In 1970 a decisive moment for the relations between the Peoples Republic of China and the USA occurred. Glenn Cowan, a player of the US team for the World Table Tennis Championship, missed his bus and got invited into the bus of the Chinese team. This short meeting was the starting point of what was later called Ping Pong Diplomacy.
Since then there have been many attempts to use culture in a broad sense to support diplomatic processes which are now referred to as Cultural Diplomacy.
Ping Pong Publications is a forum for thoughts on and actions in the field of cultural diplomacy.
Twice a year, the people of Karlsruhe—a city in the south of Germany—take the things that do not matter to them anymore, down from the basements, out on to the streets. The next day, public servants show up to collect these objects and take them away. The few hours between the disposal of old belongings and the arrival of the garbage men are when the hunt happens for retrievers in search of all kinds of things. These people may be inflicted with youth, poverty or curiosity.
Martin Borst and Johannes Tolk engaged in a re-evaluation of things that are perceived to be worthless. Their main interest is in the manifested knowledge that rests in discarded books, magazines, advertisements and printed materials. By creating new combinations of old materials through reduction and editing, they attempt to transform this archive of rejects into an accessible format.
Borst and Tolk only use raw materials gleaned from piles of unwanted thrown-aways. They add nothing, besides a point of view.