Children’s Game #10: Papalote

Balkh, Afghanistan, 2011; 4:13 min

“The involvement of the body is overwhelming, yet as finely wrought as a mirage.”


A ten year old boy flying a kite. Against a dune-colored adobe wall, standing under a powder blue sky, the boy wears a pinkish trouser suit. He is gesticulating like crazy, emitting frenzied gesture language, conversing in stops and starts with the heavens or at least with the gusting wind because you never see the kite and because the string is so fine you can’t see that either. All you see—what you see—is the body in action with unknown forces, pulling to the left, pulling to the right, up, down, quick, over to the left again, and so on and on. The body is all the more obvious because it is connected like this to the coursing wind by an invisible string. This is not only the body of the boy but the body of the world in a deft mimesis of each other, amounting to what I call “the mastery of non-mastery” which, after all, 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).


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