Saturday, 2 August 2014

Hanley Park Playgrounds - A Vulpes Vulpes Blogpost

#3 in a series of blogposts from VulpesVulpes reflecting on their AirSpace Gallery Residency activity for  PARLOUR.

Hanley Park Playgrounds

Text: Hadiru Mahdi

Images: Anna Chrystal Stephens

The Hanley Park playgrounds are many, are smooth edges, are trampolines in the ground, are soft landings, are swings with backs for comfort or perhaps to discourage the leaning back we used to do

are full of games and equipment we are not used to

and are yet to figure out.

The play interrupted and excited the leisure of our walk home from The Exchange that evening. I put the phone in my bag lest it fall between the gaps in the mesh trampoline, I spun on that disk though I've known from childhood that I get dizzy so easy. This looks like a giant hex nut, golden and large enough to hang a bridge from a cliff. I leap inside surprised to feel movement where the thread would be, I tread steady then walk, then run. Far from as rapid as a hamster in his wheel bent double then rising cautious of the moving ceiling, finding balance but no grace, I ride then stop. But can't stop. I brace, surf the rise and at the tipping point tumble and am tossed out to laughter and calls for an encore.

Who's next?

The Hanley Park playgrounds are of a scale and danger we are certain of remembering and had only recently been mourning. The rope pyramid is as red as the one in Archbishop Davidson park, I still climb it with a youthful swiftness and without the hesitation that bothers my bearded and broken voiced return to skateboarding or ­­free-running . I descend as Anna bounces the ropes, bending my knees in response and balancing on one leg for show before I leap then land .

Rest in the hammock but see no sky past the timber slatted shelter

without this you will forget how many have laid here before you. That one found a moment of solitude, others piled in a handful at a time to gossip, to conspire and plot. That it is in an instant the sacred territory of friends, later a meeting place for strangers, in each instance there is a pact between. There are rules you wrote or codes that developed in silence on the end of a pointed finger, with shared sweets. She had different hair, eyes, skin but the same trainers.

We rest here now as we may have 20 years ago. Read declarations of loyalty and love, phone numbers with lewd promises, those with the foresight to bring tip-ex win points for visibility and permanence.

Ginger + Twiggy Bear

PARLOUR is a 3 week Summer Residency at AirSpace Gallery carried out by London based collective Vulpes Vulpes exploring notions of social gathering. Click here for full details

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