Column is a monthly feature that explores the world
of creativity and aesthetics.
de Sousa, Director, AbleStable
festival takes place every summer in my home town.
The air is free as is the opportunity to make your
own kite, fly it, and
see others do
the same. Most years a high wind
sees the sky full with every shape and speed of
kite. This year with the slightest of breezes,
only the lightest and most exquisite kites took
flight. I ponder on why kites hold a special fascination
to so many.
have enjoyed flying kites since I was a child.
When I was seven I use to take my box kite
to the town park. I had a
special fondness for this kite as it was
unlikely candidate to fly. It seemed far
too big and bulky to escape the ground, but
soon there it was, high up, pulling and
jerking hard at its leash. Unlike the kites
I was later to fly that
danced to my tune, my box kite seemed to
have a will all of its own. With a single
line, the box kite could not be tamed, only
flying a kite is the easiest path to feeling
that in some way we are connecting with a world
not so bound by our leaden experience.
years ago my father told me of his childhood
Northern India when he and his friends would
use "razor cord" that would drop
immediately from their kites for the first
that would cut the lines of their opponent's
kite when in close combat. The kites would
almost disappear from view as they fought
be the last one flying high under the hot sun.
meant more to my father than the battle however
the pleasure of movement and control he had
such a far off object. The kite affirmed his
same instinctive pleasure that connects humans
with dance encourages their enjoyment of the
choreography of kites. The form and structure
of an arc or sudden fall as the kite weaves its
path against the sky appeals to us in
much the same way as watching sport. Objects
in time moving
Heavy Boots of Gravity
single physical ability I would like above
all others is to fly, but alas, as my body is
develop wings in my waking state, I
am limited to experiencing the faintest likeness
of flight within a man-made contraption
of some kind.
able to fly would bring great advantages. Apart
from getting to a place via
the most direct route, flying provides a freedom
that our gravity-bound species rarely experiences.
I'd love it. A broad fast flowing river would
be easily crossed, even continents and
could be traversed.
Would you sacrifice your hands
soft down of feathers for such an opportunity
as flight? I for one believe I may, despite
the potential loss of the tactile tingling
pleasures of touch that
my hands receive
and convey. On balance the sacrifice may
be worth it.
for a moment if humans could fly. Self
powered flight would have
a wholly different view of the world. The experience
and understanding of our environment and relationships
may well have
holistic. The borders of separation
between nation states would
likely not have developed. Our politics,
religion, and cultures would be less constrained
by the heavy boots of gravity.
we fly a kite we generally sail safely, our feet
firmly on the ground although at times the kite
pull hard and lift us for a moment. The more
adventurous buy a larger sail and ride the waves
of faster moving air. I have seen a harnessed
man pulled house high and 200 yards by kite and
injury as he uses the sail to parachute himself to
Art of Kites
flying is not only satisfying physically,
but also appeals to our feelings and
sensibilities. Kites are not associated with
a creative label which maintains its non-elitist
reputation. Kite design however, both physical
and graphical, requires
the choreographed flights that define much of
competitive flying. Kite dances are judged
for the accuracy of line, compositional structure,
and interpretation of the accompanying music.
Like the body in motion, kite flying can be a
richly aesthetic experience. This may sound ridiculous
I know, but think for a moment and it is not
difficult to extrapolate that there could be
a composition for kites (both music and dance).
An abstract kite dance - I use the word "abstract"
to mean a dance that does not attempt to
manifestations of a moving body in time which
bring us pleasure.
finish this column with a poem I wrote many
years ago while staying at Sir Ian Easton's
home on the Isle of Wight.
Ian was an Admiral of the British Fleet and
I had the greatest pleasure sailing with
manned sail boat - these outings on Freshwater
Bay remain my only sailing experiences.
Ian was one
people whose presence
me long after his parting:
causeway ruffed with reeds
Below stone circle windowed space,
Sifting sights in syllables of
touch you taste.
Your one hand to the other grasp
The weathered chair with wondered
In sight of sail
Across the inlet water fresh
In take of air
As red against the blue below
Shifts as one with swaying corn
On land that rises to the east,
That swells as to a single figure
As speck upon a sea of ice,
As mizzenmast in ocean squall I stand,
Fists tight around the hilt,
Listing back against the wrench of
Taut the tendril slices clean the
As paper cuts the softened skin within
Sun strikes the canvas high
Whilst shadow on the earth dilates,
A pool of weighted soil dark,
The strand of fluid mooring brakes
Crisp upon the ears.
a Virtual Kite in AbleStable's play area
but be warned, it's no easy task...
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