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"The 19th century we introduced the voice of the working class, in the 20th century we introduced the voice of women. Now we must introduce the voice of children. The great originality of our century maybe that we learn to listen to children."
Theodore Zeldin, 2014
Children express themselves through play. It is through play that they establish and test the relationships between mind, body and physical world, between self and other. Deep, free play is a biological need and legal right, and it is the evolved mechanism for learning.
Most the built environment actively inhibits children's play. This film is made up of documentation of children playing freely, without undue adult intervention, external direction or goals, in environments which have been designed to enable play.
In the film, children collaborate, disagree, are creative and destructive, experiment, fail and persist. Alongside the video, are exerts from interviews with people who have committed their adult lives to enabling children to play.
The film does aims to show how important the environment is in enabling play, and the creative, complex and evolving relationships children develop with the physical world given sufficient space and time. The speakers offer a range of different arguments, beliefs and ideas about the value of free play in children's lives and in wider society.
Made by Assemble in collaboration with Luke Freedman the adults and children of Alpujarra Kids Space (Orgiva, Spain), Baltic Street Adventure Playground (Glasgow, UK), Glamis Adventure Playground and PATH (London, UK), Felix Road Adventure Playground (Bristol, UK), Meridian Adventure Playground (Birmingham, UK), Yume Park, Fuji Kindergarten, Haruno Ogawa and Hanegi Park, (Tokyo, Japan) SM Nursery and Moanakids Nursery (Yokohama, Japan) The Land Adventure Playground (Wrexham, UK), La Jugarreta (Tepoztlan, Mexico).
Featuring the voices of Mike Barclay, David Bullough, Theresa Burling, Yolanda Corona, Ellen Delaney, Ken Garland, Mark Halden, Robert Kennedy, Maria Morfin, Klaus Nedergaard, Eddie Nutall, Simon Rix, Hitoshi Shimamura, Ryuichi Sekiyama and Penny Wilson.
Audio Edit: Betsy Dadd, mixed by Sean Glynn
Video Edit: Lydia C-S, Grading by Chris Lee
Interviews recorded with Mike Barclay, Betsy Dadd, Luke Freedman and Antonia Halse.
Filmed with Lydia C-S, Betsy Dadd, Luke Freedman and Phin Harper.
Technical support from Salvador Beneficio, ORB and Camilo Tirado,
Editorial support from Phin Harper, Antonia Halse, Rachel Mathers and Ben Tawil.
The production of this film was funded by The Rumi Foundation, and produced and exhibited with the support of The British Council and La Biennale di Venezia de Architectura,
With thanks to International Play Association, LBCDMX, Y-GSA, The School of Walls and Space, Takaharu and Yui Tezuka Architects, Youji No Shiro and Tokyo Play
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