Children’s Game #10: Papalote

Balkh, Afghanistan, 2011; 4:13 min
 In collaboration with Elena Pardo, Félix Blume, and Ajmal Maiwandi


A 10-year-old boy in a pink salwar kameez stands near a dune-coloured wall under a powder-blue sky. He frowns and gesticulates, conversing in stops and starts with the heavens or at least with the gusting wind because you don’t see his kite at first, and the string is so fine you can’t see that either. What you see is a body interacting with unknown forces, pulling to the left, the right, up, down, quick, over to the left again, and so on. Here is not only the body of the boy but the body of the world in deft mutual mimesis, amounting to ‘the mastery of non-mastery’ which is the greatest game of all: a guide, a goal, a strategy –all in one– for dealing with man’s domination of nature (including human nature). Afghan kite fighters often attach small blades to their kite strings, or coat them with ground glass and glue, the better to down their opponents’. Under the Taliban, kite-flying was banned.

Lorna Scott Fox

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