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“Those who play together stay together” page 158

Quick, play with your friends and partner to make sure you stay together. That’s what this phrase says to me. Chris and I are going to go swimming tonight to stay together! I’ll make sure we have some races rather than just doing lengths. He does have an advantage as he’s not carrying a child. In terms of art it’s wonderful to think that my work can really help people bond. To understand this bond we need to look into the relationship between a mother and her child:

“In order to feel intimacy throughout life, the growing child needs to access this earliest of play states. As we get older, the play state is sculpted by our culture.”

“The play they engage in with friends, siblings, and (in more complicated way) with parents sets the stage for their adult interactions.” Page 159

This is really interesting, the play we do as children directly influences our adult lives. I can’t really remember playing with my mum lots as a young child but I must of done as she was with me all the time. Things that really stick in my mind is playing with the kids on my street, Jaydee and Emma teaching me to ride without stabilisers, I did that all day long, I was so determined I was going to do it (I am still determined now), making plays with Richard on the swings in his garden and charging our parents 20p to watch (the business women in me) and riding down the hill pretending to perform (I have no fear of public speaking). Lots of memories are playing on the street, it’s what we did when we got home from school. These early interactions make it so we understand play signals as we grow up. It’s just like when a dog bows showing they want to play, we do these things and I learnt to them playing on the street. This isn’t something that kids can do now, there are just too many cars and too much traffic. I live in a little cul de sac and all the houses have drives but I think it’s still too busy with delivers and cars to let your child play outside unattended. This is why we need play spaces that are safe for our children and our selves to access.

“If we lived in a world with play.. It would be a pretty grim world to live in. Wha play signals do is invite a safe, emotional connections, if even for an instant. Even in casual interactions, the sincere compliment, the remark about the hot/rainy/freezing/damp weather, joke or sympathetic observation opens people up. emotionally. It transforms a grim, feerful, and lonely world into a lively one.” Page 161

If you see someone walking say hello, smile, have a chat. It could transform your day and theirs. I love the idea of getting complete strangers to play together with my installations. Two passer-byers who come together for a moment of play and change their days from a normal one into a happy one and create a memory to hold on to. A long time ago on the plane to my sisters I sat next to a man, we got chatting and then watched half of Meet the Fockers on his laptop, he was on the same flight back so we watched the second half together too. I can’t tell you the year or his name but I will never forgot that this happened. Stuart Brown has experienced this too, in a pharmacy queue he’d been waiting a long time and he was already having a bad day and had a head ache. He made a joke and his fellow queuers joined in. By the end his headache was gone, he felt better about his day and he had a good feeling from interacting with and helping the others too.

“Without various forms of social play we would find it very hard to live together. Society would either lock up like an over heated engine, or we would have to evolve a rigid, highly organised social structure like that of ants of bees. Play is lubrication the allows human society to work and individual sot be close to each other.”

“Which is why play is the most important element in love.” Page 164

“Play refreshes and fuels a long-term adult relationship.” Page 166

Quick go and find your partner again and do some more playing. Early love is designed around play activities, think about dating you might go bowling or to the fair, you’re going to do something fun. Chris and I met climbing. I remember our first proper date, going to Thai restaurant for dinner. Although dinner isn’t know to be the most playful setting the idea of a dinner was, I’d never been on one! I had fun trying on my dresses and creating my love persona! I wonder if any had a date or part of their date in Light Pavilion? I know a friend Joel and his partner had fun trying to turn all of the lights green together.

“Play keeps everything in balance, providing resilience and flexibility in a relationship, and allowing couples to rebound from misunderstandings or unrealistic exceptions.” Page 170

“As everyone knows, the most passionate romantic feelings eventually fade. If play has been part of the relationship from the beginning, less intense sexual attraction and romantic love will remain, joined by the attachment that is the product of long-term emotional closeness.” Page 171

It really is important – those who can play together, stay together. The skills we need to do this are learnt early on it our lives. It’s not just our love lives that are effected, it is every aspect of our lives:

“People whose play lives have been vibrant, like my physician friend with post-heart attack brain damage, have buffers against travail and suffer less when major change is thrust upon them. Play produces poise and strength. Consummate players can better meet these changes with grace.”

“If we continue to play to play together we will always be able to find emotional closeness, always be able to find novelty and make discoveries not only about those we love, but also about ourselves.” Page 174