Yesterday afternoon (Saturday, October 17th), I was thrilled to engage with the South Boston community at the closing event ("Bicycle Jam") for my public art project / residency ("inMotion: Memories of Invented Play") at the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) Tremont Street Plaza. In creating a fun event for the community that would sum-up all the things that "inMotion" embodied for me from day one... it had to revolve around play. Yes, the BCA and myself were initially inspired to re-live some quirky version of an 80's themed exercise montage... but it was the morning of the event, when I finally realized why my work had been so important to me... and to the folks who engaged with it for the past three months... at the end of the day... it was simply about play!
My morning prior to "Bicycle Jam" was spent gathering props for whatever supplemental activities I had decided to accompany my work; maybe an intention of doing some exercise circuit to a Cyndi Lauper classic... who knew. Pacing the aisles of Target, Dick's Sporting Goods and Party City, I suddenly felt an urgency for gathering up everything school-yard-recess-classic; sidewalk chalk, bouncy balls, jump ropes... it's amazing how materials can guide the mission. Little did I know that my "mission" would be completely irrelevant all because of a little past-time classic, a game we all remember some version of... Hopscotch. Hopscotch: an age-old children's game based on an idea of not treading on lines. Variations of the game are played in many countries. The game's English name expresses its object: to hop over the "scotch", a line, or scratch, drawn on the ground. Lines are drawn in a variety of patterns. Spaces in the diagrams are numbered, and they must be traversed in order. (Encyclopedia Britannica)
Conversation starter and footwork starter all in one! Jackpot! With all the things that we (the BCA and myself) could have planned for regarding this event, none of it mattered. Hopscotch mattered! It was amusing and nostalgic... in perfect harmony. Ladies exiting a wine tasting in pure laughter placed their bets over who could hop in the lines... something akin to "walking the line" perhaps. An avid cyclist, a group of school boys and some twenty-something-year-old girls with a true sense of fashion (and stilettos might I add) all tried for a hopping victory. So many glanced over, smiled and made some comment to their peer about their own memories of hopscotch... or recess. Heck, I think I could have saved one very generous stipend (- $20.97 for three boxes of Crayola sidewalk chalk) if I just drew a giant hopscotch board around the BCA plaza for my public art installation. The things we learn... the simple things in life... Hopscotch. At the end of the day, #bikejam was just a topic; "Bicycle Jam" was just a title; and well, ... Hopscotch was the event!