Playful and profound

Tortoise icon

I have been questioning my own practice and how I work. My inspiration comes from what I see around me, often an object or thing that catches my attention. But it has led me to wonder where my playfulness originates. Do I see the potential of playfulness in something or do I use my attitude of playfulness to create something playful out of something that is not playful in its usual state? Sicart (2017) states that playfulness assumes one of play’s core attributes which is appropriation, meaning that it ‘appropriates a context that is not created or intended for play.’ 

It implies then that I take over a rock, a building, a car which were never intended for play. Yet by taking it out of context and adding my illustration and doodling, I make it my own, turning it into a playful experience. The object is still recognised yet through a different lens – a playful one I choose to put on – it causes a shift in the way it is now interpreted. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that I show personal expression through the attitude of playfulness depicting the personal aspect of play’s attributes. The way I change the original image or thing is my playful way of engaging with the world I see and altering it in a way to communicate something.

In Turkle’s (2017) book Evocative Objects, Things we Think With, the author invites various academics to share what objects mean to them and what they understand from them. In her conclusion, Turkle writes: ‘Object play – for adults as well as children – engage the heart as well as the mind; it is a source of inner vitality.’ This intentional activity that I have embarked upon, certainly does engage my mind and my heart as it evokes memory by  association. The reptile-face shaped stone reminded me of my only pet, a tortoise called Tabitha, which in turn prompted a film strip replay of her many adventures.

Other objects prompt considered thought, leading to a fresh insight or understanding about our current situation or other peoples’ lives. The act of seeing objects through a personal lens is both playful and profound, offering something that often takes me by surprise. And by adding text provides another layer, provoking a further thought about something contextually relevant hopefully viewers can identity with.

Burnt out building
Tortoise wall
Every face has a story
Tortoise face
Face in bark
Barking mad

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