I was a little surprised at the excitement and enjoyment my children took in deciding my project’s destiny. I, on the other hand, had pangs of fatherly concern. And the ringing dictum that parents must keep their word…

Since there is a strong element of play in my current project – examining the differences in self-identities between myself and my son, and playing out those differences in a domestic setting, we had decided make decision making through the prism of play.

In play there is something ‘at play’ which transcends the immediate needs of life and imparts meaning to the action. All play means something

Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens (1938)

In practical terms this meant matching the various characters of people who I have been most influenced by since childhood with the father my children see, usually via services rendered in my role as parent. We created two separate lists – one for characters, one for scenarios – and then cut each item out, folding them over so the answers could not be seen, and then placing them in two piles, as shown above. Because Tom is starring in the pictures, it was felt fair that my daughter, who is the photographer in this project, should do the picking and matching.

The result? A few interesting weeks ahead, as my children and I create:

  • Superman doing the ironing
  • Indiana Jones watching Tom work on his bicycle
  • James Bond helping make shelters in the nearby woods
  • And Sonny Crockett from Miami Vice helping with the cooking

And, perhaps disturbingly, there are plenty more…

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