issues' lol. Great post!

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Blogger Ronnie8 said...

Can you say "ethnocentric"? I knew you could...

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Blogger Katsoulis said...

I may never sleep again. Surely there must be some charity I can contribute to that will put an end to nightmarish playground design.

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OpenID mlfoley said...

Man, I would have loved these things as a kid. I still love them today, but sadly I'm a bit too old to go onto playgrounds without people talking and arrests going on.

When I have kids, I shall have to import some of these things for them!

"Cadaver eating orcs" needs to become a world-wide catchphrase.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Dr. Aibolit" is just a plastic horse somebody's posed and drawn a face on the tail...

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Blogger Bird said...

"Anonymous said...

"Dr. Aibolit" is just a plastic horse somebody's posed and drawn a face on the tail..."

I think the descriptions are above the pictures. The Dr. Aibolit figure is the one with the red cross on his/her head.

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Anonymous Marc said...

That last one will haunt my dreams. Thanks a lot, jerks! :)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe if American children grew up with stuff like this, they wouldn't turn into whiny, ethnocentric fops with no sense of adventure or creativity who expect everything to be safe.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are so much more creative than the playgrounds kids in america have today. Every playground looks the same. From the rececycled material padding the bottom of the play area to the bridge, 2 slides (1 going in a corkscrew) the bars to hand on and the tic tac tow in plastic blocking under the platform for the bridge and slide. Did I not just describe every playground from every neighborhood across america. And I live in Hawaii and we got this too. Go Capitalism. Standard playgrounds make standardized brains to take standardized tests.

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Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Thank you anonymous. I totally agree with this. Suburbs are all like this... a bunch of pre-fabricated blocks everywhere.

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Blogger The Magnetic Crow said...

I think, actually, that this is more related to the norm that existed in child-rearing for hundreds of years. You let your kid know that scary things exist out there, instead of making vague intimations about kidnappers and keeping them in a bubble.

Really, these wouldn't have anything to do with the problems kids have TODAY (speaking as, in America, which is where I assume Andrew is posting from) because kids today AREN'T exposed to this sort of thing.
Have you noticed? Kids' entertainment, the bad guys are getting bland and cuddly (if there are any) and the good guys are the ones to perpetrate the violence, if there is any.
No monsters, in my opinion, means children grow up with unrealistic ideas about how to interact with the world. There ARE monsters, all kinds--poverty, disease, pedophiles, kidnappers, etc. And children aren't being taught to sublimate the existence of these threats on a level they can understand.
Of course these threats SHOULDN'T exist, but as long as we do we're not doing kids a favor by trying to hide the fact that 'scary things can get you' from them. As in abstinence-only sex education, telling someone not to worry about something, they're too young to know about it, is obviously not a viable or intelligent option.

There's my rant. I love these, I grew up in cold-war Europe and saw monsters and went to torture museums as a kid. When I moved to America, it was pretty noticeable how sheltered some of the other kids were. Not necessarily from the sex and violence portrayed in the media, they got plenty of that, but it was untempered by a healthy understanding of the risks they personally ran. It was all an abstraction to them, with no concept of their own placement in it.

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OpenID axe3 said...

Loved seeing Nyarlathotep in riverside installation, the dedication definitely was there,lol.

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Blogger amoebaboy said...

fantastic!
i love this stuff but the chimp one at the end gives me the fear something chronic.

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Blogger Torley said...

My gosh, some of this reminds me of haphazard scenes out of Second Life!

» http://lh6.ggpht.com/abramsv/SBuvBido3pI/AAAAAAAAQCk/oGNafsu9QNw/s1600-h/116522017.jpg

^ in particular looks like a melted-down Smurfette.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really, while the photos are intriguing, I find it far more interesting that there's quite literally no subject that can't be turned into a cynical dig at America and/or capitalism.

Those tame cookie-cutter playgrounds don't exist because some corporate fat-cat is churning them out in a bid to stunt childrens' mental growth. Lawyers survive by encouraging parents to sue those corporations every time little Johnny gets an skinned knee or barked shin from "unsafe" playground equipment.

Those "evil" corporations don't have any choice in the matter if they want to survive.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I happen to think these are beautiful.

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Blogger kisdubos said...

Better than Disneyland. Actually, much much better.

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Anonymous 256 said...

The shy-looking red devil/king thing is great. I'd like to have one, although I don't know what I'd do with it...

