PLAY PATTERN NO. 1: RED
I. Clothe self in red cord
II. Enter state of deep play
III. Engage in self-flagellation
In response to the Children exhibition at the New Media Gallery, I created a work which creates an immersive space—a multi-channel video exhibition, using children as the common subject.
“Play Pattern No.1: Red” is one in a series of fourteen Deep Play Patterns, intended as vigils for the fourteen million girls who will be forced into child-bride marriages in the next ten years.
Luce Kay Rubino Tang (age four) is my student and teacher. We present ourselves with two becomings—a sort of un-performance that allows free movement, sound, video, memory, appropriated music, and self-involved thought to merge with gestures invoking play, memory, and protest.
These gestures range from meditative explorations of childhood objects and the sort of simple movements used in children’s dance, to her own more complex gestures suggestive of criticism and punishment of the human vessel.
There are physical references to the Red String of Fate—that unbreakable promise of a true romantic connection found in Japanese and Chinese legend, a physical tying together of two bodies or souls into a single soul (the soulmate). At the same time this red string might suggest an umbilical cord that nurtures or a string that binds.
Deep play is a temporal dislocation, often felt as a profound and absorbed becoming; allowing us a way to be someone, something, and somewhere else. We see it in children as they embody the scenarios and characters they play out, and time fades away. In adults, it is associated with a sanctuary of the mind, favoring exuberance, license, and abandon. There is a freedom in allowing strategies to be tried and selves to be revised. It is its own goal.
“The self is only a threshold, a door, a becoming between two multiplicities.”