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Notes from the AiR: Childhood Reimagined at the Parks

Notes from the AiR

Journal #1

May 11th, 2022:

Whenever I walk into the park, I can feel the pace of everyday life change. The air feels a bit lighter, there’s no feeling of hustle and bustle, and it feels hopeful. One can feel like anything is possible when stepping into this little bubble. Juxtaposed next to the office buildings where business is conducted and people work from 9 to 5, the park offers something on the contrary, but in my mind it’s just as productive.

One of the first things you’ll notice is the kids, running around, creating imagery out of even the most seemingly ordinary part of the park. I like to imagine that we all become a little bit like a kid when we step into the park, though we may not show it on the outside.

Some of the things I notice among kids in the park:

  • The Lebauer park letters become sort of like a floor is lava situation.

  • Kids meet each other not as strangers but as friends

  • The city buildings become a game of I-Spy

  • Designed Pathways are broken and instead a new path is carved

  • And laughter is a plentiful resource

I’m wondering how we lose this way of thinking? When the world is full of endless possibilities and anything can be everything. How can we go back to this way of thinking? One of my first attempts to answer this relies on one quality that is consistent among kids in the park: movement. Running, playing, chasing, climbing, etc etc are the vehicle through which imagination seems to exist. Quite the opposite happens when you sit at a desk.

So how can our performance speak to this? Not only display or exemplify this idea, but make people feel it? What sort of interaction can we have with the public that leads them to this discovery rather than outline and define it overtly?

- Houston Odum, Director of the Activate Entertainment Project

2022 Artist in Residence

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