Windfall Kinetic Sculpture

Windfall takes fallen tree branches, the very ones that fell during December’s (2013) ice storm on my children’s favorite playground and attempts to re-animate them as a sort of kinetic prosthetic for a broken relationship with nature, risk and outdoor play. The idea was inspired in part by work in community development with children who broke the branches from the very fragile young trees in a new million-dollar park next to their housing project. Their neighbours’ response was to characterize the children as destructive and lacking in respect. Children play with branches everywhere that people live with trees and these children were just trying to have some fun in a park that did not meet their needs for more challenging play. But is it possible they also are acting out anger and even trauma around the position of poverty they live in? Could they be angry at the ineffable fragility of an urban sapling that inspires us to care for it while they go wanting in an affluent city, in a rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood? This animated, kinetic sculpture invites people to play and to consider what it means to live in a close urban setting in which our reliance on each other and on nature can seem like a distant myth, a great burden or a tangled bond more often than a nurturing link or supportive net.

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