fotoplay: in the hospital 4

It’s completely unoriginal for me to say that I love working with kids because I learn so much, but nevertheless, it’s classic and it’s true: the “teacher” is really the student. With regard to the Fotoplay Book journey, this has been the case from the very beginning. Whether in the classroom actually watching children complete pages, or looking carefully at work that’s been sent to me, each experience leads to new ideas about drawing, design, and the use of prompts. The experience of leaving Fotoplay books in the hospital ER waiting room has been particularly potent, and the new works posted here are an example of something I find to be especially intriguing, and not just because I didn’t see it coming.

The page above is one I posted last week. After posting that page (and many others) I went back to the hospital a couple of days ago to take another look at the books, to see if any new pages had been completed. I was not at all prepared to see what I actually found: A number of pages that I had seen and photographed as “completed,” were worked on again by someone else. So that the (first) completed page became its own a new prompt. Below is the new work, a response to a response:

The idea that the pages would evolve, and that drawings would change and be obliterated or altered seems so ridiculously obvious, but honestly, I really wasn’t thinking that far into the process. And now that I see these pages with drawings atop drawings, I myself am starting to understand what leaving prompt books and art supplies on a table in public is really all about.

It’s not about a dialogue that includes my prompt and the child who completes the page. It’s a dialogue that includes my prompt and the first child and then the next child and the next…

…so that finally, when I look at the page below, for example, my voice seems to recede into the background, and the disturbing gorilla created by the first child is now connected to this sweet, relaxed, figure that tips the page in a new direction, which also seems to challenge my use of the word “strange.”

The page below with “the Pet Grape” was also “completed” last week, but when I returned to the hospital a few days ago,

someone had added a large-scale mouse, front and center.

As I’m now preparing for my Fotoplay And More summer workshop at CMCA, it’s perfect timing for this idea of a response to a response of a prompt. I can’t wait to play with it in the workshop, with children completing pages, to be passed around and “completed” once again.