Play. My five-year-old son Oscar is very good at it and I have to relearn how to do it. A person that plays takes risks, gives up control. I like things to be perfect. I don’t like mistakes. What if I let go and just start doing?
My son loves building things with Lego. I think his little structures are beautiful and started taking them to my studio to photograph. Now, about 80 creations later, I am collecting the photos in a book about play.
What is play? To me, it means following joy, curiosity, my intuition. It’s about the power of imagination and experiment, about learning, listening and adjusting while doing. Play also involves being brave. It requires me to trust the process without knowing the results, approaching the world with an open mind. I’d rather not begin something (just now), so at least it can’t go wrong. Have I forgotten how to play? It comes so easily to Oscar. ‘I never know what I’m going to make. I just begin en then it turns into something’, he tells me.
I’ve started to practice forcing myself less, allowing myself more to be led by play. If I do that, it feels lighter. Inspiration can then flow and I’m able to create from within. When I play, I’m a happier person.
Play as an attitude to life, that’s what interests me. Yes, I set goals, persevere and want to succeed in life. But I also want to be able to stand still, wonder and be allowed to mess things up. Haven’t our past mistakes provided us with new insights? Is there such a thing as a natural rhythm, like ebb and flow, to which life can move forward with room for trial and error? What if we go back to the foundation (ourselves) and take a leap from there, just make a start, to see where it goes? It always turns into something (Oscar says). Is play life and is life play? I suspect it is.
The photos in the book will be accompanied by essays & poetry by Hannah Aukes (‘Je moet ergens beginnen‘) and Annika Hein (JANE Magazine). Marjolein Heije will be designing the book. The book will be the result of our play and shows, or hopefully lets you feel once again, what it was like, to play.
The book is expected this fall.