I have had the excellent good fortune to live around the corner from one of the famous new Pathfinder sites. Here is some info from the DCFS website that explains a bit about the government’s investment in play, for those not familiar with the scheme.
I wrote about the absurdities of the building of this place here, for the Play Times Project I’ve been working on at the Play Association Tower Hamlets, but the space looks beautiful now. The grass is still a bit patchy and there’s an internal fence that’s been trampled down, but they’ve been busy planting flowers around the edge and you can start to feel the shape of it.
And someone’s been engaging there in an on-going ‘consultation’:
I’m not sure exactly what about this made me so deeply happy, whether it was the oddness of seeing cherries speared so deliberately onto a familiar railing, or if it was the way their headed tilted as if they were – what? Resigned? Impaled? All in agreement?
There was also this little contribution:
Now, I hate litter. When I see someone throw a paper cup out of their window I want to grab it and throw it back in there, on fire. But this is something different, it’s intentional and it’s a bit ridiculous and it’s playful – you can feel the sense of humor.
There’s also something about the fact that it’s along a railing – Penny Wilson’s writings on liminal spaces and play is worth a look. It’s also interesting that the creators made these contributions here, and not outside the far posher park a few streets away.
More than anything, these two artifacts are both proof that people use this place to meet one another, to mess around. The social behaviour that so often gets prefaced with ‘anti-‘. And where more appropriate than under a DCSF-funded sign that says ‘PLAY HERE’?