Flicker like Flames
(sketches towards a speculative film)
“We recall Platos conjecture that the origin of play lies in the need of all young creatures, animal and human, to leap. Thus in Grimms German Dictionary the original meaning of the High German substantive leich is given as “a lively rhythmical movement”, its further significations lying wholly in the play-sphere; while the Anglo-Saxon lacan is […] ‘to swing, to wave about” like a ship on the waves, […] to flutter like birds, or ‘flicker’ like flames.”
Johan Huizinger – 1938
‘Flicker like Flames (sketches towards a speculative film)’ is a moving image work co- created with a class of 12-13 year old students in Rotterdam.
Working together to play Fragments from films, and science fiction archetypes, imagining alternative realities, we turn an eye back onto a world estranged, to consider the classroom itself as a Utopian realm, a space boundaried from the social world, party to its own rules and arbitrary power relations. Starting with basic structural archetypes of science fiction and simple moments from popular movies, the group took control of the filming apparatus to imagine possible alternative worlds, acting out scenarios from the future imaginary as popular film represents it. Critiquing the present, Suvins ‘Zero World’, to play out subject formation at a transitional age between childhood and adult life.
By discussing science fiction film, playing through direction and camera work, and sharing creative ownership of the work, the group together determine how to take agency over their own representation, how to narrate around identity and difference, and how to step outside and see reality through fiction.
Using simple materials to build ad hoc sets out the space of the classroom as a heterotopic space in its own right, which prepares for an imagined future and plays through institutional and interpersonal power structures which enforce reality at the critical boundary between childhood, with play as its innate character of performed imaginations, and the adult world of performed roles and identity.