The vegetable thing looks like a giant turnip to me. I wonder if the leaves are slides?

Also, the ape at the end is REALLY something. Wow.

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Blogger Avi Abrams said...

256 - The "Red Devil" is Kaschei the Immortal from Russian fairy tales - and he's got his life hidden in the needle, in the egg inside the box.

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Anonymous mister b said...

loved this collection---thanks. Wish these sorts of things decorated my local playgrounds!

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Anonymous Omega said...

thanks for collecting those photos, awesome post! we had lots of laughs at these pics.

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Anonymous Omega said...

i also got a nice set on flickr with some scrap metal sculptures from israel, here

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "vegetable thing" is actually a giant turnip from a fairytale I really loved when I was young. Grandpa's turnip grows huge, and he can't get it up, so Grandma helps. Turnip doesn't get up, so their grandson helps. But the turnip doesn't get up, so eventually there's the horse and cows and dog and cat etc. helping, with little effect. Finally a tiny mouse helps and they get the turnip up. This was always told with sound effects and I had to imagine who else could help in order to get the turnip up from the ground.
One of the sculptures on the first page also depicted this. Guess it must look extremely freaky unless you know the story.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, you know what? Even though I can agree that SOME of this stuff is downright ugly (but please don't forget that many of them are just in a terrible shape, that's it), only those people having no clue what-so-ever about what these things are about (cultural background, fairytales, cartoons, etc.), can make fun of these and think they are stupid or insane. I grew up in Russia in late 60's - early 70's, and believe me, the playgrounds that we had back then were so much more entertaining that anything I can see now in America and Canada, for example. To me, those "mysterious little monsters" (they are buddies of the more well-known Cheburashka, BTW) are far more appealing than any Disney character. I totally agree with people here talking about standardized thinking and keeping children in a bubble -- these are real evil things. And BTW, I can see waaay more young people "having issues" than folks who grew up in those days and in those playgrounds. WTF is a depression or anxiety disorder in a kid?!? They did not exist back then, plain and simple. Jeez, people, get real, and get a life...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I'm sure people back in Russia would poke in fun at unfamiliar American cultural figures and find them bizarrely unattractive, just like the hair growing out of a strange old man's nose and ears are hideous, but never on your own beloved grandfather.
As well you're right about disorders present in today's children, and we have a name for them all- but that hardly means this generation is less mentally fit than the one before, and the one before that.
I started kindergarten in the California public school system in 1967, and nobody was labelled as having "A.D.D." or "Autistic", but there were a couple of kids in every class who were fidgety and disruptive, often a genius in entrance testing but short attention span resulted in C's by midyear- (cough, ahem, me) or another who droned on and on about some insanely boring subject until someone pounded him into the asphalt at recess- remember in those days if you didn't come home with a bloody nose or a fat lip once a month or so there was something strange going on.
I didn't know mom wasn't normal because once a week I was late for school when she got halfway to the campus with me and insisted we go back home so she could be sure the clothes iron she'd used in the den then put in its box in the kitchen REALLY WAS UNPLUGGED and couldn't burn down the house. All those nights she kept half the house awake scrubbing the same tub for hours that she'd scrubbed the previous night, well I just figured we needed a clean place to bathe.
Mom's close to 80 now, you think I should break the news to her that I think she might have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? She'd probably say "what the hell is that?"

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OpenID contentwithit said...

Man those look amazing, some of them I think they're a bit out there, but for the most part they're awesome. Then again I think teletubbies are a bit scary, so to each his own right? ^_^

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Anonymous Flechto said...

So what should we be putting in children playgrounds if these are so bad, Michelangelo's David?

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Blogger Simple Irony said...

Wow, notice all of these are in other countries... I think it`s just different cultures, but people in the US would claim these are NOT PC and sue the maker for thousands of dollars, and probably win too! "Judge, my child still has nightmares!", LOL!!!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed, Magnetic Crow. I grew up in Russia with my mom reading me the Hans Christian Anderson original versions of Disney classics.

I don't understand why people think kids can't handle the realities of life -- I think they understand them better than adults in some respects.

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Blogger wicked-freakin-witch said...

Thank you so much for another incredible article. I started out reading your abandoned amusement parks one, and got gradually more and more hooked.
This one contains some of the most disturbing things I have ever seen :D

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thousands of years from now, this is the stuff that will be dug up. What will they think of us?

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