Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Freedom and Escape.

So why do we want to fly?

It's an impossible act of defiance. We talked a lot today about the difference between escape and freedom and realised that to even stay airborne for a few seconds takes a lot of physical restraint. We've noticed that the para gliders are positively forensic when packing and checking their kit. Astronauts strap themselves tightly down into the tiniest space before propelling themselves into orbit. The more precise Carlos is with each scored fold of his magnificent flying machines, the more impressive they are in flight. The rules are always fixed and without them nobody is able to leave the ground.

Perhaps it isn't to do with freedom at all, but rather a desire to face up to oblivion? Once you've left the surface - control is gone and although skill and technique play a huge role in successful flights, the sky is not something to command. You're on your own and you may not return.

We moved onto Goya, whose dark imagination seemed free to explore the most disturbing recesses. We began by looking at his images of flying creatures, owls, bats, demons and then discovered remarkably that he'd conceived his own method of flying! Half bat, half para glider!

We had enough now to start work and at six we began. Marta, Carlos and I taught the children how to make planes and soon we had hundreds. Carol and Chris meanwhile started work on large illuminated processional objects, frames made of withy reeds, coated in papier mache and colourful tissue paper. Bright blue moons, stunning pink suns and pointed yellow stars.

At nine we took the aeroplanes to the highest point in the park to have a test. There is a moment after the plane is launched that the children seemed to leave their body and travel with their creation into the unknown. It's a moment of complete release, delight and wonder. The commitment to freedom is absolute, even if it is only transitory.

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