Friday, February 20, 2009

Play part 2

After writing the last post, we went to see a performance art piece/science lecture about pollination. It was a collaborative work between scientists and artists. The most intriguing part of it was created by a pair of artists out of Seattle who call their work - Lelavision Physical Music. Sculptor/musician Ela Lamblin creates the fantastic (sometimes giant) instruments that are then played in their pieces with all kinds of bows, sticks and even with their dancing bodies. It was a lesson in physics as much as a new way of looking at pollination. Gillen and Jesse were mesmerized. If this show, Prop a Gate: Spreading the Stuff of Life comes to your area, don't miss it. Check out the videos on their web site.

I will never look at a flower or even an eggplant in the same way. I now truly understand the amazing journey that those tiny pollen cells are experiencing behind those fragile petals. I will also have to add a new element to the bee novel. Certain plants can only release their pollen once they are embraced by a bee that is buzzing at a specific tone. Who knew? Fun, slightly sultry possibility in that for my Irish bees, as they are buzzing through fields from Hadley, Mass. to Block Island on their way to saving the world.

In addition, I am thinking more about play. On the back of the program was this definition:
Lelavision = PLAY to the third power (playing with sound + playing on sculpture +playing through space) But what I've mostly been thinking about is something that was revealed in the question and answer period after the performance. The sculptor/musician, Ela Lamblin, grew up making his own toys. When he was six, his father told him that he wouldn't buy him any toys but would get him any materials he needed and would help him to make them himself. Ela credits this with enabling him to be so creative in his life, to not just let life happen to him. His work is brilliant. But, as an unschooling mother, I've been thinking about how his dad could have created the same possibility for his son without restricting him so intensely. And I've been thinking about how restricting possibilities can help one be more creative. I think the restriction has to be agreed upon by the artist, of any age. And I was thinking, what if legos or even a plastic GI Joe doll that were bought pre-made at a store could have been the tools to an even more satisfying creative discovery. Am I over-thinking this?

It's good I married a grounded farmer. Time to go stir the chicken stock. The roosters are no longer pacing in their farm pen yard.


Dina said...

Maddie, do you ever listen to Speaking of Faith on the radio? It's one of my favorite shows (along with This American Life.) You would enjoy listening to this podcast about play...

Madeline said...

Thanks Dina! I'll read this.