Yesterday, the divine Noreen Blanluet invited me over to her house to watch My Playground – a documentary about parkour.
What is parkour? This is parkour.
I’d seen this kind of thing before, and thought, “wow, that looks like fun”. But this doc opened a door for me. It reminded me why I’m doing the job I’m doing – and why a parkour-like attitude is what’s needed to expand our horizons and see the world with new eyes.
Somehow, with grace and power, parkour practitioners augment the ordinary. They see beyond the normal.”
In the doc, we are shown how the jaw-droppingly progressive Danish government not only tolerates but encourages what is seen as little more than dangerous vandalism in more conservative countries. The country’s politicians and architects explain how they have been inspired by the way parkour questions and plays with the city-scape; the way it drives involvement and inclusivity. And, of course, there are plenty of stunning shots of elegant, intrinsically humane Danish architecture.
Parkour takes the urban landscape and asks, “how can this be used?” Practitioners ignore the primary, ordinary function of an object. They take the normal human relationship with surroundings and throw it out of the window. With curiosity and imagination they transform walls and pillars and staircases and blocks of flats and girders and make them into something more than they were intended for. Somehow, with grace and power, they augment the ordinary. They see beyond the normal.
How much richer would all our lives be if we could embrace this way of being in the world? What if we all looked at objects, and forgot their names for a moment, and thought, “what are your possibilities? What is the most you can be?”
If we only see things the way we’ve seen them forever, we’ll only get what we’ve had so far. If we dismiss the obvious for a moment, we bring in inspiration, abundance, spontaneity, opportunity. We magically transform our world into a place to play; a space to explore and create. This, in my opinion, cannot be overvalued. It is where we find solutions.